How many brands, can you name, consistently wow you? Let me rephrase that. How many brands wow you? Because if it’s not on a consistent basis it doesn’t really count.
We all want to feel wowed as a customer (client, member, donor, partner). We want special access and exclusive offers. We want to be privy to information others don’t have. We want companies to value us as more than the money that fills their bank accounts. In short, we want to feel like an appreciated human being.
Wowing your customers isn’t only good because it makes them feel cherished and respected. It’s the best thing you can do for your business. Happy customers are five times more likely to recommend you and over 50% more likely to buy again.
The repeat and referral business engine in action.
Recently, I lost mileage status on Alaska Airlines because I didn’t fly enough last year. I fly quite a bit and have already reached the threshold for status if you were to add up last year’s miles and what I’ve flown in the first month and a half of this year. But, that’s not how their program is set up. It’s by the calendar year. Period. No more status.
You could count this as a #firstworldproblem, for sure, but I’d gotten used to being surprisingly upgraded when there was an open seat in first class. Being called by name and thanked personally for my business. To be given special (delicious!) chocolates and all the other little perks that add up to something delightful when so much of flying has become dull and depressing. Back to being a seat number and not a highly respected customer.
My diss by Alaska got me thinking about all things brand and marketing and elevated human experiences, i.e. my work. I teach my students that brand is how others perceive your business. You can influence what they think but in the end, it’s their perception that wins. Creating the right design and saying the right things to inspire your target audience are a good start but it’s in doing the right things you find the opportunity to wow.
What can you do to wow your customers and build everlasting loyalty?
The list is endless and open to your creativity and specifics of your industry but, here are some general guidelines to get the ball rolling:
- Listen and take action: Don’t just ask for feedback and do nothing. Acknowledge and thank your customer, and move feedback through a consideration process for action. It doesn’t mean you have to change your business every time someone asks. It means you take feedback seriously and understand your business will thrive if you listen and respond to what real customers have to say.
- Make it personal: Address your customers by name or in a friendly way and do what you can to personalize the experience for them. It could be by sending a handwritten note after a service or simply using their first name in mass emails. The more you see your customers as the real humans they are, rather than as revenue or a faceless email address, the more you can relate to them personally and help them feel valued.
- Surprise and delight: Doing unexpected things for your customers can be a total win. Years ago my husband bought a beautiful pair of blue leather-soled shoes from Zappos but after wearing them for a day walking the streets of Boston, he realized they pinched his toes. The soles were all scuffed up but he was able to return them and the only questions asked were about how they could do better. Crazy! He was already so happy to be able to return the shoes but when they went above and beyond and made him a VIP they won a customer for life. Well, two.
- Educate and offer solutions: Beyond customer support and help desk assistance lies the vast expertise and experience your company can offer. Your customers will be wowed when you share content beyond product usage, deliver information that helps them be a better whatever they are, and give suggestions beyond what your company offers if that’s what they need. Reach and teach, and freely share valuable and useful content.
- Be consistent: Back to Alaska Airlines. The precipitous drop in my airline status created a palpable inconsistency in my customer experience. Had I taken just one more of my normal flights last year or they counted the first month and a half of this year, I’d still be Ms. Saint Laurent singing their praises from an occasional first-class perch. How about a tiered step down that still offered some perks or offering an incentive to earn status back by encouraging a certain amount of miles within a short period of time? That sounds like a win-win. Instead, without warning (because who keeps track of their miles?), my privileges were revoked. Which actually felt worse than ever having them in the first place.
Before you start coming up with ideas to wow, make customer experience part of your core values and brand promise. Get all your employees in on it which means you’ll have to wow them too. Bring the wow into your own organization and let it permeate everything you do.
The way to wow isn’t one thing but a shift in the way you do all things.
Wowing your customers is good for them and great for you. As a business practice, you’re building brand loyalty, customer advocacy, and stoking repeat and referral business which is much more cost-effective than earning a first time customer.
You’re making people feel good and being rewarded for it. You’re providing value and trading it for their love and attention. You’re caring for them throughout their entire customer life cycle and earning trust and loyalty. You’re providing human-centered outreach, devotion, and communication. Something we all deserve.
What ways have you found to wow your customers? Drop your gems here!