The Halloween of Service

Halloween has come and gone!  Parents reflect on October 31st with colorful pictures in their minds—sugar highs, “who ‘ya gonna be this year,” doorbells and knocks, candles in pumpkins, goblins and witches, bats and spiders, oh my!  But, the phrase that most characterizes the season of scare is “trick or treat.”  The front door command literally means, “Give me a treat or be prepared to be the victim of my trick.”

Customers have their own form of the Halloween ritual.  In fact, every time a customer deals with a service provider, they are essentially saying, “Give me the treat of service with value or be prepared to be the victim of my trick.”  “Treat” to the customer means service that is personalized and effortless.  It includes ensuring real or implied promises are always made.  And, it involves a service provider connecting with them via the timing, tone and manner they prefer.

And, the trick side of service Halloween?  We all know the pace and power the customers wrath can be felt on social media.  We all are fully aware of the impact on bottom lines of customers simply choosing to take their business elsewhere.  But, the “trick” that is the most ghoulish is this one:  their disposition can erode the pride and passion of the most crucial people in the organization—the front line.  Their reach and reporting can cause employees to hide their company name tags standing in the grocery line.  With deterioration of pride comes the decline of performance.  The vicious cycle ultimately leads to the mediocre people who remain doing mediocre work.

So, when customers ring your organization’s doorbell and say, “trick or treat,” you better be ready with the prize of meeting their need while providing a great service experience.

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.