October 25, 2020

Let’s face it, companies are getting better at providing great services, which makes it increasingly difficult to impress your customers.

81% of Americans report that businesses are either meeting or exceeding expectations when it comes to customer service.

Worldwide, 67% of people believe that customer service as a whole is improving.

What will set you apart is the way you exceed your customers’ expectations, or what I like to call the “WOW Factor”.
Your average customer is looking for hiccup-free, efficient, and (maybe) speed delivery. They, seldom, are on the lookout for “WOW” experiences, except that’s what you promised.

This is why going the extra mile to create unique and personalized experiences for every customer still gets noticed.

A few days ago, we all read about Cowrywise’s customer (the company’s active promoter) who took to Twitter to express her frustration about the delay in processing her refund after a case of theft and security breach.

Thankfully, the issue has been resolved, but I couldn’t help but imagine what could have happened if the opposite was the case. Imagine that Cowrywise kept communication open to keep the customer updated about the progress they were making to apprehend the fraudsters after they have processed the refund, and then sent the customer flowers/gift to express their apologies.

This is my definition of the WOW Factor.
And I will show how to make this a part of your business without breaking the bank.

Innovation starts at the tail end of knowledge. You have to understand your processes intricately to be able to innovate, improve, change, or move things around.

What problem is your product solving? How are people interacting with your product? What are the several touchpoints (if any) between you and the customers?

Answering these questions will provide some insights and clarity on how to innovate and keep your customers.

  1. Welcome/Onboarding: How many times have you walked into a store, and nobody noticed you walking in, or even paid attention enough to say “Welcome”?
    Okay, leave that tab open for a sec, and open this one; how do you feel when you walk into a store, and there’s someone at the door to open/hold the door for you to get in, smiles, and says “Welcome”?
    I don’t know about you, but I feel “welcomed” and subtly assured that I can walk up to anyone to ask for help if I’m ever in a fix.

This obviously old, but powerful trick of welcoming your customers with a warm friendly manner is the first in a series of important steps in creating a fantastic customer experience. You’d be shocked at how many businesses ignore this.

Welcoming and taking a genuine interest in your customers makes them feel valued and appreciated like they are not just another business for you.

  1. Serve!

This probably sounds cliche to you since the whole essence of customer success is first,  service.

The way to set yourself apart through service is by focusing less on the sales/ numbers and more on the needs of the customer.

Let me illustrate this by sharing a personal experience.

I was at a local market in our city to buy a pair of shoes for my husband, and I had walked from one end of the market to the other, and I finally found a shop that I assumed should have the exact designs I wanted.
I got in and they must have seen how frustrated and tired I looked, because the first thing they did was offer me a seat (welcome/onboarding).
My happiness at that moment was short-lived as they told me they didn’t have the shoes I was looking for. One of their agents, let’s call him Frank, dashed out of the store and returned with several designs which included the exact shoe that I have been looking for!

Their competitors had them in stock but they didn’t come in a box.

I needed a shoebox if I was going to wrap the shoe as a gift to my husband, I explained to him. He went into their store found an empty shoebox, and offered to help me wrap the box.

He did all these for FREE because I eventually paid to their competitor but left the market happy and satisfied.

What was great about Frank was that although he didn’t make the sale and even made the sale for his competitor the customer experience he provided was so outstanding that it’s his store I have been recommending to my friends and writing about right now.

He turned me to an advocate for his business by serving and prioritizing my needs above his sales.

This is not suggesting that you start sending your customers to your competitors, but treat every customer like they are your only customer.

  1. Pay Attention To Details:

Very often, it is the smallest things that make the difference between a good customer experience and an outstanding one.
Many entrepreneurs are great at thinking about the big picture but have a very low tolerance when it comes to the details. This is why to set yourself apart,  you require both strategic thinking and attention to detail. Pay attention to emotional and psychological etc. Ask yourself: How is this customer different? What are their unspoken needs that I can solve for, right now?

It doesn’t have to be big gimmicks or overblown gestures to create meaningful or impressive experiences

It can be as simple as saying thank you in a personal way.

  1. Own the relationship.

Owning the relationship is about taking individual responsibility for making sure that each customer has an enjoyable and memorable experience from start to finish, rather than thinking “That’s not my job”.

One of my favorite Zappos stories (the online shoes/clothing retailer) is the one about their customer, who was on a vacation and had forgotten to bring along her favorite shoes which she’d bought from Zappos.

She looked online but the shoe was no longer available.

So she called the Zappos helpdesk to find out where she might be able to buy the shoes. Zappos no longer had them in stock but they located the shoes at a store in the town where the customer was visiting.

They could have advised the customer to go there but instead, they purchased the shoes on the customer’s behalf and had them hand-delivered to the hotel where she was staying. All free of charge.

This incredible gesture was totally unexpected and would have cost Zappos several times more than the profit on the original sale.

But the customer’s loyalty and the subsequent publicity that they bought for that investment was priceless.

Owning the relationship is about anticipating, managing, and exceeding the customer’s expectation without dropping the ball.

  1. Don’t wait to be asked

A lot of these great customer experience examples showcase fantastic responses that exceed the customer’s expectations.

The way to show how you go the extra mile is when you’re able to anticipate and meet the customer’s needs without being asked.

The key to creating this kind of customer experience is in being able to listen and observe for clues and cues that the customers give which provide you with opportunities to shine.

Finally, just as important as a warm welcome is, so is a warm goodbye and an invitation to return.

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Tope Oyewole

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