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Where’s the WOW?

 21 January 2019     Donald Cooper 

There’s a big difference between being dependable and being predictable. Dependable means you don’t let your customers down. Predictable simply means you’re boring. You look, sound and act the same as your competitors and do nothing special to delight and amaze your customers and stand out from your competitors.

So, truthfully, what are you doing to delight and amaze your customers? What is the ‘unexpected’ in your business? Where’s the WOW? Simply put, WOW is when the customer gets more product, more service, more kindness, more of something than she expected. If she expects it, it ain’t WOW.

When our air conditioning installer called at three minutes after 9am to say that his crew was running ten minutes late and would be pulling into our driveway in about seven minutes that was totally unexpected. Most contractors show up two days late – and never call.

When we opened our order of Christmas cards and found four extra envelopes in each box, in case we made a mistake and spoiled a few, that was unexpected and appreciated.

When the chamber maid at a hotel I was staying at recently called me by name that was unexpected. As a fashion retailer some years ago, we invited customers to take as many items in the change room as they wished. We also offered unlimited free drinks, massage chairs for husbands, a pirate ship play area for kids and free diapers, wipes and cream for babies in distress – all of which was unexpected. This is what WOW looks like.

Take a few minutes to sit with your team and figure out three or four wonderful and unexpected WOW things you could do to delight and amaze your customers while clearly differentiating your store from your competitors. And then do them!

Here’s something else to think about:
Huge farm subsides. It has always fascinated me the folks who grow the food to keep us alive need to be subsidised to make a living, while the guy who came up with The Pet Rock (a small stone in a box) made millions.

Almost every country in the world subsidises agriculture in one way or another. The United States pays out $20 billion a year in farm subsidies. The European Union pays farmers $58 billion in subsidies annually and relatively tiny Japan pays farmers 18 trillion Yen a year. Many farms in Japan are just a few acres in size and make no economic sense but the farm lobby is so powerful no politician has the guts to go against them.

A simple exercise to improve your business in 2019. Here’s a simple exercise that has worked well for a number of our coaching clients. Set aside one hour with some of the best minds and hearts in your business. Make a list of just three things you don’t do well enough yet and then figure out what you’re going to do to fix that in 2019.

For each of the actions you commit to take, determine specifically what will be done, by whom, by when, at what expense, measured how and rewarded how. Give them advance notice of the meeting and what the subject will be so they can be thinking about this and come prepared.

MIFF 2020
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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