In one recent study, only one-third of consumers said that businesses provide good customer service. In another, only 7 percent of consumers said that their customer service experiences exceed their expectations. Clearly there is a LOT of room for improvement! According to customer loyalty consultant and bestselling author Chip R. Bell, who wrote the book The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service, the secret to delivering great customer service is to give your customers a surprise--something they didn't expect. It's those unexpected experiences that leave customers with a story they are eager to tell. To get them talking, give these ideas a try. Everyone remembers the simple joy of opening up a box of Cracker Jack and finding a prize buried deep inside. You may not be delighted by a rub-on tattoo, but how would you feel if the dealer you just bought a new car from took the trouble to program the radio by copying the stations you had programmed in your trade-in? It only takes a minute, but the effect is huge. Get the full story at