5 Ways to Create a "Wow" Experience Your Customers Will Love
Disclaimer: This post is not my great ideas, but rather a summary from one of my favorite books Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, by publishing CEO-turned-entrepreneur Michael Hyatt.
You've often heard it said, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." If you're championing a cause, product or service, that Who is your target audience.....your customers. They are the ultimate measure of your success. But what if you're marketing like gangbusters but not seeing customers turn into loyal, raving fans? Could it be that you're not delivering a "Wow" experience?
In his Platform book, Michael Hyatt outlines how to build a significant and enduring virtual "stage" that's critical in connecting with your Who. But that's useless, even damaging, if you don't start with a compelling product that creates a "Wow" experience with your customers. As advertising godfather David Ogilvy once said,
Failure is slower, I'm sure, if your product is only mediocre. But that's no better of an outcome. The goal is crazy success, people! Not just getting by! Let me give you an example of what I mean from a recent "Wow" experience my wife and I had while out to dinner.
We had heard great things about an Italian restaurant called Spaggi's and finally had the chance to go on a recent date night. We were prepared for a regular restaurant experience, but were both totally blown away! The food wasn't just good, everything from the bread to dessert was over-the-top delicious! Don't even get me started on their kalamata olive tapenade. The service was extremely attentive as well, but there were a whole host of details that contributed to the overall "Wow" experience. From large oil paintings of Italian countryside throughout the restaurant to the mouthwash presented in an olive oil flask in the restroom, it was obvious the owners paid attention to every detail.
The Anatomy of a "Wow" Experience
So what's involved? In every "Wow" experience you will always find some combination of the following:
- Surprise: exceeds your expectations and creates delight, amazement, wonder or awe
- Anticipation: part of the overall enjoyment of the experience (think vacation...after the planning but before the trip)
- Resonance: touches your heart
- Transcendence: connects you to something bigger than yourself by which you experience purpose, meaning, or even God (e.g. In the Platform book, Michael Hyatt recounts the awe of seeing The Sound of Raasay on a family trip to Scotland)
- Clarity: enables you to see things w/ a new perspective
- Presence: fully engages you in what's happening now; seems to make time slow down
- Universality: almost everyone will experience it in the same way (e.g. Yosemite, Disneyland, etc.)
- Evangelism: compels you to recommend it to others (I don't review on Yelp a lot, but I immediately posted a raving review of Spaggi's w/ photos later that night)
- Longevity: never gets old for you
- Privilege: makes you proud to be associated with the message, product or service (think tatoos for Harley-Davidson riders)
The How of "Wow"
How do you make sure your message, product or service creates a "Wow" experience?
Exceed your customers' expectations!
Notice I didn't say meet your customers' expectations....strive to exceed them. But before you can create a "Wow" experience you need to learn to recognize when they're present (and absent) in your own life. Most of us have experienced both kinds of moments. We just haven't taken the time to think deeply about them. Once you learn how to recognize "Wow", the next step is to insist that you ask yourself to deliver it. How do you achieve this? Answer these 5 questions:
- What is the product or experience I want to transform into a "Wow"?
- What's the specific outcome I want to create? In other words, how will the customer will feel as a result of the experience?
- What specific expectations do customers usually bring to the experience?
- What does failing to meet the customers' expectations look like?
- What does exceeding the customers' expectations look like?
In case you're wondering, you don't have to make every experience in life a "Wow". If everything is a "Wow", pretty soon nothing will be! Instead you should identify those experiences you want to turn into a "Wow" and then use the above process to create that outcome.
Beware of Obstacles
There are at least 5 obstacles to creating a "Wow" experience. Here they are, in no particular order:
- You run out of time. With deadlines pressing in, you scramble to get the project wrapped up before being crushed by the looming deadlines of the next project. You run out of time to give it your best effort and allow "half-baked" to be good enough.
- Not enough resources. You really want to do a better job, honestly, but you just don't have the money or staffing. You rationalize by saying, "I did the best I could with the resources I had." But once again you let it go and turn your attention to the next project in the queue.
- You don't feel experienced enough. For knowledge workers like me I feel this is particularly hard to admit. We know the product or service we want to deliver but don't have the knowledge, skills or experience to get there. Our vision exceeds our know-how, so we settle for something less than our vision demands.
- Too often, you acquiesce to the committee. "No one else has a problem with this [idea/strategy], why should I rock the boat?" you say to yourself. "Wow" vision will always feel like a reach, so uncertainty should be expected. Don't let it dial back your vision of what could be.
- The biggest obstacle of all...FEAR. This probably belongs at the top because I believe it's the primary obstacle to "Wow". If you and me had the courage we would find the time, resources or experience to make it happen. We would stand up to the committee. We wouldn't settle for less than "Wow"!
What are we really afraid of? Perhaps losing our client, our influence, or even our job? Nobody wants to appear unreasonable or demanding. We want to be liked! But creating "Wow" experiences is a personal, psychological bridge we each need to cross. And there's no other way to cross that ravine.