Brand Success – Why You Need A Director of Wow
Almost everyone has a horror story about how they were mistreated in a store, kept on hold for an hour or treated like cattle at the airport. In these days of low grade customer experiences, even the smallest “wow” can make your business grow like gangbusters. When you treat customers properly they go from being aware of your product to preferring you over your competition. This article explains how you can eliminate those un-wow moments that drag a brand down and motivate customers to advocate for your products or services with simple but real gestures of appreciation.
Most people have more than a few horror stories about how they were mistreated by an airline or store, caught in the maze of automated customer service or told “we can’t do that, it’s against company policy.” It seems insane but almost every retailer and company does it: tries to tell the customer why he or she is wrong. The potential buyer has just decided not to give money to a salesperson because that salesperson is not treating them well and, instead of learning from that and changing, the salesperson tells the buyer why things are done the way they are. It’s just like saying “don’t buy our products anymore. “ That’s called an un-wow and every un-wow moves a company further down the ladder of success.
If it happens even just a few times, customers become ex-customers and frequent buyers turn into “only when I absolutely have to” customers. Plus, they tell everyone they know about the horrible experience. If they have a blog, they tell a million people. If they happen to be on television or write an article for a newspaper, they tell ten million people. That’s what happens every time you un-wow somebody.
On the other hand, every time you wow a customer you’re on the way to creating a brand advocate. A lot of the time it takes just some common sense or an “I understand” to wow a customer. Think about the airline passenger trying to change a ticket, boarding at a stop over location with an original ticket or getting re-routed because of a storm. Can you imagine the impression he would get if, just once, an airline employee said “I understand how frustrating this is for you. You’re right.” Instead, passengers just get the run around and bad mouth airlines every chance they get.
Wows can’t be just silly wows. You can’t just do something weird and someone says, “Wow. Why’d you do that?” It has to be a wow that’s related to your business. Free shipping is a wow that many online companies use, especially at holidays. A free month of cable to say we’re sorry there was a problem is certainly a wow. Even just saying “we’re sorry” can be a wow, but only if the problem is fixed easily and immediately.
People tell their friends about wows, bloggers rave about wows and each wow moves a customer up the preference ladder until he or she is advocating for the product or service. The wow factor is so critical to success that companies should hire a director of wow, someone whose job is to be completely committed to great customer service, added value, common sense and even a touch of whimsy if appropriate. Importantly, the director of wow is empowered to eliminate the un-wows. In even the best of companies, a director of wow might immediately identify 50 or more little ways in which customers have been mistreated. Think of it. Fifty times someone didn’t have to ask to talk to a supervisor, fifty almost ex-customers retained and fifty people actively promoting a product everywhere they go.
Although customers aren’t always right, they should be treated as though they are. Customer-friendly businesses make money and build loyalty. Every un-wow brings a brand down and every wow elevates it to superstar status.