Random Surprise

A guest post by best selling author Chip Bell.


Working with Caesars Palace in Vegas for me debunked myths about the casino world.

Slot machines are not influenced by the number of quarters, the time since the last winner, or whether they are located on the corner or in the middle.  They follow their program.  And, most of the revenue in a Las Vegas casino comes from these one-armed bandits.


Random reinforcement:

The power of random reinforcement attracts and retains gamblers in a way black jack, roulette or poker do not.  The squeals that accompany lights, bells and coins falling in a metal tray make all casinos animated with excitement. Even low paying “three cherries in a row” can make a gambler’s heart race.  It’s a lot like customer experience today.

Customer experience:

Customers today are bored with okay service.  A culprit may be the absence of random surprise in their experiences. What is random about getting upgraded to first class as a frequent flyer?  You have the miles, the seat is available, and the computer delivers an upgrade.  Boring!!

Predictability and consistency may heighten productivity and efficiency but they can be the enemies of innovation and novelty.

We need leaders who will bring inventiveness back to the front line.  Wise leaders understand the difference in inspiration between foreseeable value-added and random value-unique.

Less like worker bees – more like fireflies:

Meeting the challenge of rising customer expectations requires rethinking the role of employees who are face-to-face, ear-to-ear and click-to-click with customers.  When service people are asked to give more, they often think, “I’m already doing all I can.”  But if asked to pleasantly surprise more customers, they feel less like worker bees and more like fireflies. Invite your employees to create not just execute and they will feel esteemed…and, their customers will feel enchanted.

How might leaders tap the creativity and energy of employees?

Chip R. Bell is renowned keynote speaker and author of several national bestselling books.  His newest book is the just-released Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles. He can be reached at chipbell.com.

Clips of my conversation with Chip:

Leadership and customer service: 

The role of candor in enchantment: 


Clink here for a chance to win a complimentary copy of Kaleidoscope.