Competition is tough! So how do you stand out among the crowd? Providing “WOW!” service is one way to set yourself apart.
Customers have long been exposed to mediocre service and decreasing quality of products. But over recent years, they’ve rallied to the spirit of the 80s Twisted Sister hit and cried, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!”
Loyalty and Customer Service indexes tell the story of who the top performers are, who customers are tending to buy from and why – it’s because they feel valued as customers and are consistently provided with a great customer experience. Is the customer experience more powerful today for the consumer than it has been in the recent past? Absolutely.
When the economy took a downturn, consumer spending hit an all time low and the immediate result was in our sacrifice to get by we also sacrificed our expectations in service to a degree – we became willing to spend our money without feeling truly appreciated as a customer because we were spending less overall. We stood in corrals waiting extended periods of time for assistance, dialed our way slowly and often miserably through an automated customer service line only to have to hold 8 minutes for a live person in the end, and gladly took what we got which was an ‘in and out’ experience often without a smile.
But as a society, we’re done with that! We’ve learned that if we are patient and persistent we can find what we want and make a purchase that not only drives our own happiness but also conduct business with someone who ‘cares’ about us.
In Beyond Being Satisfied, Rick Sidorowicz sums it up nicely. The outcome of customer service is to create for your customers “a very positive and very memorable experience. It’s the Wow! Factor.” The more customers who take away this powerful, emotional response to their interaction with you, the greater the likelihood is they will sing your praises to others and result in more traffic and increased sales.
Wowing your customer doesn’t have to break the bank, either. It’s the little things that matter most sometimes! And you have to start somewhere. Many organizations who strive to provide the ultimate experience to their customers have started with the NPS (Net Promoter Score) system. Take Chick-Fil-A, where a customer was wowed when a worker asked his three-year-old to ‘help” him mop and then took him on a spin on the mop around the store. “We strive to deliver something for which there is unlimited demand – being treated with honor and respect,” say Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.
Noted author and expert in the field of loyalty management, Fred Reichheld, mirrors this sentiment: “We all want to be treated with honor and respect in ways, large and small, that enrich our lives. Such experiences not only make us happy, we want to share them with people we care about.”
Reichheld goes on to point out that this is the basis for recommendations of your business. We don’t send people we care about your way unless we’re utterly enchanted with you ourselves. The fact that we put our own reputation on the line speaks highly of the brand we’re recommending. By the same token, treat us poorly and everyone we come in contact with will know it – and that packs as big a punch in the wrong direction!
“We all want to be treated with honor and respect in ways, large and small, that enrich our lives. Such experiences not only make us happy, we want to share them with people we care about.”
One thing is certain, it is the emotional aspect tied to your customer’s experience with you that makes the biggest impact. Customers are driven to buy and especially to remain loyal customers and promoters of your business by emotion over reason. John Fleming and Jim Asplund in Human Sigma (Gallup Press) report that a rationally satisfied customer – although classifying themselves as extremely satisfied – lacks the strong emotional attachment and loyalty of an emotionally satisfied customer. Emotionally satisfied customers spend more, buy more often and remain customers longer.
One of the most intriguing findings of Fleming/Asplund’s research was that rationally satisfied customers demonstrate behaviors identical to those of dissatisfied customers. So, emotion is KEY! And “WOWING” your customer provides an overwhelmingly positive, emotional experience every time.
How have you “wowed” customers or been “wowed” by a business?
We would love you hear your thoughts.