The Magic of Service Sand!

The oyster is an amazing member of the sea world.  It maintains a pristine environment inside its cloistered tough shell used for protection and for camouflage.  However, once in a great while a grain of sand gets inside the shell.  And, the oyster goes to work covering it with beautiful mother of pearl.  An irritant or goof is transformed into a rare jewel.

Customer complaints can be like the sand is to the oyster.  As service providers, we can curse them, avoid them, shun them or discount them.  Or, we can turn a complaint into a jewel of learning that transforms our error into customer delight.  It starts with recognizing that the “sand” is a “pearl in disguise.”

Complaints should be welcomed as instructions on how to serve the customer better.  They should be valued as we might a jewel.  They should be viewed as a periscope into better understanding the customer’s world and their ever-changing expectations.  The next time you get a complaint or less-than-happy feedback from a customer, say to yourself:

“This is a jewel in the making"!

© 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.