Back in 2012, I wrote about the concept of 5-Second WOWs — small, simple actions that allow organizations to create memorable moments for customers without a lot of investment or time.
My wife and I recently experienced one of these WOW moments while traveling, and the experience perfectly demonstrated how easily you can WOW customers by simply listening and caring.
Back in January, we took a quick weekend trip to Costa D’Este Beach Resort and Spa in Vero Beach, Florida.
One of the features that attracts us to Costa D’Este is that it is a dog-friendly hotel. Since Vero Beach is driving distance for us, Costa is the perfect place to go for a quick weekend getaway with our Chief Happiness Officer, Dalton.
Now, when I say Costa is dog friendly; I should more aptly say dog-awesome!
They love dogs (well, at least our dog), and every staff member we have encountered on our numerous stays has gone out of their way to remember his name.
We never met a staff member that was standoffish or who gave us the “oh great, they have a dog” look.
Dalton is 65 pounds and eager to meet new people (as was our previous Golden Retriever). While we don’t travel with dogs often, we’ve done so enough times to know that not every employee at a “dog-friendly” hotel is a friend of dogs.
At Costa D’Este, everyone was.
We’ve always had great service at Costa, but on this occasion, the team at Costa went above and beyond to make an impression.
In fact, the Costa team began customizing our customer experience when we were booking the reservation. Once they learned that we were bringing a dog, they offered us a ground floor suite with walking access to make it convenient to take the dog out.
Dalton’s a champion elevator rider, so we took an upper floor for the view, but the staff’s attention to detail made an impression.
When we arrived on Thursday evening, we were greeted by the excellent valet staff. The valet took my wife to check in with our baggage, while I went to walk Dalton.
As my wife was checking in, the desk staff noticed the notes on the reservation and asked how old Dalton was. My wife replied, “He’ll be three on Saturday.”
It was just a passing comment, nothing more.
On Saturday morning, my wife graciously volunteered to take Dalton downstairs for his first walk of the day.
Imagine her surprise when they returned to the hotel from his walk and were handed a homemade birthday present by the staff at Costa!
My wife and I were truly touched by the gesture and thoughtfulness, not to mention appreciative of the execution on a professional level.
The gift was a perfect example of a quick WOW that cost little in hard dollars but was the result of listening and caring.
Notice the pictures of the deconstructed cup below. Very creative!
The hard costs of this gift were a handful of dog biscuits, some peanut butter, and a few paper products, but what the gift really took was ingenuity, time, and thoughtfulness.
More than that, the whole team was involved on some level. In addition to the 12 signatures on the birthday card, on numerous occasions that day we ran into staff members who asked, “Hey, is that the birthday boy?” or simply wished him a happy birthday.
To say that this made an impression would be an understatement.
WOWing customers doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Simple, thoughtful gestures that make a customer feel special are all you need.
Here are few takeaways from this story that show how you can execute WOW moments for customers.
Whether you call it delight, amazement, or being the customer’s hero, making an impression on a customer often starts with listening and ends with caring. Use the ideas above to prepare your organization to deliver WOW moments.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.