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Deliver a “WOW” customer service experience

A. Introduction
» Get a “buzz” happening in the market, about your business
» Increase word of mouth sales
» Feel great about coming to work every day
» Your people also feel great about coming to work everyday
» Your customers just love being in your space and doing business with you
» The more you delight them, the more you increase the average value of a sale,
AND the more you increase purchase frequency
B. Delivering a “WOW” experience
People expect a certain type of experience when they
do business with a company. When you go above and beyond their expectations
THAT’S when you create delight.
And when you create delight, you create a positive
buzz which increases your referrals and your sales.
Not only that, there’s also a flow on effect in all
areas of a business – especially in morale, energy and productivity.
This is an excerpt from “The Absolutely Critical
Non-Essentials” by Paddi Lund. It’s a great example of creating a “WOW”
experience. More details at www.paddilund.com
Nuts about Nuts – A ‘What If’ Story
Say you are the CEO of an airline. You have the idea that you want to do
away with in-flight meals. 

You want to be the ‘airline that serves peanuts’.

Many people disparage your plans because they feel that to your
customers the usual packet of airline peanuts will not be a very satisfactory
substitute for an in-flight meal. However, you decide that you are going to do
this whole peanut theme to the n’th degree and make the idea work amazingly

A few months later customers are getting the full ‘peanut experience’.

The first thing that hits them as they walk onto the plane is the aroma…
the delicious smell of fresh roasted nuts. During each flight the ‘Keepers of
the Nuts’ serves the finest peanuts slowly basted and carried in special peanut
As the ‘Keeper’ rolls the cart through the cabin,
salivating travellers are tempted by the smell of the nuts and the special
dipping sauces simmering in the copper receptacles at the side of the cart.
The nuts are dipped in a sauce, placed lovingly into
custom made brown paper bags with a pinch of salt in a twist of blue paper and
finally served to each passenger with silver tongs on a silver tray.
Customers can read the story of this golden aristocracy of peanuts on
the brown paper packaging – how they were tenderly shelled by dusky virgins in
the Senegal and flown in on specially chartered planes … etc, etc.

C. How to create a “WOW” experience
The first thing to consider is that a customer
develops an impression of your business at many different points throughout a
The first impression they have is the most lasting so
the first touch with your organisation is of critical importance.

Let’s consider this …

When you dine at a restaurant there are as many 24
touch points for you to be either delighted or disgusted by the service at that

Let’s take a look at what they are:
1. You see the ad in the newspaper
2. You ring up to reserve a table
3. You arrive at the restaurant, walk in and see the
maitre de
4. You are seated at the table
5. Gives you menus and asks you if you would like a drink

6. Brings back drinks
7. Asks you for meal order
8. Adjusts the table setting to suit the meal you
9. Bring out your entrée
10. Clear your entrée
11. Bring out dinner
12. Clear dinner plates
13. You go to the toilet
14. Comes back with dessert menu
15. Comes back to take dessert order
16. Arrives with dessert
17. Clears dessert plates
18. Arrives to ask if you would like coffee
19. Brings coffees
20. Removes coffee cups
21. Brings bill
22. You hand them your credit card and they take
payment away
23. Bring back your credit card
24. You walk out
Makes you sit back and think, doesn’t it. The type of
experience a customer has at any one of these touch points will have a bearing
on whether or not they come back again. It will also have a bearing on whether
they say “amazing” things or damaging things about the restaurant to their
Let’s look a little more closely at a selection of the main touch points
for a standard business …

1. When they see your ad or sales

The words, the design and the colour of your
marketing material leave impressions in the hearts and minds of your customers.
If you can create a ““WOW”” right from the outset, you’re setting your business
A great example of creating a “WOW” experience for website visitors is
the business …
1800 Got Junk hire out rubbish skips. It isn’t a
glamorous business so they decided to add a little bling to what they’re doing
my creating a fun, interactive website. When you visit their website you see a
Junk Genie. The Junk Genie says that he can read your mind and guess and is
willing to bet you $10 that he can do that.
He asks you to pick a number and go through a very
short mathematical exercise. At the end of the exercise you have arrived at a
single word which corresponds to the total number you arrived at. The Genie
then goes on to guess that word.
And wouldn’t you know it – he’s right 100% of the time.
Website visitors are often dumbfounded. They don’t’
know how the Genie did it. They try it again and again. They forward it to
their friends. Some end up guessing what the secret is. Others don’t but ALL
get an interesting and memorable experience from the exercise. And ALL remember
the name “Junk Genie” and 1800gotjunk.
A word of caution though: The prime focus of your marketing
material is to sell NOT to simply create a sort of experience for the reader.
If you can do both, great. If not, just focus on selling.
FREE lead generation offers are great for creating a favourable
impression with readers.

2. The first call contact with a company

When most people call a company you might hear the
words, “Hello, XYZ Company.” Or “Hello, XYZ Company, Melanie speaking” or you
might even hear just a “yep.”
Believe it or not, the tone of your voice on the
telephone has a very large impact on whether someone buys.
It creates that all important first impression. If
someone feels they were treated indifferently or rudely, they in turn,
reciprocate the attitude.
If they hear a “Grr…. What do YOU want?” or a “Nuhhh.
Can’t ‘elp ya with that mate?”
 Or a “dunno” kind of answer, they’re
not going to be overly impressed with the service.

On the other hand, imagine hearing a really sunny
voice on the phone saying something like, “Thank you SO much for calling. Brian
is the best person to speak with about that, would it be okay if I put you on
hold for just a moment and get Brian for you?”
Notice the politeness by using the words “thank you”
and “so much” and “would it be okay if I”. One of the keys to creating a “WOW”
impression on the phone is, believe it or not, to smile before you pick up the
telephone. Yes, that’s right. The simple act of smiling will instantly change
your emotional state and put a smile into your voice.
If you have a smile in your voice your customer is
thinking, this person is happy, this company then, must be a great place to
work and it must offer a great product or service.
On the other hand, if they hear a gruff voice, they’ll
feel the opposite.
Get the picture?
Inside the “Member Study Guide” that addresses telephone handling skills
you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to handle the telephone in a way that
creates a positive first impression AND at the same time, increases your
conversion rates.

3. When they first walk in
A business consulting firm prints out an A4 “welcome sign” and displays
it just before a client walks in to an appointment. Here’s an example of the

Imagine this too.
Imagine that the receptionist or a better term for
that, Director of First Impressions walks over to the client and says:
“Hi John. Great to see you again. Would you like a
cappuccino again today? Two sugars, wasn’t it?”
“And we’ve got more of those delicious chocolate
brownies in again. Would you like one of those today?”
People love to be acknowledged and remembered. And the
receptionist in this example has done an amazing job of making that client feel
very important. She acknowledged him with a welcome sign. She remembered his
coffee and cake tastes.
Doing this is simply a matter of recording their likes
and dislikes on your customer database. The receptionist then simply looks at
the database the day before the appointment and makes the necessary
Small effort but massive impact.
A restaurant on the Gold Coast takes this hospitality
one step further. When you visit their head office and walk upstairs to the
office area, you are warmly greeted at the reception area and offered a
selection of 15 teas and 5 different coffees served from antique Royal Doulton
cups. You are also invited to choose from a selection of assorted sandwiches,
nibbles and cakes from an antique silver tea trolley.
They went to a massive amount of effort to create an inviting first
impression and succeeded marvellously at it.

4. When customers purchase the product
At some restaurants, once you pay, you are handed an
after dinner mint or a chocolate with your credit card and receipt, once you
have purchased. This is a nice touch but what can you do that takes things one
step further than that and REALLY create a “WOW”? Such a “WOW” that the
customer actually says out loud, ““WOW”!”
Here’s how you could step that up a notch …
What if you went one step further and instead of
simply handing back the person’s credit card with a chocolate, what if instead
you did this …
“Thank you so much Mr and Mrs Jones. Brian, our Master Pastry Chef has
created these exquisite new chocolates today, made with the finest Columbian,
organically grown cocoa. We’d love you to try one with our compliments. I think
you’ll adore them. “
The chocolate looks exquisite in a homemade patty case
with gorgeous piping on it. The waiter then continues on …
“Also Mr and Mrs Jones, if you like Brian’s creations, it’d be our
honour to have you back here in the future to try one of his exquisite desserts
free of charge. Here’s a special certificate that entitles you to a
complimentary dessert next time you dine with us.
And Mr and Mrs Jones, are you okay for a ride home or would you like us
to order a taxi for you?”
See how this would have more impact than simply
handing a customer a commercially-produced after dinner mint with their credit
card and receipt?
What ““WOW”” can you create when people purchase?
Can you also include a voucher or certificate for
something else (as an added surprise)?
Can you package or gift wrap the product beautifully
complete with ribbon, bow and potpourri … free of charge?
Can you throw in a free report or white-paper or
something else?
What can you do?
Remember, whenever you feature a surprise gift or a
value-added gift that wasn’t part of the original purchase, always make sure
you tell the customer so they know that you are doing them a favour and going
that extra mile. If you don’t, some customers may think that the bonus formed
part of the purchase and with that, there’ll be no delight factor.
So – always tell them. And when you do that, always
tell them why you’re gifting it in.
“I thought that since you have children, this
whitepaper on “30 Parenting Tips” might come in handy. I hope you enjoy it …
with our compliments”.
5. When the product arrives on their door step …

With all products purchased over the phone or via
mail, the MOST important time in these transactions is when the package arrives
and the customer opens it.
Think about it. A person has handed over his/her
credit card details over the phone or via the internet or mail, they’re excited
about receiving the product but they’re also a little nervous about getting
ripped off, or about the product NOT living up to expectations.
Which of these situations would you be more impressed
The package arrives in one of those plastic courier-style envelopes. It
is ripped and has scuff marks on it. You open the package and, sure
enough, the product itself has been damaged.
What’s even more annoying is that there was no padding
inside the box. If there had been that damage mightn’t have occurred. By now
you’re annoyed because you needed that product. But now you need to go to the
trouble of calling up the company arranging for the product to be returned so
you can get a replacement – all of this taking valuable time that you simply
don’t have.
Sound familiar?
Contrast that situation with this one:
The package arrives in a clean, plain box. You open
the box and find the product beautifully wrapped like a gift, in tissue paper.
You see popcorn has been used as padding instead of polystyrene. You also find
a handful of minties thrown in to the box.
On top of the wrapped product is a small gift card. You open the gift
card and it says:
Hi John,
Here’s your widget. I have personally inspected it for
quality and took the liberty of wrapping it for you.
I hope it is to your liking.
Big difference, isn’t there?! Sure it might cost a
little more in money and time to implement but it will be well worth the
6. The day after their purchase …

The day after someone purchases is often a time when
they have come off their purchasing high and sometimes they start having second
thoughts and regrets about the purchase. Did I do the right thing?
Would XYZ have been a better option? Will it work?
Have I been ripped off? It goes on and on.
These “second thoughts” or post-purchase dissonance is
completely natural. Everyone feels it to a certain extent. The key is to combat
that by reassuring people they have made a wise purchasing decision. More
significantly than that, making them feel that it’s the best decision they’ve
ever made.
These initiatives might include a welcome pack and a
follow-up phone call. Then – to get that “jaw dropping” shock happening, you
might want to also include a gift basket or some sort of package or gesture
that makes your customer say ““WOW””.
See also Post-Purchase Reassurance Member Study Guide.

Put the customer “in control”
Once you know when to delight customers, it’s time to
look more at the “how”. Customer Service Standards can consist of all manner of
initiatives but one of the most powerful ones is to put your customer in the
driver’s seat.
Let me explain …
Give them control. Customers often feel nervous when
buying because they aren’t in control of what happens after they hand over
their money. If you can give them back some of that control, you’re one step
closer to creating a customer for life.
When people go to the dentist they fear pain. The
dentist could give their patients control by giving them a “pain button” to
press if the pain got too much.
When people fly one of the things they get nervous
about is the plane being late which might mean them missing their appointment.
Where delays are known in advance, a travel agent could gives customers 24 hour
notice of plane delays so they have time to make alternative arrangements.
The first step in putting the customer back in control
is to work out what their control needs are.
What are all the costly, time consuming and disastrous things that can
go wrong when people deal with your industry?

The best people to ask that question of are your
front-line team members. Ask them and request that they ponder it for a week as
they deal with customers. Ask them to come up with a list of frustrations and a
list of suggestions on how your company can put “control” back in the hands of
your customers.
Select the best comments, brainstorm and implement.
Try the low risk ones first and gauge feedback to see how well it is working.
is critical
It’s no use delivering awesome service when people
purchase and then when you get down to the factory floor, the production people
are doing shoddy work and taking forever to dispatch products. All that great
work you’ve put in on the front end is wasted.
It isn’t good enough JUST to deliver a “WOW”
experience at one step in the buying cycle. It must happen at EVERY single step
of the transaction.
You’ve heard the term, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.
Well, the same goes for your customer service procedures. It’s ALL or nothing.
Picture this …
You book into an opulent hotel. The lobby is
breathtaking … wall to floor marble, chandeliers, incredible opulence as far as
the eye can see. You’re suitably impressed.
You walk up to your room and it is equally as
breathtaking. Incredibly spacious with opulent décor and fittings. A gorgeous
fruit basket sits on the Louis XV table. You walk into the bathroom and see a
massive marble roman bath. Every little detail has been accounted for. You’re
You then walk over to the window and open the curtains. When you do that
your heart sinks. All you can see is a half demolished brick wall. All that
beauty and luxury inside is spoilt by the decaying mess of the view. Your
initial excitement about the room has changed to disappointment.

See the importance of consistency?
The best way to ensure consistency is to firstly have
a set of Consistent Customer Service Standards. These Service Standards address
the commitments you and your people are willing to make to deliver outstanding
service in each area of your business. It also makes specific commitments
around deadlines and timeframes so customers know exactly what they can expect
from the outset.
Here’s an example of a Customer Service Statement from
The Sisters of Mercy Health System:
Customer Service and Satisfaction Creed
Our abiding belief in the dignity of every human being
compels us, the co-workers of Mercy, to exceed our Customers’ expectations by
delivering the highest degree of clinical care and service.
Our Customers are those needing our services,
including their families and friends.
» We believe emphasis on service relationships
throughout the continuum of care is fundamental to living out our Mission,
Vision and Values.
» We believe our Customers are central to everything
we do, making each of us caregivers.
» We believe we work in partnership with others to
serve our customers. The physician is a key partner in serving customers and
achieving customer satisfaction.
» We believe Customer service is “our way of life.”
All co-workers have the power to make this way of life a reality.
» We believe we are called to compassionate service in
response to our Customers’ needs, particularly during times of stress and high
» We believe our quality of service must lead to superior Customer

Stimulating the senses
While you’re brainstorming ideas on what you can do to
create that ““WOW”” experience, consider the effect that the senses have on a
person’s emotions. See what you can do to stimulate each of their senses in a
positive way. When you’re doing that, pay particular attention to the sense of
Research shows that this is THE most important sense for having an
impact on somebody. It makes a lingering impression: in fact, studies suggest
that people recall smell with up to 64% accuracy after one year. Now, that’s
powerful associative power!

» The colours
» The aesthetic beauty
» The cleanliness
» The feng shui (physical appearance)
» Soothing classical music that transports people to
another place
» The sound of trickling waterfall which creates a
soothing effect
» The smell of freshly baked bread when you enter a
» The smell of frangipani’s that remind you of visits
to grandma’s house
» Home baked cookies
» Exotic chocolates that melt in your mouth
» The feel of that silky smooth xxx against your skin
» The touch
» The “energy” or atmosphere of a place

Commit to constant and never ending
There’s a Japanese term known as Kaizen which means
constant improvement and there’s evidence of that happening absolutely
everywhere in industry and throughout the Japanese culture … from the wharves
to the production line to even the kaizen of the relationships they have with
This quality commitment philosophy was introduced in
the late 1940’s by Dr Edward Deming. He showed them that a constant and
never-ending commitment to consistently increase quality every single day would
give them the power to dominate the markets of the world. This philosophy
contributed to Japanese supremacy in trade in the 1990’s. It’s also a term that
is now widely used in western culture.
It has particularly importance when applied to
customer service.
You see, the minute you start putting in place some great customer
service initiatives, you can bet your competitors will try to match you. The
key is to always be ahead of the game. A Kaizen attitude is also very important
to ensure that service standards stay exceptional. After all, it’s human nature
to slacken off after a period of time, or become complacent when sales are
firing. This complacency and slackening can have a devastating effect on your

D. Key points summarised
» Create a “WOW” experience for the customer at EVERY
“touch point”.
» Ensure that the ““WOW”” that you create solves a
frustration or appeals to their control needs.
» Maintain consistency through ALL areas of your
» Commit to Constant and Never Ending Improvement.

Posted on March 16, 2017

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