Sometimes WOW Only Takes 5 Seconds

September 6, 2012

My wife and I were at a local mall this past Sunday and stopped in a Johnny Rockets restaurant for lunch. If you are not familiar with Johnny Rockets, it’s a Fifties diner themed restaurant (my description, not the company’s), with a burger, fries and milkshake menu that completes the throwback ambience. The waitstaff is dressed in old school 1950’s diner attire, as seen below.

Since Johnny Rockets is not a restaurant we frequent, I must admit that I did not have particularly lofty expectations about the level of service we were going to get from a teenaged waiter at a burger joint in the mall food court.

Sometimes WOW Only Takes 5 Seconds | Ketchup Smiley

I suppose the joke was on me, because our waiter was friendly, had a good sense of humor, and was gracious in helping two (usually) health conscious people navigate the burger-laden menu. In addition, we observed a number of other waiters and waitresses, all seemingly delivering similar levels of service.

However, the part of the meal that stood out was when the waiter delivered our basket of french fries. After placing the fries between us, he put two individual condiment bowls in front of each of us, grabbed the ketchup dispenser off the table, and added some ketchup, just as you see below…

It was a simple gesture, two little smiles that put even bigger smiles on both of our faces.

Did the fries taste better? Of course not. But it was a brief WOW that only took five seconds and cost nothing.

It’s great to dazzle customers, and it’s great to make grand gestures that will never be forgotten. But never forget that there are 5 second WOWs hiding all around you if you only take the time to look for them.

What 5 Second WOWs can you find in your business?

19 thoughts on “Sometimes WOW Only Takes 5 Seconds”

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  2. And I JUST wrote on Google+ about how – in the exact same way! – it can only take a few seconds, 4 words to lose a customer. When will brands get that?! When will they invest in the front line, realize how close that is to the BOTTOM line? And that PR’s like me can help w/ that. 😉 FWIW.

    1. Great point Davina — the sword cuts both ways. A front line team member can make a really bad impression in five seconds too. A sigh, a look, a gesture… can all change the tone of an encounter quickly. Keeps you PR folks employed, eh? 🙂

  3. Adam, great story. We all can use with a little simple customer service approaches like that.

    I manage a national account for a retail roll out for a major bank in Canada and my days consist of managing a team and the customer’s project management team. I have only been doing this for 5 years now and have learned what a good CS approach can do mostly by trial and error.

    I bet if you add all those 5 second wows up you get a helluva grand gesture, huh? One of consistent WOW! What could be better than that?

    Pretty sure I have been by here before and it seems like a lot of my friends pop by here regularly. Thanks for the great story. It’s awesome when we can relate real life to our work.

    1. Hi Ralph, I’ve seen you around the old neighborhood too… thanks for stopping by!

      You make a great point about adding up the little WOWs to add up to one grand consistent WOW. I think consistency of execution is the greatest WOW of all — without it, the little moments and the grand moments simply don’t have the same impact.

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  5. Hi, Adam!
    Just discovered your website, and I’m having a great time reading the stories and thinking of all the happy outcomes you are reporting. Here’s a quick WOW: When we owned our consumer product design business in Littleton,CO, I gave out a Crunch Award to employees who really delivered when we needed extra effort to get an order together or solve a problem with an imminent deadline. The Crunch Award consisted of a certificate I made up on my computer with the employee’s name and a Crunch candy bar. I gathered the office staff together for a 1-minute meeting to acknowledge the award and celebrate the recipient(s). I know it meant something because the employees posted their awards on their walls. It helps to deliver a WOW in the now!

    1. Hi Mary Lou,

      That’s a great story and really shows how we can use quick WOWs to make an impact on our internal customers, as well as our external customers.

      Glad you’re enjoying Customers That Stick! We look forward to having you as part of our community.

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