Photo by Daniel Y. Go.
It’s really great to open your email and get a compliment or hear something nice that a customer posted about you or your company on social media. I call that “Customer Wow” and believe that building Wow is a difference-maker and provides a sustainable critical advantage for your company. If you practice this skill every day, good things will happen, and you will build positive word-of-mouth reviews.
What is Customer WOW?
It’s not enough to simply follow an axiom, like “the customer is always right” (as sometimes they are more right than others), and it’s also too rigid to build policies and procedures for every situation. How many times have you looked at a complicated solution and thought, “there must be something simpler that can solve most of this problem, if I could only think of it?”
So, how do you build Customer WOW?
You have to start with a few key elements: understanding the customer and providing empathy; quickly identifying and solving their problem expertly; and ultimately, trying to “do the right thing” and treating that customer the right way for the right situation while maintaining your existing policy guardrails and proper procedures.
Becoming a WOW-Maker (and enabling WOW) depends upon the people, process, and tools in your organization:
- By people, I literally mean the people involved, because finding the right people who are capable of delivering great service is much easier than training people who don’t want to deliver above-and-beyond service. So, find the “above-and-beyond” skills your people have and make sure that the thing they do best is the thing they’re doing more often.
- By process, I mean the way your company does business: ask around and you should be able to find the parts of it people dislike.
- And by tools, I mean the products and services people in your team use to get stuff done.
There’s no special recipe, but the following tips can help:
- Your people are the first contact with your customers — so make sure that they know both the common procedures of your organizations — but also ask them to think of “one more thing” that would make a customer really happy. Tip: When I email a customer, I try to solve the next question they might ask, in addition to what they already have asked.
- Process is key for establishing efficiency and effectiveness, and if it’s too detailed, it can really get burdensome fast. Ask your team members if there are any items on the “cringe list” and see what you can do to remove those obstacles. Tip: One great process you might think about adding is “Always Thank the Customer for Writing.”
- Be open to the idea of new tools. Often the team member who delivers the most WOW is someone who has discovered a way to automate their everyday tasks so that they can focus on the end goal of delighting customers. Tip: Find out what high-performing team members are doing and ask them to teach that idea to the rest of the team.
How will you know when you are delivering WOW?
When your customers let you know that they are really happy with your speed, efficiency, and excellence. And when you manage to do all these things — and do them with your own style (and a bit of panache) — you’ve become a WOW-maker. I’d love to hear your story — share it with me in the comments below or at @grmeyer.