With research I’d narrowed my choices to two. The salesman was helpful as we compared features of the pair of vacuum cleaners under consideration. Still I wasn’t sure which one would best do all I needed. “Why not buy both, take them home, use each on your carpets, see which handles better for you, and just bring back the one you like least?” he offered.Knowing that opened cartons and used products are sold at a discount—and thus lower the seller’s profit—I asked, “Your company is okay with a customer doing that? I like shopping here and don’t want to abuse your good service.”
The salesman responded with an interesting illustration. He explained that his company’s goal is to provide “chocolate chip service.” I learned no real cookies are involved, just performance. And that even good service, chocolate chip service, has degrees.
Imagine going into a store and, as you shop, being offered a plate of chocolate chip cookies. How nice! Then you discover the store next door doesn’t want to be outdone, so their cookies are homemade and warm from the oven. Store three takes note and adds walnuts to their freshly made cookies. Store four gets inspired to do even better and serves its shoppers cartons of icy cold milk along with their baked treats.
“Our company tries to anticipate what customers want from a business,” explained my salesman. “We are keenly aware of what other stores are doing. If service can be seen as cookies, we want ours to look like warm, freshly baked chocolate chip chunkies with walnuts—served with a tall glass of milk. The ordinary store-bought variety won’t do.” In this case, that meant encouraging me to test drive two vacuums and then cheerfully extending a refund for the one I returned. I chose my sweeper—and will do more business with this store.
More importantly, since I tend to relate many things in my life to the church office, the experience caused me to reflect on how the chocolate chip principle might be applied by ministry assistants. Think of the services you render, the tasks you do, the questions you answer, the courtesies you extend.
Ready for an experiment? Try seeing the sum of your work product as a cookie. As you do, remember: There are chocolate chip cookies and then there are Chocolate Chip Cookies!
As a professional you recognize the difference between mediocre and extraordinary. You know that even good work can be improved. Establish yourself as someone who consistently delivers the best!