Chip R Bell

9 Reasons Why You Need Sprinkles

"A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them" - Liberty Hyde Bailey

Photo courtesy of Bill Barber via Compfight
This summer take a breather and when you see a charming garden, look closely. You will probably see a blend of colors, shapes, and textures. Look closer and you may see more of Mother Nature's handiwork - variegated leaves and flowers. These gems really shine after the flowers fade or they light up a shady area. They are an afterthought of nature, an added touch, and special - just like sprinkles on a cookie.

I love added touches in my garden and there's nothing more fun then mixing different leaf colors with contrasting  flowers or shrubs. Variegated plants are either green and white or they can hold multiple colors. Variegation pops up as a freak of nature, a new plant virus, or it's man-made. In some cases a plant or shrub may be appear to have different colors but it's really a fuzzy leaf that plays eye tricks on us. Either way it happens, it's cool! Plant breeders are always trying to wow us and if you look at any plant catalog or visit a nursery, you may be amazed at how many variegated varieties there are.

As with anything, beauty comes at a price. Variegation can have some issues. Genetic changes within a plant, natural or man made, aren't always stable. Parts of a plant may revert back to it's original color and because it's stronger, the plant will eventually be all green. If you own a variegated plant and you see all green within the variegation quickly remove it. Keep removing it. Also, some plants may need more/less light to remain variegated. They often have less vigor or have smaller leaves. Moreover, variegated plants can be more sensitive to heat or cold which means you can kill it easier.

Variegated plants can play a leading role in gardens. They always provide a swath of background color and never let you down. If you have a lot of shade then variegated plants can really jazz up your yard. Don't settle for just any plant. Spice up the look with a sprinkle of variegation this garden season. Have fun and experiment!

"I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream" - Heywood Brown

Just as variegated plants add a finishing touch to our gardens, there's a lot of other things in life that add spice and that extra "something" to us in other ways. For instance, have you ever had a great customer service experience that sticks out in your memory? Perhaps you had the best sales experience ever when buying a big ticket item. Maybe it was receiving the "unexpected" when you were at a business that really rocked your socks off? I remember when my son had surgery at a small medical facility. After he arrived back into his room there were some flowers and his favorite candy waiting for him from the Doctor and staff that cared for him. Unexpected. I know that I appreciated it more than he did. As you can guess, I have recommended this Doc many times to friends!

"Gourmet service requires innovation, creativity and ingenuity". Uncommon service these days is, well, uncommon. We are all in the sales and service business no matter what our titles.  Service is what differentiates great companies from the rest. I have been in the the service industry in one form or another my entire career. I recently found a gem that gave  me great ideas on how to "top" the service off that I offer. Chip Bell's book Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service really drives home why we need to give that extra "sprinkle" on our service in a fun and delectable way.

Each chapter in this yummy book depicts great service as the unexpected, the extra topping, the best bite. Chip enlightens us with great examples of surprise service. They are sure to get you thinking about how YOU and your teams can top each service experience with that "wow" factor that will delight your clients. Ready to get started on taking in some dessert?

  1. Everything goes better with sprinkles! We all love whipped topping and sprinkles. I love it as an added touch on my coffee! Sprinkles "adorn, enrich, enliven, and excite". They bring good service to great. Offer service that takes your clients "breath away". How about the pizza delivery with a hand written note? Receiving a note from a teller with your transaction?
  2. Make Passion the spice of service: Deliver service with fire. Make them laugh and grin. Have a great attitude and be feisty and have fun!
  3. Always add an extra helping: Over the top service offers generosity. Great service means offering something that is very important to your customer. Deliver a product before it's expected. Include personalized notes. Be generous to a fault.
  4. Put a cherry on top:  A cherry tops off a great hot fudge sundae. It's the first thing that we eat. Strive to make your service a sensory adventure that appeals to sight, sound, smell, and vision. Provoke and use ways to connect that stir the senses. Look at your service through new eyes.
  5. Give the greatest thing since sliced bread: Infect your people with your love of service. Make sure that your people know your brand. That they believe in it. Give them education and model how you want them to feel about your brand. Encourage them to tout it as the next best thing to sliced bread!
  6. Customers enjoy borrowing a cup of sugar: Treat your customers like they are your neighbor. The neighbor serving neighbors mentality is gone. Bring it back! Form relationships and make your service personal and "homemade". We all feel special when we receive neighborly service. Try it!
  7. Let your customers lick the beaters: Some customers love to be included in their service. Invite them in. Ask them to help you. Treat them as partners and created a "co-created experience". For instance, ask them to participate in trying out your product. Ask for feedback. Chip gives some great tips on how to do this. Dig in and see!
  8. Be easy as TV Dinner: Make sure that you are very easy to do business with. Make it a seamless event. Anticipate client needs and think "backwards" to think what they want and need. Be your customer and stand in their shoes. See your service through their eyes. Bell offers some great tips on making service easy for your customers.
  9. Be the icing on your customer's cake! Deliver your service with the ambiance of  bright  candle light. Shine and stand out. Great service is like a light yet awesome service is more like candle light - shimmering and attractive. Add some imagination to the service that you give. Do more than shine like a light. Offer a shimmering  unexpected light.
Chip Bell's gem of a book gave me some new ideas on how to deliver unique service. I enjoyed the examples and love empowering people to give all that they can to clients. This book delivers on how we can add the extra in so many ways. It captures what customers really want these days but can't find.

The book is engaging, whimsical, educational, and inspiring. This is a perfect book to share with employees to help engage them in thinking up ways to offer unexpected service. The book is like an adventure through a candy store where we can taste how it feels to give great service. We can see what real service is through the eyes of others. We smell the sweetness of giving that added touch. Who doesn't want to provide this same experience with customers? You can! Pick up Sprinkles today and start your own adventure!