Two years ago in the very first post of this customer support series of articles – “Amazing customer support defined” – I have put “WOW moment” as the top priority for a great customer support interaction.
The first time I heard the term “WOW your customers” was from Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness” – a great book that changed the way I look at customer support. Here is how it defines it:
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.
As you can see it’s pretty abstract, much like most of the other articles on this topic. Today I wanted to share some actionable advice on how to WOW your customers – the specific stuff you can try today.
Humans tend to remember experiencing strong emotions pretty well. If you make them say “WOW”, they are going to remember this for a long time and you will get a very loyal customer. WOW moments create a long lasting loyalty. That’s what you’re going for.
However, WOW’ing someone is a tough challenge. Especially over email. You can’t do it in every single support ticket. But you should always try to.
WOW’ing is all about greatly exceeding expectations. And here are a couple of ways you can do that.
This is actually quite easy because people have low expectations for email response time. 24 hours response time is considered fast by many people. So if you keep it down to two hours or less, which is very realistic, you will WOW a fair share of customers.
It’s not just about the response times. Here’s my favorite example of acting fast, something I personally do quite often. If a customer submits a bug report that I know is easy to fix, I just go ahead and fix it right away. Most of the time it takes just 10-15 minutes. That never fails to impress.
Basically, if a customer wants something that takes less than 20 minutes, just do it now.
It’s better to get a loyal customer on a cheaper plan, than an upset customer on an expensive plan who will churn in the next three months. Offer free upgrades. Give a discount even if they don’t ask for it. It doesn’t have to be a big one – even a 5% discount could go a long way.
We often let customers use cheaper plans, even if they do not qualify for it. We also give a 20% discount to all returning customers. Things like that contribute to our low churn rates and do wonders for our lifetime value.
WOW moments work better when they are personal and intimate. But you can try automating them. They definitely won’t work every time, but, you know, it’s free, so why not. A good place to look for opportunities to add your WOWs to is your automated emails. For example here is what we have in our purchase confirmation email:
Hey Bob. Thank you for purchasing. Every morning we read our new customers’ names aloud, in front of all our employees. Your name will be in that list tomorrow morning. Thanks.
We really do try to read their names by the way. Most people understand that this is an automated email and just ignore it, but every once in awhile we get a customer who is delighted that he gets a special treatment from us and that didn’t cost us anything.
Instead of exceeding expectations, you can do something they do not expect at all. Send a pizza to their office. Send a handwritten note. Give away a popular book in your industry as a gift. Meet them for coffee.
Just surprise them.
You can’t WOW people in every single support ticket, but you should always look for opportunities. It’s not that hard when you put some practice into it. Some of these moves have worked reliably for me for a long time. If you have any moves yourself, I’d love to hear those in the comments.
by Max. co-counder