Customers With a Need for Speed


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The food bank near my home was depending on me for help distributing food. It meant being there on time to set up. But, I got behind a slow car on a two-lane highway in a mountainous area. I was the seventh car in this creeping motorcade for miles. I wished my state had laws that required vehicles to pull over if followed closely by four or more vehicles. It was one of the longest 20 minute drives I have ever made. I could have gotten to my destination faster on roller skates.

I was on a much delayed flight to Dallas. It was my last flight of the evening. After landing, I only had to go a short distance to the hotel and go to bed. But, my seatmate was far from relaxed. He had an ever decreasing window to make the last flight of the evening to his final destination. Before landing, the flight attendant warmly pleaded with passengers to remain in their seats if Dallas was their final destination. Not only did passengers comply, they helped anxious passengers hurriedly get their luggage from the overhead.

Customers today are in a hurry. We used to think overnight delivery was fast…but, today we want if faster. We can’t wait to read an email so we rely on text. Long lines make us crazy. It means more than ever we have to be super sensitive to the customer’s “time’s up” world. We must find ways to speed up service or manage our customers’ perceptions of wait much like a theme park. But, most of all, we need to find new ways to facilitate encouraging customers with plenty of time to pull over to make way for customers with a need for speed.

Chip Bell
Chip R. Bell is the founder of the Chip Bell Group ( and a renowned keynote speaker and customer loyalty consultant. Dr. Bell has authored several best-selling books including The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service and, with John Patterson, Take Their Breath Away. His newest book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service, will be released in February.


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