The flowering of spring can be a wakeup call from the dreariness of winter.  As we watch blossoms emerge from plants and grass turn from brown to green, we are reminded of the miracle of life.  Innovative service is the unexpected wakeup call from the dullness of ordinary and routine service. The brownness of ho-hum is amazingly transformed into a sparkly experience that makes us smile.

The emergence of spring is brought to you by a crucial element with a mixed blessing—pollen.  As spring dawns, pollen blows through the air seeking plants on which to settle in order to trigger the wonder of life.  Without pollen there would be no foliation.  Yet, pollen can trigger sneezes and allergy attacks to many who must share its world.  It is the same with innovative service–it can grow loyalty among some customers; it can be the source of scorn for others.

I was keynoting a large conference on the power and practice of innovative service.  I related the illustration of a laundry valet at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel who had pressed my pants for a business meeting and returned them to me in less than an hour along with her business card and a complimentary set of logoed collar stays.   At the end of my keynote one participant came up to criticize me for using an example that was little more than a cheap trick to garner a tip for the laundry valet.   For me, the experience was successful service pollination—my loyalty to the hotel grew and their bottom line turned greener.  For that participant, the experience was a sneeze.

Innovative service takes courage and the pioneering spirit to push beyond the gripes and grumbles of customers who want their service plain vanilla.  But for every bah-humbug there are many candidates for wow.  Most of today’s customers value a service experience with a cherry on top.  Most are drawn to organizations that boldly go beyond the “tired” and true to experiment with novel ways to grow customer loyalty.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Tempus Volat