How’s Your Service Attic?


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The attic! It was a great place to hide during hide and seek. If you wanted a trip down memory lane, it was the best place to go for artifacts of the past. And, every celebrated season—Halloween, Easter, you name it—had special stuff stored for an annual delight. It was a treasure trove of forgotten toys and rarely-used tools. There was also important things up there—old tax records, special photos, manuals for how to repair the furnace, and survival items in case of an emergency.

Attics are important for every household. They are also important for great service. Some things are now “atticed” (that’s attic as a verb!) on the computer. Some might be in a warehouse. But, access to the service attic, in whatever form, is very important to great service. It means employees can research, recover, and repair. It means customers know they are dealing with an organization with depth, not a house of cards with a superficial storefront.

I contacted my power company for a list of my monthly electric charges for the year for tax purposes (I office out of my house). The person on the other end of the line warmly asked me what form—”I can fax it, mail it, email it, or teach you how to get it yourself online in the future.” It gave me great solace to know they had my “stuff in an attic” ready for my effortless retrieval.

But, a few days later I needed the local paint store to tell me what shade of beige I used on my living room wall when it was painted two years ago. The wall had been the unfortunate target of a wayward wine cork during a party that had left a purple circle on the wall at a too-obvious spot. The “I-am-very-bored” clerk told me the store did not keep records of paint purchases more than twelve months. I would have to get a chip of paint from the wall and bring it in so their computer could match it. And, I learned that the only person who could do the computer paint scanning was gone for the afternoon. I wished my power company sold paint!

What’s in your service attic? How can you use your service attic as a powerful resource for your customers?

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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