Summary of Sprinkles

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7

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The Internet has commoditized products and made excellent service the norm. Consumers now routinely expect perks such as next-day delivery, around-the-clock access and free returns. Differentiating your company just by offering exceptional service is difficult and slices into already-thin profit margins. Leadership consultant Chip R. Bell says you can differentiate yourself a different way, without a lot of expense, by offering “value-unique” service that surprises and delights your customers. Just as colorful “sprinkles” make ordinary cupcakes special, innovative, heartfelt service tells customers you value them. Bell’s abundant use of nostalgic examples drawn from neighborhood businesses makes the text seem quaint and cozy – or maybe provincial, depending on your perspective. Therefore, getAbstract suggests his warm advice particularly to small business owners and self-employed service providers. Bell’s tenets of special service might be slightly more applicable in a small shop than a large company, though any business could benefit by sprinkling on a little extra sugar for its customers.

About the Author

Chip R. Bell, senior partner at the Chip Bell Group, is a consultant and speaker. He also wrote The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service and he is the co-author of Wired and Dangerous.

 

Summary

Quack Like a Duck

A large brokerage company offered an option on its automated phone system to “press eight to hear a duck quack.” Executives were shocked when more than a million people did exactly that. Providing a fun choice amid the boring necessities gave the firm’s image pizzazz.

When you add something special, like sprinkles decorating a ho-hum cupcake, customers notice. ‘“Sprinkles’ is code for any heartstring-plucking surprise that takes service from great to awesome.”

Today, consumers expect good service that meets a need and accomplishes a goal. Yet, people especially notice and remember service that exceeds those expectations and provides an unexpected experience. Many firms hesitate to raise the bar on customer service – since additions to the service menu cut into thin profit margins – but concentrating on “value-unique service” based on ingenuity instead of offering “value-added service” is a new path to the same goal.

Craft an Innovative Experience

Syndicated cartoonist John Bush found inspiration in what other people might consider mundane or commonplace. While sitting at a table by a café window, he spotted a man walking his...


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