As a business leader, you no doubt spend lots of time focused on perfecting your products and services.
You yourself want to believe and then be able to convince your customers that yours is the best of all other similar offerings. Certainly, providing a superior product that exceeds their expectations is one way to “wow” your customers.
Another way is by delivering superior service that is above and beyond what they would expect.
Here is one example of a company that provided unexpectedly “over the top” service…and the problem was not even caused by them. According to the LA Times, “As far as customer service stunts go, this one was pretty epic: A helicopter sent to a remote Alaska town bearing a Taco Bell truck, itself bearing ingredients for 10,000 Doritos Locos tacos.” Bethel, Alaska is a small town of under 7,000. It is so remote that, should a family get a hankering for a fast food meal, they would have to drive 400 miles to satisfy their yearning. Here is the story—a local prankster convinced the townspeople, at least temporarily, that Taco Bell was opening a franchise there. At first the town was elated and then, when they realized the story was a hoax, they were supremely disappointed. When the leadership at Taco Bell heard the sad tale, they set about figuring out a way to “wow” all these frustrated customers. The solution? Airlift a taco truck to the town by helicopter with enough supplies to make over 10,000 tacos. The tacos were served free to an ecstatic crowd!
Granted…this is pretty extreme and costly. But think of the benefits to Taco Bell. They delighted 7,000 people, the resulting publicity (it hit all the media and got broad coverage) was free, and their brand was significantly enhanced by their image of paying attention to the “small guys” and having a heart. The LA Times reported that “The effort, which Taco Bell dubbed ‘Operation Alaska,’ was hugely popular – both in Bethel and on social media, garnering thousands of Facebook likes. On Twitter, the company posted a series of photos as its helicopter skimmed snow-capped peaks en route to the town. One woman told servers it was the first time she had eaten Taco Bell in more than two decades.”
What is needed internally to be able to respond to customers in a way that will “wow” them?
- Get to know your customers…personally. Remember their names and anything that will launch a conversation that shows you pay attention to their needs and that you care. Make them feel like part of the family.
- Be creative in your solution to their request. Customers expect that you will do the basics; go the extra step…the one they did not ask for. Exceed their expectations.
- Ensure that all employees understand your mission to serve customers well, that they have the authority to follow through with great service and that they will be supported by management. Make it a priority. Reward and measure accordingly.
You may not have the means to hire a helicopter to satisfy your customers, but you surely can “wow” them with your time, attention, kindness and the extra step or two.