It’s what you do, not what you say, that really counts.
How small & well executed customer moments delight.
As marketeers, much of our focus is on crafting and maximising the message. Having recently experienced some amazing customer ‘wow’ moments, it reminded me just how rare these are, but how simply they can be achieved with the right focus.
How do I define a ‘wow’ moment? Something that makes me smile with delight.
‘Wow’ moments need to be creative, unexpected and delivered with just the right balance of value and deliberate occasion. Often when planning how to ‘surprise and delight’ the results become large, taxing and costly.
These examples highlight that this doesn’t need to be the case. Small, well executed, defined moments, can create a massive impact.
To celebrate Mrs Nick’s birthday we decided on a weekend break to York. As a treat I booked us into the The Principal Hotel . Obviously, I take great notice of the online experience and follow up marketing, which I have to say is all very good. I’ll share the pre-stay email content in a future instalment.
Likewise check-in was excellent, friendly, human and attentive. All creating a great first impression, but as a cynical traveller, nothing to generate ‘the wow smile’.
Wow 1 – Fresh milk already in the room.
Not much of a wow you might think, but I’ve stayed in far more expensive hotels with “fresh milk available on request”, which far from a wow turns into an inconvenience.
Our milk was sealed in its bespoke glass bottle, so clearly fresh and for us. Simply providing a small jug of milk might be mistaken as the leftover from the previous guest. Highlighting how tricky the simple can be.
Wow 2 – Free tuck box.
You expect tea, coffee and perhaps a biccie, but we were treated to crisps, chocolate bars and lollies (who doesn’t smile when given free Drumsticks?)
Wow 3 – The hotel information wording.
Fun and inclusive. Good enough for Mrs Nick to read out loud to me and both of us to laugh. How often have you read these and been made to feel you’re reading the hotel’s rule book. This really is a zero-cost step.
Wow 4 – The big one.
In the bar our waiter, when taking the drinks order, took the time to make small talk, very warmly established that it was Mrs Nick’s birthday, that we were residents and without missing a beat, asked if she liked champagne.
On his return, he brought two glasses (a free glass of fizz is a standard birthday treat in many restaurants.) In allowing us to share this moment with a drink each, it made it so much more special.
Clearly free is easy, but what really stood out here was the ease and warmth with which this gesture was made, as well as the sense of empowerment of the staff. It’s what Disney was founded on, but so rarely experienced now, even in Disney.
By now it’s fair to say that two brand advocates / score 10 NPSers had been created. Was it worthwhile to the hotel? Well we decided to eat in the restaurant rather than go out, spent far more in the bar than the quick drink we had intended and we’ve told everyone we know just how great the stay was. And now I’m telling you.
Wow 5 – reaching perfection in the most simple way.
On check out, which is always a little busy and fraught, the reception team took the time to speak to all guests as if they were the only ones in the room. Good, but not a ‘smile’ generator.
And at the end the transaction, we were offered a complimentary bottle of water and some mints for the journey home. Simple, unexpected and a moment of joy because of that.
Relative to the price of the stay, this is a small cost, but again made a massive impact on our lasting perception of our experience and the hotel brand.
Will we stay again? Yes. Will we travel further to stay in another of their hotels? Yes. Are we still recommending Principal Hotels? Yes.
Do you have to be a larger business to create and fund these moments?
No, it’s as much about creating the experience, as it is offering the ‘free stuff’, simple and low value works just as well. Perhaps even better, as no one likes to be bought.
We’ve just booked our summer trip through Strawberry Holidays . A small independent travel consultants. Great service, great attention to detail, but again that’s what you would hope for. No smile so far.
It’s a family trip so there was a lot of discussion on ensuring the kids had a great time. A few days after booking and completely out of the blue, we got a parcel through the post on Saturday addressed to ‘The Family”, rather than just to me as the lead booker.
Curious and excited at the surprise, we all opened the box together to find travel games and sweets for the kids and a ‘thank you for booking card’ from Strawberry Holidays.
The well-planned execution of this gift arriving at the weekend when we were all home, addressed to the whole family to create a shared excitement, played a major part in the delight factor. Had it arrived on a weekday, addressed to just me, the impact would have been diluted, proving that timing and execution are crucial.
‘Wow’ smile? Still beaming at the memory.
With more choice than ever before we have to differentiate ourselves to gain commercial success, but often the focus is all in the promise and lost in the experience. Small, well thought out, moments of delight for consumers, do create loyalty. A network of advocates with their extensive reach of potential new customers.
What examples do you have where you’ve been wow’d? It would be great if you’d share these so we can all take inspiration.
Twist Consultancy is a marketing engagement specialist helping improve how businesses connect to people. We’d love to discuss how we can help you wow your customers.