The Internet has commoditized products and made excellent service the norm. Consumers now routinely expect perks such as next-day delivery, around-the-clock access and free returns. Differentiating your company just by offering exceptional service is difficult and slices into already-thin profit margins. Leadership consultant Chip R. Bell says you can differentiate yourself a different way, without a lot of expense, by offering “value-unique” service that surprises and delights your customers. Just as colorful “sprinkles” make ordinary cupcakes special, innovative, heartfelt service tells customers you value them. Bell’s abundant use of nostalgic examples drawn from neighborhood businesses makes the text seem quaint and cozy – or maybe provincial, depending on your perspective. Therefore, LetsRead suggests his warm advice particularly to small business owners and self-employed service providers. Bell’s tenets of special service might be slightly more applicable in a small shop than a large company, though any business could benefit by sprinkling on a little extra sugar for its customers.

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