Naughty or Nice? Your Customer’s Checklist


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Santa Claus is in your neighborhood; just like your customers! And, according to the holiday song, Santa is making a list and checking it twice to find out who’s been naughty or nice. Just like your customers!

Let’s examine the naughty and nice list to see if you might be getting any presents from your customers this season. There might be great gifts like repeat business, increased purchases, or advocacy. Or, there could be super gifts like your customers giving you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake; or affording you more patience when you are serving under pressure.

The naughty list might include excess wait, especially the wait that has an answering machine reminding you how important your business is–so important that you have inadequate staff to handle inbound customer calls. It might include indifferent front line staff with one eye on the cash register; one eye on the time clock; and, no eyes on your customers. The naughty list would certainly include having hours of availability that suit you but not your customers. It would include a self-service channel with no way to easily and quickly access a live person. And, it would include a return policy that only honors a return if the customer brings the receipt, the original packaging, plus a note from your mother.

The nice list would include front line people who are excited to serve. It would surely include an obvious interest in your customer’s community and a noticeable spirit of generosity. On the nice list would be a sincere trust in customers and a deep pride in the product or service you are offer. And, it would include gestures that make customers feel valued, respected and appreciated.

Just like Santa, your customers see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake. They know when you’ve been bad or good, so serve well for goodness sake! Make sure your customers are coming tonight!

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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