Tapping Into The Science of WOW!

A formula for  viral customer experiences

OTTAWA, Dec. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Some people like to talk politics. Others like to talk sports current events or hot gossip. But one thing everyone likes to talk about are the experiences they have as customers. A new study by The Belding Group has identified exactly what it is about these experiences that make them so memorable.

The research, The Science of WOWthe formula for viral customer experience, points to key areas organizations can address to get people talking about them in a good way – and minimize the number of people talking about them in a bad way.

One of the notable findings was that experiences consumers are most likely to share primarily involve the people they deal with (92.4%). Other factors – price/value, product quality, convenience, etc. – play only a minor role in customer conversations.

“In today’s tech-based environment, organizations have been heavily focused on improving processes and efficiency.” said Shaun Belding, CEO of The Belding Group. “But what this research shows is that it is the people side of things that drives loyalty and brand conversations.”

We want employees to care

86.7% of positive experiences that we share with others come from employees taking ownership over situations. 93% of negative experiences are a result of failure to take ownership. In 82.6% of negative experiences, consumers perceive employees just don’t care.

Service failures create positive conversations

Service failures are a powerful breeding ground for positive “Wow” experiences. The ability to turn negative situations into positive outcomes is a significant trigger for positive conversations. Over 7 out of 10 “Wow” experiences begin as negative situations.

“The good news is that companies have more control over the conversations surrounding their brand than they might realize.” Belding says. “The more skilled, more empowered and better trained their employees are in customer service and resolving issues, the more likely they are to create positive experiences that people will share in person and on social media.”

experiences consumers are most likely to share primarily involve the people they deal with

Excerpts from The Science of WOW

  • The Quest for WOW
    One of the recurring themes with organizations trying to improve customer service is the search for “Wow” experiences. These are the memorable experiences that create positive word-of-mouth, and have the potential of spreading rapidly through social media.
    There are mixed theories on the types of behaviours and actions required to create Wow experiences. Some theories, such as the one presented in The Harvard Business Review by Dixon, Freeman and Tollman (“Stop Trying To Delight Your Customers, 2010”), even suggest that trying to “delight” customers is not a productive goal. They suggest that greater customer loyalty will be gained by focusing on reduced customer effort.
    Intuitively, however, there is a distinction between what one would call a “Wow” experience and a low-effort experience as suggested by Dixon. Similarly, “satisfactory” experiences, as measured in CSAT surveys; or “likely to recommend” experiences, as measured with the NPS model are not necessarily those that wow consumers.So what does it take to get customers talking about us?
  • “Wow” Experiences Are Created By People
    “Wow” experiences are created by people. While processes, policies and practices may have a strong influence in overall loyalty as suggested by the Dixon research, they are not the elements that create memorable moments that are likely to be shared between individuals.
    Service failure is a significant breeding ground for “Wow” experiences. Although the theory of the Service Recovery Paradox1 has been called into question in recent years, this study shows that the ability to turn negative situations into positive outcomes still plays a critical role for organizations. Over seven out of every ten “Wow” experiences – experiences that people are likely to share – began as negative situations.
    The results point to clear and actionable direction for organizations who want to differentiate themselves through outstanding customer experience.

Details on The Science of WOW! Customer Service, and how organizations can apply it, can be found here