How to Create a WOW Customer Experience

by Javier Munoz

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How do you define a WOW customer experience?

When a customer experiences WOW, you are giving them a pleasant surprise. You are exceeding their expectations. You are addressing their needs thoughtfully and in unexpected ways. It is an expression of your authentic interest in the person who seeks your services, not just in the transaction. It is about making enduring personal emotional connections with empathy, generosity, and gratitude. It is about awareness of common human concerns that make a difference to each customer. It is about truth, it is about meaning, it is about details that cannot be measured by KPIs.

In today’s ultra-competitive markets, enduring businesses call for enduring customer relationships. How can you deliver products and services with a WOW Customer Experience built into them? You must make the WOW Customer Experience part of the product/service design, and that requires a continuous culture and happiness decision-making context, not only once for purposes of definition, but as a foundation for day to day operations.

Why do you need Culture and Happiness as a context for decision-making?

WOW Customer Experiences are about meaningful details, they are unique, and not part of a mechanical scripted process. They are unique gestures, not born out of rules or “best practices,” but as an expression of your company’s culture, its shared values, and ideals. These values and ideals inform the employee’s decisions that create exceptional outcomes.

How can you embed these culture factors into your products and services?

When delivering a WOW Customer Experience, the number one challenge is for the whole organization to remain aware of its value, to live it day in day out, and to take proactive action in caring for it. The whole team must remain focused on this effort, otherwise it can be derailed by either the urgency or the litany of repetitive tasks.

Often times, a discussion on Customer Experience happens only for the purpose of definition. However, the only way to deliver true WOW continuously is through constant evolution, adapting quickly to changing needs, fine tuning what’s most useful to your customers. This requires conversations on a wide range of decisions where culture should be a key criteria.

Given this challenge, we are keen on the idea of creating simple tools to facilitate these conversations. Your team could use the Culture Canvas as a day-to-day design tool to provide culture criteria to your product/service design decisions, so you and your team can continually deliver a WOW Customer Experience.

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The Culture Canvas allows you to use culture as a criteria when creating WOW Customer Experiences in different decision making scenarios, such as:

When designing a new product or service: Is the product/service aligned and consistent with the stated values and purpose of the company? Are there any values not yet considered that could push the team to excel in delivering WOW? What actions should be in place to strengthen the culture that is in charge of delivering the product/service?

When creating a team or division to deliver a new product or service: When WOW Customer Experiences are priority, the team’s alignment on values and purpose is of the essence. Decisions on who should participate in design, launch, and operations of new products or services should also be addressed following culture criteria.

When pursuing constant evolution to sustain the WOW Customer Experience: For the WOW effect to prevail, it must continually adapt to changing needs. It requires constant innovations that should always remain aligned with the company’s culture. Decisions on adding or retiring features should always be consistent with the shared values. Sustaining a WOW Customer Experience requires a constant product-culture fit.

To tackle these scenarios [and many more], we recommend the following practices:

Maya quote (3)1 – Print the Culture Canvas life size and glue it to a rigid surface so that you can easily move it around.

2 – Place the Culture Canvas where your team works in design or project management sessions.

3 – Use post-it notes to fill each block in the Canvas. You could color code different situations using colored post-it notes.

4 – Keep these post-it notes on the Canvas for reference in future work sessions.

5 – When making product-market fit decisions that respond to customer feedback or when you are considering the intended evolution of product/service features, ask whether the integrity of the product-culture fit is preserved.

6 – When facing a crisis situation, refer to the Canvas for reference. In light of impending chaos or unexpected challenges, following your values is the best course of action.

7 – When doing competitive analysis, assess what values/purpose would improve your WOW Customer Experience.

8 – When assessing your WOW Customer Experience, record on the Canvas the most meaningful stories and metrics that express its impact.

9 – When improving your product/service assess what actions should be in place to enhance the Culture that is delivering your WOW Customer Experience.

10 – When product/service performance decreases, assess whether all necessary values are being expressed to sustain the WOW Customer Experience.

These are only a few tips to get you going with the Canvas. We conduct regular webinars and training to get the most out of the Canvas. We would love to know how you are using it in your organizations. Follow us on Twitter @DHMovement for more information.

javierIn 1995, Javier started his first company, a Web design firm in Miami mostly focusing on providing services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. To do his job, he found himself asking questions about the founders, about their purpose, vision, values, products and services. In many occasions, he realized the answers to these questions were not clear. So, he found himself coaching customers on how to clearly define the fundamental aspects of their business. He did it even as he realized it was not supposed to be part the job. However, he enjoyed it tremendously! From these humble beginnings, Javier has built a career out of following his passion… helping people, and building tools to simplify their processes and create greater happiness at work. You can follow Javier on Twitter @justaction!

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  • KValer10

    How do I learn more about the culture canvas – that looks interesting.

  • Rita Suiter

    Is the canvas available to use as a training tool? Thank you!