Many companies and business leaders talk about the concept of WOW but few, unfortunately, actually take the time to teach their customers or their staff what it means. It really is more than just a word that sounds good and when you break it down a little you start to see how vital it really is.
One company that strives to master WOW is Zappos. They define WOW as the following…
“WOW is such a short, simple word, but it really encompasses a lot of things. To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW.
Whether internally with co-workers or externally with our customers and partners, delivering WOW results in word of mouth. Our philosophy at Zappos is to WOW with service and experience, not with anything that relates directly to monetary compensation (for example, we don’t offer blanket discounts or promotions to customers).
We seek to WOW our customers, our co-workers, our vendors, our partners, and in the long run, our investors.”
Zappos have really hit the nail on the head with this description and I especially love how they talk about creating an internal culture of WOW. For them, it’s not just about their customers, but they include vendors and co-workers. Wouldn’t you love to work at a company that teaches your team members how to create WOW experiences for each other?… (now take 30 seconds to day dream about that… yeah that’s nice…)
So, I think this company is saying that the essence of WOW is that gap between expectation and experience. Here is a simple process you can use to make sure that whatever you are creating strives to exceed expectations.
Make something you would use yourself.
Take a look at Mint.com. When you use this website you get the ense that the people making this amazing personal finance tool use it themselves and love it. Their numerous accolades speak for themselves.
Solve a problem in an unexpected way.
The first example that comes to my mind is a great book by the guys at ’37signals’ entitled Rework. These guys produced a business leadership book that deals with chapters a completely novel way. That alone made me want to read it and I’m glad I did because I gained valuable ideas that I have implemented at my own workplace.
I would say that the master of this trait is Apple. There is a reason that I’m writing this post on an expensive Macbook Pro and that I make all my calls from an iPhone. I appreciate that Apple puts the time into the finishing touches like no other tech company I have seen. It also explains why they have been setting all the trends since 2005.
So if you’re asking yourself, “how do I do this?” Try answering the following three questions :
- What does a user expect when they encounter my product?
- What does failing to meet the users expectations look like?
- What does exceeding the users expectations look like?
For a great podcast on this subject check out MichaelHyatt.com
Well I hope this post helps shed some light on the concept of WOW, making it more that just a new trendy word in the business leadership world. Now keep in mind, it’s probably not possible to make everything a WOW experience, but it should certainly be the norm within the main value offerings of any business.
Please let me know about any WOW experiences you have encountered in the comments below!