Baldheaded Service

by  Chip Bell  |  Leadership Development

She was the COO of a large company and this was the leadership conference for the company. I was there as a keynote speaker and her “message to the troops” came right before my closing remarks. She had been going through chemotherapy for breast cancer and was completely bald…no wig and no hat. And, she was incredibly compelling.

I asked the meeting planner what she was like as a leader! “Awesome and inspiring,” she told me. “She is so courageous and jarringly authentic. Everyone things she is an amazing leader.” As I listened to her powerful message, I thought about how great service needs to be totally real before it is attractively adorned; jarringly authentic, not just attractively decorated.

Now, before you think I have no sense of fashion you should know that I have no issues or qualms with wigs, toupees or hair transplants. But, great service fundamentals is bottom line about meeting a core need, a basic requirement and a fundamental purpose. I like my bank teller to be fast, friendly and competent. But, I care deeply about the signals that she cares about the security of my funds. I expect my doctor to have a warm bedside manner and to show compassion for my aches, pains and foibles. But, when he dons a rubber glove or picks up a scalpel or syringe, I want confident, unadorned baldheaded service.

Baldheaded service is making sure the bathrooms are as sparkly as the waitress is friendly. It is ensuring the waiting area of the hospital is as squeaky clean as the hands of the brain surgeon. It requires quality-controlling the essentials and “spell-checking” every customer touch point to guarantee every detail that impacts customer confidence is perfect. And, it includes customer contact employees telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Baldheaded service is genuine and trust building. Baldheaded service is courageous and transparent. Baldheaded service is not the flashy, sparkly stuff that creates a customer story or promotes advocacy. But, when we boldly remove the cover-up of clever presentation, smile-generating politeness and aesthetic prettiness, baldheaded service is the reliable, basic bond that makes customers come back.

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About The Author

Articles By chip-bell
Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and has served as a customer loyalty consultant to some of the world’s most famous brands. He has authored a number of national best-selling books including “The 9 1⁄2 Principles of Innovative Service.” His newest book is the just-released, “Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.” He can be reached at chipbell.com.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Chery Gegelman  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Reply

Chip – I love it!

From Roadrunners to Baldheaded Service… Your thoughts resonate loudly!

We all love to be served by organizations where the bathrooms are as clean as the service is good, we all love to work with leaders that are as authentic and inspiring as the CEO in your story and so many of us continue to strive to lead that well!

Thank you for the inspiration!

Paul LaRue  |  14 Apr 2014  |  Reply

Chip, you have a great way of envisioning concepts and putting them into simple and workable nuggets!

Service without the bells and whistles, buzz and glitz. That’s what we want, as solid as the character that drives it.

Appreciate your insights, Chip! Keep sharing!!

Mary C Schaefer  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Reply

Chip, what a great story, and a great place to take this story. Love the phrasing “baldheaded service” – you sort of get it right away: “Baldheaded service is genuine and trust building. Baldheaded service is courageous and transparent… it includes customer contact employees telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Thank you for sharing this today!

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