How many ways are there to turn an ordinary customer service interaction into something extraordinary?
I'm talking about the kind of transfiguration in which the customer experience transforms from being merely transactional into being so meaningful that it will inspire a customer to come back for more, as well as to spread the word about your business to others.
There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of different approaches and nuances that can help you to turn this all-important corner with a customer.
Yet in the heat of the moment, you can find yourself straining to come up with a single one.
What to do? Instead of leaving it to the happenstance of the moment, how about preparing for these service moments by building a "wow guide" for your business, filled with everything that has worked in the past and everything that can provide philosophical or practical guideposts for the future? Here, if you like, you could consider taking a page (literally, perhaps), from the leadership of Volkswagen in Australia, where the team of customer experience professionals challenged themselves to proactively come up with a list of solutions and inspirations that could serve in the heat of the moment.
The result is a truly nifty little book (for internal use only, at present) called "100 Ways to WOW." (Although, as their director of customer experience, Jason S. Bradshaw, explained to me, the numeric portion of the title is subtly misleading: "100 Ways to WOW actually has 101 ways to "wow" in it- because we always want our Team to go that 1% extra.")
Here are 10 pointers in the book (each of which is typeset on its own page, in a memorable, wow-inspiring way) that I find particularly salient. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy the other 91.
1. Put yourself in the customer's shoes: "How would you feel in their situation?"
2. You're a coach. You're not a sprinter. Don't leave your customers behind.
3. Learn something unexpected about your customer. Be curious.
4. Disconnect and reconnect. Disconnect from distractions to connect with your customers.
5. Don't assume. Check you're both on the same page. Check again.
6. No Jargon. Jargon puts distance between meaning and understanding.
7. Know who I am. Take the time to know your customer and their needs.
8. Yes brings possibilities. "No" builds walls.
9. Follow up. Interactions happen. Relationships must be cultivated.
10. Advocates are earned. But they give for a lifetime.
The point, as Bradshaw explains, of compiling so many tips is to have the inspiration close at hand when the need arises: "We developed the 100 Ways book to help everyone in our offices and within our dealerships stay focused on what it takes to deliver a consistently premium experience for our customers."
Would your company benefit from doing the same?
[Author's disclosure: it was in the course of a professional engagement that I discovered this book of Wow, although I was not involved in its creation.]