5 Leadership Secrets for Innovating Your Products and Services from Chip Bell

Inside Your Customers Imagination “We are seeing less of a reliance on cold metrics and more on the people,” says Chip R. Bell, regarding the shift in leadership behaviors since the pandemic. In my recent interview with Chip on LinkedIn, we discussed his 5 main tenets to approaching customer service in his latest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions.

Chip explains that he created these tenets while looking at organizations renowned for innovation, such as Google, Amazon, and Pixar. He found that when you go inside of their culture,  you’ll see some features that are consistent across all of these companies. The five attributes that keep coming up are: curiosity, grounding, discovery, trust, and passion.

Chip R. Bell is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced colleague of mine who has authored numerous customer service and experience oriented books, and is also a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service and loyalty. You’ll enjoy this conversation, as he shares plenty of stories and anecdotes to support his findings.


1. Curiosity: Open Your Minds to Connect

“Curiosity is a never-ending learning about what’s important to the customer, what they see in their world,” says Chip. When it comes to building curiosity, a leader must first create the attitude shift for the quest, internally. This involves opening up your mind, and that of your colleagues. You need to want to know more and then find ways to connect more deeply with customers.

Chip mentions the importance of getting inside of the customer’s mind. That you have to truly try to be the customer. Challenge the ways you get data. If you can’t get honest feedback directly from your customers, what other segment of people can you reach to learn more about them?

2. Grounding: Know Your Guardrails and Principles

According to Chip, all of the great, innovative companies are all about focus. When it comes to grounding, it’s another way of looking at the concept of “who are we together and how do we figure out solutions to the problems?” When leaders think about grounding, they should think about how to best be partners with customers in figuring out solutions to product and service improvements.

Chip has seen that when you’re grounded as a company, you have more of an idea of who you are and you understand your guardrails and your principles. When a company is grounded, they have a clear standard on what they will and will not do. He also stresses the importance of partnership warranty. When it comes to working with customers, take responsibility for the relationship. Stand behind your product and your brand.

When you’re grounded as a company, you have more of an idea of who you are and you understand your guardrails and your principles. -- @ChipRBell #customerimagination Share on X

3. Discovery: Take Risks to Innovate

To put it simply, Chip explains that discovery is about learning. But most importantly, it’s about risk taking. He explains that sometimes we’re afraid of risk, but when you take risks, you can learn something new. Even if you fail during the process, you still learn something with the different outcome. According to Chip, innovative companies find joy in taking risks.

4. Trust: Aim for Total Transparency

“What you find in environments where there’s a lot of innovation and ingenuity, is an element of a truthful environment. We need an environment in which the truth is always there,” says Chip.

He shares that people oftentimes hold back little white lies, or are afraid to tell the whole story. Because of these tendencies, it’s important to create an environment where you say, ‘let’s put it all out there, no holds barred. We want to be diplomatic and fair. But we also want total complete transparency.’ According to Chip’s experiences, when you have that kind of environment, it’s one of safety.

To implement this kind of attitude, Chip explains that leaders can create meeting rules and norms, saying, “Always make sure there’s a norm about honesty.”

What you find in environments where there's a lot of innovation and ingenuity, is an element of a truthful environment. -- @ChipRBell #customerimagination Share on X

5. Passion: Bring Your Best Self

“Passion is infectious. Passion is energy. Passion is enthusiasm. Passion brings a sense of not only celebration, but encouragement to keep it going,” explains Chip. He likes to think of passion as “pass I on,” which means to bring the best of who you are to someone else. When you bring your best self and your authenticity to the work and to others, the passion helps create breakthroughs. The passion is what helps you deliver to the max, and then celebrate the work that’s done.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Chip Says:

“I think I wish I had known more. The power of generosity to give away more, give up give more, that whole spirit of abundance and, and to be in that spirit to be non judgmental, in what we do.”

About Chip R. Bell

Chip R Bell customer bliss

Chip R. Bell has helped numerous Fortune 100 companies dramatically enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputations through innovative customer-centric strategies that address the needs of today’s fickle customers. His keynotes reveal the best practices from the organizations leading the customer loyalty charge, giving audiences powerful cutting-edge ideas and unique strategies they can immediately put into practice.

Chip has authored national best-selling books including: The 9½ Principles of innovative Service, Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to Do about It, and more.

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