Creating WOW! Through Technology
Q: There has been a lot of talk about the WOW factor lately. It looks like many companies are now trying to wow their customers in order to get their loyalty and grow their business.
A: Yes, it looks like WOW is becoming the buzzword of the day. Ivan argues on his blog (http://whereispuck.com/2010/09/03/the-age-of-wow/) that we are now approaching “the age of wow” and that the general focus of management is going to shift one more time. Remember, we used to read in marketing textbooks that the focus of management has shifted over time from production (until the 1950s), to sales (1950s-1960s) and to satisfying customers’ needs through marketing (1970s-2000s). The new, fourth business paradigm is just emerging. The most successful businesses now go beyond the mere “satisfaction of customers’ needs.” They go the extra mile – they “wow” their customers. They make them excited and enthusiastic about their product or service.
Q: What is your definition of WOW?
A: Like humor, WOW is a psychological phenomenon, which makes it difficult to define or quantify. If frustration is defined as “a (negative) gap between reality and expectations,” we believe that “wow” is completely opposite: WOW is a positive difference between what you get and what you expect.
Q: Does WOW pay?
A: We believe so. According to Gallup research, shoppers who were emotionally connected to a supermarket spent 46% more over a one-month period than shoppers who were satisfied but lacked an emotional bond with the store. Ivan Surjanovic and Tomislav Sudarevic’s research pointed out that the “admired” companies were more profitable: the seventeen selected companies from FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired list had an ROI of 7.12%, which is significantly higher than FORTUNE 500’s average of 3.80%. The research, done by Sisodia, Wolf and Seth, even suggested that “Firms of Endearment” were not only profitable, but they also spent less on marketing!
Q: What is the best way for Business in Vancouver readers to WOW their customers?
A: Here is the secret of WOW: First, try to thoroughly understand your customers’ real expectations. Secondly, surprise and delight them by giving them more, or by being better and faster than expected.
Q: How can technology help to create WOW?
A: Thanks to technology, word of mouth is “on steroids” in today’s age (see also our column on viral marketing in April’s issue of BIV( http://www.biv.com/article/20130409/BIV0304/304099920/best-ways-for-business-to-harness-the-accelerated-word-of-mouth). Technology not only spreads the news about your great product or service faster, but it can help you create the WOW factor as well. Use whatever technology you can, be it a better CRM, or any social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, or Pinterest, to better connect with your customers, and to really engage in a dialog with them. According to AdAge.com, “one of the greatest secret weapons a chief marketer can have is a strong relationship with the chief information officer” (see the coming summit on “Marketing + Technology” on May 20th, http://events.adage.com/mtsummit/).
Some companies use technology to delight their customers through random acts of kindness: check out the YouTube video “KLM Surprise” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqHWAE8GDEk) to see how KLM uses social media to surprise their customers with gifts bags while they are waiting at the airport! For more ideas on how to delight your customers, see Ivan’s presentation on the TEDx event – find it on YouTube by typing “Creating WOW through Technology”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKcn4FVsdv8).
BizTech Q&A is our answer to the most common technology questions related to your business. Email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will respond.
Cyri Jones teaches at BCIT and Capilano University and is the founder of ZENPortfolios.ca. He blogs at www.24posts.com . Ivan Surjanovic is a marketing faculty at Capilano University and CEO of iPower Lab. He blogs at www.whereispuck.com and tweets on www.twitter.com/whereispuck.
Written by Dr. Ivan Surjanovic and Cyri Jones,
adapted from BizTech101 column in Business in Vancouver