Who doesn’t want a WOW experience from the brands and vendors they do business with? Of course, that’s a rhetorical question. Everyone wants it. But is it reasonable to expect that you can deliver a consistent WOW experience? It depends on your definition of WOW.
I use the word amazing other than WOW, not because I want to be different. I simply want to separate myself (and my clients) from the inferred meaning of WOW, which typically means a “blow-me-away” or “over-the-top” experience.
You might say that definition also applies to amazing, and it could. However, I define amazing as just being consistently a little better than average. And when I say, “a little better,” I mean precisely that. Even if it’s just a tiny bit better than average, as long it’s consistent, people will use the word always in front of something positive to describe you. They are always helpful. They always get back to me quickly. Even when there’s a problem, I can always count on them to help me. That word always can drive a lot of positive confidence. None of what you do has to be extreme. Again, just a little better than average—but all of the time!
All of this leads to a great conversation I had on Amazing Business Radio with Paula Courtney, CEO of The Verde Group, a global market research consultancy specializing in helping businesses improve customer retention and loyalty. Recently, The Verde Group, together with Wharton’s Baker Retailing Center, conducted a study on the payoff of delivering WOW experiences, which prompted me to invite her to be interviewed on Amazing Business Radio to find out more about her take on WOW.
There were some powerful takeaways in our interview.
If You Are Not Delivering a WOW Experience, You Might Become Invisible
Below are five ideas that stood out for me, plus my interpretations of her comments. I hope you agree that they are great ways to support the customer experience.
1. The Definition of WOW
Let’s start with Courtney’s comment about a WOW experience. To paraphrase, creating a WOW experience is not about doing anything extraordinary. It’s about delivering the basics consistently. Exactly! If you believe that WOW is about consistent over-the-top expertise, you will quickly find it’s impossible to bear. Instead, as I mentioned above, focus on consistency in being better than average.
2. WOW Applies to All Industries
WOW is just as important for B2B as it is for B2C. Many people make the mistake of thinking this applies only to retail, hospitality, etc. Even if you’re in the B2B industry, customer experience matters. Decision-makers (your customers) are likely to compare you to the best customer experiences they have had from any business. Not just another B2B. This is a significant shift in the mindset of the customer. The rock stars in the retail and hospitality industries are setting your customers’ expectations in the B2B industries.
3. Getting the C-Suite to Invest
Are you looking to get funding for your new customer service training program? Or a new software solution for your support center? In order to get the attention of the C-Suite, you need to speak their language, which typically is dollars and cents. (Note: I covered How to Sell to the C-Suite in a previous Forbes article.) They love numbers, and they want to know the ROI. Without it, you’re probably not going to make a compelling case that gets them to take action or invest in your proposition.
4. WOW Results in Repeat Business
Delivering a WOW experience can result in a 12-58% increase in the customer’s intent to repurchase. It’s one thing to get a customer to do business with you. It’s another to get them to come back. What will it cost to deliver a better experience? Once you know that number and you see how it fits in with the numbers related to repeat business, you’ll start to understand the ROI of delivering that higher level of service.
5. Measuring Customer Sentiment
Courtney says, “An attitude is a cognitive expression of an experience. By the time companies can measure attitude, they are already looking at the rearview mirror, unable to change the experience.” I’m okay with finding out what customers thought about their recent experiences. That’s important. Are they happy? Are they likely to recommend us? It’s a history lesson that you can learn from. But even more important, I want to understand their behavior, which is about whether or not the customer will come back.
There were plenty of other nuggets of wisdom Courtney shared in her interview. Let’s end with a quote that sums up what great customer-focused organizations do when designing the best experience possible for their customers. Courtney says, “Put your business processes in the eyes of the customers before looking at it through the eyes of your bottom line.”
This article has been reprinted with permission from Shep Hyken’s Forbes blog.