A large brokerage company added a twist to their toll-free telephone cue—“…punch 6 if you’d like to hear a duck quack!” Word of the playful feature spread and soon millions of people were weekly calling to hear the duck. The company had to remove the unique feature because it overloaded their phone system and ran up a huge tab! The story communicates just how bored customers have become.

Something else has happened to your customers. They’ve been getting way over-stimulated. Television has become both high definition and multi-media. The nightly news shows the weather report, ball scores, stock market numbers and a crawling headline simultaneously on the TV screen. That steady stream of sensory arousal risks making a trip to your unit or organization seem humdrum and plain vanilla.

What’s an organization to do? Innovative service! Want a small taste?

The service techs at Sewell Lexus in Dallas program in the radio stations for a new car buyer from their trade-in and just let customers discover it.

Miller Bros. Ltd in Atlanta, an up-scale men’s clothing store, has a large gumball machine in its entrance. Beside it is a large bowl of shiny pennies. Guess where junior gets to go while daddy is trying on trousers?

At a time when value-added service has gotten way too pricey maybe it is time try value-unique. Customers recall, return, and refer others to those experiences that engage them emotionally and leave them with a positive memory. Creating a place of joy can help your unit or organization become the customer’s “oasis of choice.” What would your customer service be like if it was run by Cracker Jack’s and included a surprise for your customer?