'Wow' them!

When you have got the basics right and created an organisation that people like and enjoy doing business with, then you can aim to delight or 'Wow' your customers.

The secret to delighting your customers is to look for problems they would love you to solve, but cannot reasonably expect that you would, and then when you do, you will knock their socks off.

For example, I once got into a taxi at the Toronto airport in Canada. It was the first taxi off the rank, not a special order. I found myself in a Ford LTD, which is a large luxury car, with a driver wearing a jacket and tie. As we left the airport and got on the highway, he told me that if I wanted to catch up on the news, there were three daily newspapers in the seat pocket in front of me. Then he asked me what kind of music I liked.

“Why do you ask?” I answered.

“Because I'll put it on the radio for you,” he said. “Would you like classical music, jazz, pop, rock, country and western, blues, talk-back radio, or shall I leave it off?”

I said jazz would be good. “Would you like something to drink,” he asked a few minutes later. “A cup of tea or coffee?”

I said coffee would be nice, thank you. “Do you prefer regular or decaffeinated coffee?”

“Regular, please.”

“Would you like milk or cream?”

“Milk, please.”


“No thank you.”

I did have to pour my own cup of coffee. He has not yet figured out how to drive at 150 kph down a 16 lane highway and pour the coffee but it was no trouble for me to fill the Styrofoam cup from the pump thermos and pour in a little container of milk.

Now, that is what I call delighting the customer. You do not climb into a taxi and say: “I'd like the daily paper, jazz on the radio and a cup of coffeewith milk, please.” But when you get it, you think, 'Wow! That was magic!'

How do you find these problems? Ask your customers. They will tell you everything you need to know to succeed.Ask them what they are trying to do and which problems are hampering them from doing that. Make sure you do not talk about your products and services. Talk about their business. You could also invite your customers to talk to your staff about these things so your staff can hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Your staff might be able to think of things you could do to help your customers that you have missed. For the same reason, send your staff out to visit your customers in their workplace so they can see first hand what difficulties your customers encounter trying to satisfy their customers. Or even go one step further and talk to your customers' customers. Try to learn what opportunities your customers have to add value to their customers that they are not seeing and help them to develop those opportunities.

If you delight your customers on a regular basis, they will certainly find doing business with you a pleasure. But a word of caution, do not try to delight your customers until you can get the basics right. You will only end up making them angry.