Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

WOW Is in the Details

wow-me-with-little-things-and-detailsLast week I wrote about the Un-WOW. After a number of comments from our readers, I want to discuss how, when and where you can WOW your customers. I’ve always been concerned with a company that tells me that they want to consistently WOW their customers. Like perfection is not reality, the concept of consistently WOWing customers is a lofty, if not impossible goal to achieve. Let me quickly recap my position on WOW.

Once in a while WOW is achievable. WOW levels of customer service and experience are opportunities that typically fall in our lap in the form of complaints or problems we can resolve – or isolated opportunities to just do something special. So, I typically shy away from using the word WOW. However, the concept of amazement, well that is something else.

Amazement is the consistent and predictable above average experience that a customer receives from a company or employee. And sometimes it’s just a little above average. The key is consistency. Without that, there is no predictability, and that leads to a lack of confidence.

However, there is a place for WOW in the day to day focus on delivering great customer service. Yet, it’s not about above-and-beyond or over-the-top experiences. It’s about the details.

Recently I was hired by a client to speak to their company about customer service. This was an after-dinner talk. It just so happens that the company’s corporate colors were blue and orange. As we were setting up for the presentation, the banquet manager from the hotel asked my client if we would like the overhead lighting to have blue and orange accents. With a resounding yes from my client, the banquet manager asked the A/V people to change the color of the lights, which were controlled by a computer program. Within moments every other row of lights had blue and orange accents.

As the company employees came into the banquet room and sat down, I listened for any response to the colored lights. I didn’t hear any comments, but that doesn’t mean that the effort was wasted. It was just accent lighting. Just a detail. Yet sometimes the WOW is in the details, and that does make a difference.

Just after the speech I had a chance to chat to some of the leadership and several employees. I emphasized the difference between WOW and amazement. I then talked about how details matter. I asked them to look up and notice the lights. I heard a few audible gasps and a few people used the word, “WOW.” None of them noticed the colored lights until I pointed them out. But, once they did… WOW!

So, what details can you enhance to a level where your customers say, “WOW!? Let the story about the accent lighting serve as a metaphor of what’s possible when you mix small, but powerful details with an amazing customer service experience.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)

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  1. Great point Shep, creating a “wow” style experience on a daily basis is impossible. If it was created so often people would get use to it and it would loose its value. Totally agree on the attention to small details as these can make a huge difference. The same way we are surprised when a member of staff remembers our name at a restaurant or hotel.

    great work!

    • Thanks Ravi – Glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, if WOW was created so often, people would get used to it and it would lose its value. Which may be a good way to raise the bar!

  2. hi everybody, i am from colombia and i am working in a customer experience strategy area from a bank, what kind of details do you know, to achieve the diference to the clients…..from your experience….

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