A Spoonful of Sugar

When I first heard about Chip Bell’s new book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2015), I was expecting the usual 200-300 page business paperback. So when a colorful, square-shaped hardback clocking in at less 100 pages landed on my desk, I was a little surprised.

Credit: violetdragonfly, Morguefile 2013

Credit: violetdragonfly, Morguefile 2013

Eh, maybe real estate pros don’t need 300 pages and an index to learn how to cultivate innovative service, I thought. Maybe a spoonful will do. And as the tiny cupcake adornments Bell refers to in the title prove, good things do sometimes come in small packages.

Bell generally uses the theme of creating a “gourmet” customer experience to cajole his readers into stepping up their service game, but he reaches into other industries as well. He does appeal directly to real estate once, when he mentions “the common sense of uncommon senses,” which readers will recognize in their efforts to make listings appeal to senses other than the eyes with a well-placed scent, background music, or plush carpet.

Most of all though, it’s just fun to read. My favorite bit he employed was sprinkling (pun intended) questions in the text to get the reader thinking about how to apply what he’s writing about to their own industry. Here are a few that I thought Book Scan readers might enjoy:

  • What if you treated every customer like today was his or her birthday?
  • Is your self-service actually “you-are-entirely-on-your-own” service?
  • What would a spunky eight-year-old suggest you do?
  • Is there a “souvenir” you could bundle with the experience that would be a delayed delight when your customer later discovered it?

After a while, Bell’s exhortations to make the customer experience awesome do seem a bit overwhelming. After all, if practitioners go out of their way to be startlingly generous to every potential client, won’t they overextend themselves? But Bell says that it’s not necessary to go broke over this plan, noting that “it is the small, personalized extras that gain loyalty mileage, not the big, splashy ones.” It’s a little bit of tough love, but I think most readers will find that Bell’s colorful, spoonful-of-sugar book definitely helps the medicine go down.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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  1. I agree! Simple treats, clean house and soft music will do!