What is wow?
Maybe the easiest way to describe it is: Who wowed you?
If you can recall that story — and recall how many times you retold it — you’re on your way to understanding the process of wow.
Here are the elements that can set the stage for wow in your business:
• Everyone is friendly. It seems too simple to just say, “Everyone needs to be friendly.”
What it really means is there is good enough morale inside the company to make friendly possible. If attitudes are down, friendly is impossible. If customers are angry, attitude is challenged. If you are not training attitude proactively, then attitude will be sporadic and friendly will follow suit. If you teach your people to be defensive and allow them to hang up on an angry customer, rather than learn from an angry customer, your reputation will suffer.
For the past decade I have proclaimed, “It costs no extra money to be friendly.” It’s still true.
• Everyone is helpful. Here’s the help strategy that will work 100 percent of the time: “Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t do.”
Every time you tell a customer what you can’t do, it drives them closer to the competition. Eventually they will jump. It’s important to understand that just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean they no longer need it.
When I’m in a hotel and I call room service at 10:30 in the evening — because I’m working on my next day’s project and I’m a little hungry — and they say room service closes at 10, I respond with, “Oh, I guess that means I’m not hungry anymore.”
It’s no different with your customers. Get them what they want, when they want it. That’s help.
• Everyone is available. My company has no voicemail — on purpose.
If someone is on a call, someone else helps the customer. No one in my company or in your company is too busy to help a customer, including you.
No one in my company is either on their phone or away from their desk, and no one in your company should be either. Having a voicemail message that says “Your call is important to me” is an oxymoron. If it’s so damn important, pick up the phone.
• Ease of doing business. Twenty-four/7/365 is the new nine-to-five. The easier it is to do business with you, the more of your customer’s available dollars you will gain. Please don’t take my word for it, just ask Barnes & Noble about Amazon. Amazon has taken over the book world — and the product world — because they made it easy to do business: Click. Buy.
• Delivery beyond expectation. Whatever you promise for delivery, you must exceed the promise.
Fast delivery is no longer an option. It’s an expectation. Everyone knows Zappos. What everyone doesn’t understand is that Zappos overnights your first order to gain your attention, your respect and to begin earning your loyalty. Macy’s does not.
• Call ahead to warn of backorder. It never ceases to amaze me that companies still backorder without prior notification.
You know you are out of it, and you know the customer needs it. Go buy it from a competitor and ship it. Backorders with no proactive communication make your customers angry, angry enough to leave you and shop someplace else, like Amazon, where they tell you in advance whether it is in stock or not and email you the status of your order.
• Getting customers leads and referrals. This may come as a shocker, but customers don’t want to buy your stuff. They want to sell their stuff. Giving them business will help you earn theirs.
It sounds simple, but it is not easy. It requires knowing them better and knowing their marketplace better. But once you do it, they will never stop talking about it. Ever.
• Value messages to help them. Big question: What are you tweeting? Bigger question: Are you tweeting? Biggest question: Why the hell are you not tweeting?
One value message per day — something that will help, improve or inspire your customers — will breed loyalty, not just wow. Sign up now and ask your best customers to follow you.
• All things proactive. I never have to worry about servicing my car. Hendrick Lexus calls me when it’s time.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.