With Chandra Taylor Gold Coast Performance Centre Client Relations Officer
In this fast-paced era of instant gratification, online purchases and google reviews, how do you set yourself apart in customer service? After all, excellent customer service still boils down to how you made your customer feel throughout the process. Creating WOW moments for your customer is one way to make an impact and ensure happy customers, and ultimately repeat business.
What is a WOW moment? Put simply, it is a pre-planned positive surprise for your potential (or current) customer that impresses them so much they say “WOW!”. That moment where they realise you have gone above and beyond what they expected, they take a sharp inhale, their jaw drops, their hand goes to their mouth and a smile spreads across their face, you have made a positive impact to their experience – WOW!
As Client Relations Officer at BLK Performance Centre I am privileged to see this reaction quite regularly – the Olympic pool glistening on a clear Gold Coast day, a major event in our main stadium and the site of the gym in full swing with members training alongside famous elite athletes; all these sights produce the magic “WOW” word from my clients – and that’s without even trying. These experiences had me thinking ‘is there a way we can extend this reaction throughout their experience at BLKPC long after the initial WOW had passed?’ I decided to find a way…
This search happened to coincide with my role as Liaison Officer during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where I was fortunate to learn from the remarkable Trevor and Lilly at TravConsult who delivered the Be My Guest program, their program really hit home for me and started me on the WOW moments journey. After much trial and error I have developed a method to identify opportunities to wow clients that are relevant and above all helpful to their situation, these steps can help you create WOW moments regardless of your product or sales approach but I must say nothing beats face to face interaction with clients – we are human after all.
Step 1 – Identify your client
I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. There is no point creating a WOW moment when you don’t even know who it is for. Just think would you buy a bunch of flowers for your 14-year-old nephew’s birthday? Probably not! So, spend a little time learning about who you will WOW. This will require you to get into their mind – what do they like, where do they go, what is their gender, age, interests? You can consider 1 particular person or a market segment of your client base, you may need to research a number of different potential clients. Don’t worry this may seem daunting but this article has some great resources to get you started. I started with Teachers (they book and attend school camps at BLKPC).
Step 2 – Plan out your customer journey
A customer journey details the entire experience your customer has with your company from awareness of your brand, all the way through to purchase and experiencing your product – with a bit of WOW their journey will continue on to repeat patronage, starting the journey again. You can read more about Customer Journeys here. In our particular case the customer journey looks something like this: Brand Awareness → Research → Enquiry → Quote → Itinerary Development → Booking → Arrival → On Site Experience → Check out → Feedback → Rebooking
Step 3 – What does your customer want and when?
Now you need to bring all this information together – your customer’s characteristics and the journey they take when interacting with your company. Consider what your customer wants at each stage of their journey. Also consider how this can feed into your objectives. A few simple to implement ideas that have been raised by our team are:
- A free coffee card handed to Teachers upon arrival – imagine arriving after a 4 hour bus trip with a group of 150 kids to be given an espresso on arrival, the WOW and thank you from the exhausted Teachers is well worth the $3.50!
- A group photo taken while the group is on site and sent to the Teacher 2 weeks after departure. This free gift will bring all the good memories back to mind and opens the conversation about re-booking for next year.
- Plus one that is a little more complex but illustrates how to solve a client’s problem: Let’s say a Teacher is enquiring about a school camp, they have expressed that their past camps have been a little boring and the students are not very excited about going on camp, so the teacher wants to try something new. A WOW moment may be that you work with the teacher to come up with a way to involve the students in the planning of the itinerary. Identify a list of activities that address teaching objectives of the camp, then create a simple word document with the relevant activity options and tick boxes, you can send this to the teacher who will ask the students to complete and return the form in class. This will give the students a sense of ownership, create a buzz amongst the kids, who will start talking about the camp and bingo! We have excitement. The itinerary is then based on the kid’s responses and the teacher will definitely say WOW!
Step 4 – Wing it
The best WOW moments happen on the fly. I encourage you to involve your staff when developing WOW moments. This experience will help your staff to understand the concept and learn your parameters e.g. budget constraints. With a little training and awareness your staff will be so well versed in WOW moments that they will be able to identify opportunities to WOW your clients and they will have the confidence to do it on the fly. This is vital, WOW moments make the biggest impact when they are in response to a problem the client is having.
An example of how we wing it – a group staying on site said they had a sick child in the group and asked our staff to phone a doctor. We phoned the doctor, organized cleaners and delivered a few bottles of Gatorade to their room. This showed we understood their needs and cared about their situation, anticipating their needs and the needs of the child.
Your company will be different, different clients, different journey, but WOW moments can be applied to any customer-based business. A little research and planning are all it takes to elevate your customers’ journey from standard to special. Your clients will be so impressed with their experience they will become repeat customers and ultimately shout your praises from the roof tops becoming your best marketing tool. Go on give it a go I guarantee the results will WOW you (that was the last WOW I promise)!