Maximizing Growth – It’s all about WOW

When was the last time that you felt wowed by an encounter with a product or company?  For me, it was a call to Microsoft’s Office365 customer support.  I dreaded making the call and braced myself by setting very low expectations for the interaction. You can imagine how happy I was when the actual experience was a WOW.  Why was it so positive?  The rep made me feel that his primary focus was on me and making me productive again. He took the time to understand the problem, didn’t try to rush me off the phone and explained what I needed to do in clear language.  I hung up and thought that was a pretty great experience.  But then, before he left for the day he followed up by email and phone to make sure that my issue was resolved. Now that was a WOW!

WOW — used to express strong feeling (as pleasure or surprise)[1]

Importance of WOW

Companies that focus on delivering WOW achieve greater revenues than those who don’t. A study by Forrester Research found that companies with superior customer experience (CX) grew revenues faster than their competitors with inferior customer experience. On average the eight CX leaders studied had revenue CAGR of 15% while their eight CX laggard competitors only grew at an average rate of 2.5%.[2]

Three Keys to Delivering WOW

What does WOW look like for your company? Each company is unique so you need to define what WOW means for your customers. To really deliver WOW focus on doing these three things well:

  1. Deliver meaningful impact – real impact happens when someone feels that you are making a meaningful difference in their life. It means developing empathy for your customers to the point where you are able to solve problems they cannot even articulate. Making a real impact requires listening and understanding not only what they do and how they do it, but why it is important to them. This helps you to go beyond their expectations and maximize the value that you deliver, and receive in return. You want them to walk away and say “Wow!”.

Steve Jobs knew all about WOW. He focused on WOW both at Apple and at NeXT. In a 1985 brainstorming session during the early months of NeXT, a team member says “unless we have this technology that wows people, we are not going to have a firm foundation that people are going to buy from.”[3] Although NeXT ultimately couldn’t deliver WOW Jobs took that focus back to Apple and the rest is history

  1. Make it effortless – each and every interaction your stakeholders have with your company and your product must be easy and intuitive. Introducing friction at any stage in the journey reduces the overall WOW. Research by the CEB Customer Contact Council found that the more effort customers needed to exert to resolve their issues, the more disloyal they were likely to become, even if they were satisfied with the customer service. Their results suggest that effort is a better financial predictor, and is also more relevant, as it is the best indicator of loyalty. [4] While this research focused on customer service, imagine the impact you can have making every interaction with your product, partners and employees effortless for your customers.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. ~ Jeff Bezos[5]

  1. Be consistent — Consistency is key. WOW should be the rule, not the exception. To succeed in today’s world, companies need to make every moment a WOW by delivering what they promise to all their stakeholders every time, all the time. Delivering a simple and seamless consistent experience requires a joint effort by your people. Your people are key because they will treat your customers the way you treat them, so the key to consistently delivering WOW is to look after your people. That means demonstrating that you care about what is important to them and supporting their needs. As Simon Sinek says, Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”. Creating a culture and experience that delivers WOW to your employees will ensure that they look after your customers.

If you have employees who are motivated, who take ownership, who take pride in what they do, that translates to customer satisfaction right away. Indeed, many of the companies that made this year’s [Customer Service] Hall of Fame…score exceptionally well for employee satisfaction on Glassdoor.com.” [6]

Are You Maximizing Your WOW?

Is WOW part of your corporate philosophy? Consider these three step to make WOW a key driver of your growth.


[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wow

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2016/03/9/forrester-volatile-markets-customer-experience/#5a20656c17da

[3] http://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/8-essential-lessons-from-this-meeting-led-by-a-young-steve-jobs.html

[4]Shifting the Loyalty Curve Mitigating Disloyalty by Reducing Customer Effort, CEB Customer Contact Council, 2009, http://www.marketingfacts.nl/images/vacatures/Shifting_the_Loyalty_Curve(B2C).pdf, p10

[5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/03/04/40-eye-opening-customer-service-quotes/#49ce31a4dc8d

[6] Praveen Kopalle, Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/07/24/24-7-wall-st-customer-service-hall-fame/30599943/

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