I was in a well-known retail store recently and overheard a customer say to her friend, “I am not coming back in this store again. It is always cookie cutter service…the same ‘how may I help you,’ the same, ‘credit or debit,’ and the same boring ‘thank you for shopping at Acme’ spoken with the enthusiasm of a blooming rock!”

Her friend agreed. I heard them talking about going online as they exited the large store.

Cookie cutters make every cookie the same size. But, it is the wrong metaphor. Rubber stamps make more sense. A cookie cutter never changes its shape, but a rubber stamp sooner or later runs out of ink; its lack of relevance and usefulness become its demise. These ladies were not fussing about bad service; their disdain was for indifferent, ‘no light on inside’ kind of service. They were lamenting customer service that had run out of ink.

We live in an era of sparkly. Customers everywhere are highly stimulated and occasionally entertained by their service experiences. It changes their expectations and ramps up their standards. Today’s fad can quickly become tomorrow’s antique.

When soldiers from American farms went off to fight in World War I, they fought in places like Paris, Brussels and London. Their wide-eyed, golly gee whiz impressions spawned the popular song, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree.”

The message is the same today for your customers. How you gonna get ‘em shopping in the store, after they’ve seen Chick-fil-A and Walt Disney World and Amazon and… Never let the ink run dry in the spirit of your enterprise. Because once you bore them out the door, you may never get them back.