When was the last time you enjoyed such outstanding customer experience, you just had to say, “Wow!” For me, I always think of the Ritz Carlton. Thanks to the Ritz Carlton, my husband was home in time for the birth of our daughter. He had literally just planted himself on the beach in Florida to start a rare vacation when he got the news that I had gone into early labor in New York. Within two hours, they got him booked on a flight, packed, in a car to the airport, and on the plane to New York. They even gave him a meal for the road and cancelled any hotel fees that he normally would have been responsible for. He made it to the hospital within 45 minutes of our daughter being born. We will be forever grateful to the Ritz Carlton for enabling us to have that moment as a family.
And they continue to delight, every time I stay in one of their hotels. They come up with solutions before I even know that I need one. When my daughter joined us on trips, they would create a whole experience for her with Beauty and the Beast dolls, storybooks, rides on the luggage cart, and candy and chocolates. If it was an anniversary or birthday, they spread rose petals all over our bed and on our table for dinner along with special treats on the house.
That’s the kind of WOW I’m talking about. There’s a unique wow factor that drives the success of Ritz Carlton, and others who make customer experience the most important priority.
Your company, too, can develop a strategy of delivering superior customer experience that profoundly impacts your growth. Distinctive customer experience is the foundation of a new growth model that gives your business new opportunities to enrich people’s lives, while setting you apart from your competition.
WOW drives growth.
Did you know that companies that strategically endear themselves to customers, and all their stakeholders — who put “share of heart” before “share of wallet” —outperformed the S&P500 by a factor of 14 to 1?1
Are you delivering that kind of WOW? When I recently asked an audience of sales executives this question, not a single person raised a hand. Most companies don’t yet grasp the value of customer admiration, loyalty, even love. Yet, the impact on profitability is astounding and that’s why striving to WOW gives you a strategic advantage.
How to Deliver Impact that Makes You Stand Out
Customer experience has become the new playing field to gain a competitive edge. It has emerged as the most important way to win new customers, grow business with existing customers, and grow the company. It’s become the number one must-have tool for being able to make an impact, which is the single most critical step companies must take to accelerate growth.
You have more power than you think to really make a difference in your customer’s life and stand out from your competition. Here are five steps to WOW customers and drive revenue growth:
- Align with a Powerful Purpose and Roadmap: Purpose is all about your “WHY.” Your purpose states the impact you want to make on your customer and in the world. It’s a game changer. When everybody else is talking about product, you’re talking about how to make a difference. People want to do business with people that stand for something they value in common. And people want to work for companies that inspire them to get up in the morning.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”2
Many organizations don’t realize the value of a well-articulated roadmap – an inspiring vision, strategy, goals, and initiatives to grow. If you’re missing any one of these things, it throws the whole organization off kilter. Getting alignment on your purpose and roadmap is the most critical step to set organization on a path to success.
- Design Experiences to WOW : How do we bring our purpose to life for customers? We rock their world. We figure out a way to make a significant impact on their lives. A recent LinkedIn survey found that B2B buyers were five times more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business or industry. Here’s the rub: B2B buyers are saying that only 23% of salespeople are truly knowledgeable about solving business problems.3 There is a huge opportunity here to WOW your customer by understanding how to help them solve their business problems better than anybody else in the market.
- Make it easy How easy is it do business with your company? How many hoops do your customers have to go through to get anything done? Did you know that your customers want to make buying decisions 40% faster, and that they want you in sales to help them speed the process?3
Are your customers becoming overwhelmed with too much information and not enough insight? Do they have sufficient guidance from you to help them accomplish what they need? Too many companies are hampered by silo management, firefighting, and winging it—which makes life difficult for customers and thwarts growth. What are you doing to make a difference in your customer’s life by making it easy to do business with you?
- Build a Culture of WOW: Your company culture is a reflection of the values that you stand for and serves as a mechanism for guiding behavior—whether you are there or not—so you get the consistent behavior you’re a looking for day in and day out. Culture goes beyond posters, free gourmet lunches, ping pong tables and casual Fridays. How do you get people to “run through walls” for your customers? As the VP of Sales of one B2B contact lens company said to me, “you cannot expect your people to deliver WOW to your customers if you don’t WOW your people.” Creating a WOW employee experience is essential to delivering a WOW customer experience.
- Measure and Adapt: Executives today have access to lots of data – most of which focuses on business and operational outcomes that comes after the fact. What separates the best from the rest—is capturing data that identifies what is working and what isn’t so that you can adapt and make course corrections. Check your metrics early and often. Are you measuring the level of impact you have on your customers? How easy it is to do business with you? How well your culture inspires WOW? How loyal your customers are? The extent to which your customers are advocates for your brand, beyond Net Promoter Scores? Only with dynamic real-time data can you have the speed and agility to deliver WOW and outperform your competition.
Being able to WOW your customer is key to growth. These 5 steps guide your entry onto a new playing field. You gain new competitive advantage, greater ability to attract and retain the very best people, and greater ability to put you and your company in a category reserved only for the best in your industry. And you will also start to see growth, strong financial results and the fulfillment that comes with truly making a significant impact in your world.
1 Firms of Endearment by Raj Sisodia, David Wolfe, Jag Sheth, p.15.
2 Simon Sinek
3 IDC,CMO Advisory, “Annual IT Buyer Experience Survey”, 2013.