Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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 explained
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
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 well.

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 carts.

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 transaction.
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 restaurant.
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 ordered
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 friends.
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 apart.
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 sign

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 arrangements.
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 with?
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 effort.
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.
Consistency 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 amazed.
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 anxiety.
» We believe our quality of service must lead to superior Customer satisfaction.

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 smell.
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 shop
» 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 improvement
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 people.
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 business.

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 business.
» Commit to Constant and Never Ending Improvement.

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