What’s your WOW factor?

WOW is what your customers say about you, your products or services, and how you have dealt with them that evokes the response, WOW!

No, this is not another new acronym that stands for a concept dreamed up by a business guru as part of an MBA program. It is, however, probably the most important thing your business has to offer.

So what does WOW stand for? Quite simply it is what your customers say about you, your products or services, and how you have dealt with them that evokes the response, WOW!

If you can find ways to genuinely WOW your customers, you will have created a network of loyal customers who will undoubtedly spread the word and keep coming back for more.

To a great degree what this boils down to is providing not just good customer service but over the top customer service.

Ritz-Carlton is famous for going that extra mile with their guests. One example often repeated is about a father and his kids who had checked into the hotel and then went out to stand in line on a New York sidewalk, four miles from the hotel, in the hopes of getting tickets to the NFL draft. It was cold, 1 a.m. and the ticket window wouldn’t open for another five hours. Suddenly a taxi pulls up, the hotel doorman jumps out, drapes warm blankets over the family, hands them all cups of hot chocolate then speeds off.

Did you just say WOW?

In today’s business environment it is all about giving the customer a positive experience that will be remembered long after you’ve made the sale. Tony Allesandra, one of those marketing gurus, says in one of his motivational talks that being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service is what wins the game. Customer experience is the next competitive battleground — in fact, the battle is already underway.

As mentioned before, getting people to make referrals is not just a good thing, it is one of the key reasons why others will find their way to your door.

To highlight the importance of word of mouth, in a Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 92 per cent of respondents said they trusted the recommendations of people they know. This was 22 per cent higher than the next form of advertising which was consumer opinions posted online — another form of word of mouth. Next on the list at 58 per cent was editorial content such as newspaper articles.

What does it take to make your customers say WOW? A big commitment on your part is to have everyone in your company focus first on the customer. It means really knowing your customers and what will make them happy. It is building a relationship and not just trying to make a sale but to make a customer.

You might even think about changing around the golden rule which states: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In terms of developing exceptional customer service you might consider changing it to read: Do unto your customers as they would like you to do for them.

Remember in business it is not necessarily what you say that will be remembered but more so by what you do. And one last point, customer service is not a department, it is everyone’s job.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached at joesmith@shaw.ca, or visit his art website at www.joesmith.ca.