We all want to “wow” our customers. The “wow” is what transforms “ordinary customers” into “extraordinary customers”—who are loyal to your organization and become ambassadors for it. And, face it: Satisfactory customer service will not elevate or enhance your customer relationships.
Satisfactory customer service will not prompt your customers to sing your praises. Satisfactory customer service will not get your organization to the top.
Creating a “Wow Experience”
Exceptional, over-the-top, customer service is a must. But just how do you create an experience that is always remembered and never forgotten?
Let me share his thought-provoking questions and the practical answers we apply at Centennial. Our efforts might just be the efforts you need to replicate within your organization.
5 Questions to consider for creating a “Wow Experience” (and our practical application):
What is the product or service you want to transform from “OK” to “amazing”?
At Centennial, the service we want to transform is our client experience. And, our client experience is more complex than it might seem. Why? Because we are talent strategists, which includes executive search, but can involve more. The “more” is what we hope transforms “OK” to “amazing” for our clients.
We decided as a team:
- To be a true team by working collaboratively on searches rather than competitively;
- To be transparent in communication at all times;
- To offer unique leadership development opportunities and events for our clients;
- To provide weekly leadership blog posts to our online community;
- To show appreciation to our clients in multiple ways, throughout the year;
- To be servant leaders who others emulate.
We commit to these principles. We work together. We help one another. We encourage one another. And, we like one another! What has resulted is a culture that spills over into our client service, elevating the “Centennial experience.”
How does the client or prospect feel as a result of our experience?
It is hard to quantify or measure a feeling, but we felt it was important to try. We follow up our services with a survey. This is a safe way for people to give their feedback in various categories. We analyze the survey results and make changes where we score low.
Over the past 4 years we’ve raised our satisfaction score to a 4.8 out of 5. This is only possible by taking a good look at where we’ve failed to meet expectations. This can be painful, but is necessary.
What specific expectations does the customer typically bring to this experience?
Asking questions –and asking more questions—and asking more questions is how we ensure that we understand our clients’ expectations. Then, we standardized how we shared those expectations with the entire Centennial team to ensure clarity.
But remember: The goal is not to meet expectations. It’s to exceed expectations.
And, a “statement of the obvious” that bears repeating: Experiences start the minute someone answers a phone call, an email or walks in your door. At Centennial, we go out of our way to provide a warm, personal welcome from the moment we are speaking with you—whether it is in person, online or on the phone. We even dedicated a team member to “first impressions.”
What does failing to meet customer expectations for this experience look like? Find out where we miss the mark and fix it.
Not only do customer service surveys help in evaluating how we measure up, we have developed key metrics that keep us accountable. For Centennial, this includes examining our average “days to fill” positions. We also monitor how many days into a search we meet the successful candidate—and so much more! We review these metrics every Monday as a team—and rededicate ourselves every Monday—to exceeding expectations.
What does meeting customers’ expectations for this experience look like?
If we meet customer expectations, or better yet, if we exceed their expectations, we found that they either a.) Use us again b.) Refer us to a partner organization or c.) Both. In fact, the majority of our business is repeat business. Evaluating the source of our business helps us evaluate the answer to this important question.
One other important note: Besides delivering exceptional service, Centennial provides the ‘wow’ by developing relationships built on trust. Trust has been our biggest competitive advantage between Centennial and other services. Executives have come to know us as a confidante, advisor and trusted friend. We’ve been in their shoes and we know how to help. No matter what type of organization you are, your customers expect trust.
Make every experience a “wow experience”
As we seek the competitive edge for our organization, we need to be looking for how to add ‘the wow’ into every aspect of our interaction with others. Recognize that it takes a lot of effort and it needs to start internally.
Disappointment happens when your expectations aren’t met. If you don’t deliver a wow experience, someone else will. Use the questions above to infuse your organization with WOW—and be remembered (praised, too!) by your customers.
Has your organization committed to “Wow?”