WOW Moments

Create Customer Delight By Adding WOW Moments

Satisfied customers are nice, but delighted customers are more likely to return. Delight customers repeatedly, and at every touch point, and you will earn yourself some raving fans! The first key is to nail the basics. It doesn’t matter how many red-carpets you roll out if you’re not delivering good customer service consistently. You can only dazzle people for so long. Eventually, they’re going to see behind the curtain.

However, once you’ve got a good handle on the basics, to move customers from satisfied to delighted, add WOW Moments. These are the unexpected moments that surprise and delight your prospects and customers. Here are five ways to add WOW Moments to your work.

Personalize Your Service

My friend has a saying: “The more specific, the more terrific!” When you provide a personalized experience for your customer, he or she is bound to notice. For instance, the team at Leisure Park in Lakewood, NJ, a Red-Carpet Learning Systems client, keeps a secret stash of swag. These are little inexpensive gifts in a variety of categories (gardening, reading, children, pets, sports teams, veteran status, movies, etc.) they keep stocked in a closet. When a prospective or new resident is expected, they pull out the specific category of gift that is just right for them. Instant Delight!

Do the Unexpected

Rick Salmeron, of Salmeron Financial, knew that his clients were struggling mid-July to beat the heat and that National Ice Cream week was coming up. So he sent out an email to his clients, prospects and partners all over the country (he’s based in Texas) promising to deliver ice cream to their door during a specific week if they simply responded. For less than the cost of a newspaper ad, Rick delivered (or had delivered) over 120 scoops of ice cream, and earned a lot of social media love and customer delight!

Stop by the drive through at Western Bank in Devils Lake, North Dakota and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Wacky Wednesday. Bank tellers take turns outside washing windshields of customers, firing up the grill and handing out treats and prizes as people drive through! It’s the unexpected that gets people talking.African man looking at laptop and cheering

Add the And Then Some

WOW MOMENTS happen when you choose to turn ordinary interactions into extraordinary encounters. Because I travel a lot (a lot!), I sometimes have the pleasure of being bumped up to First Class. Recently, this was the case on a Delta airlines flight. The pilot typically gives a welcome over the loud speaker. Nice. In this case, however, the pilot came out of the cockpit before taking off and personally welcomed each of us on his plane. He spent a few seconds explaining what weather was expected, what states we’d be flying over and when we might want to look out the window. He thanked us again and went back to the cockpit. Everyone looked around and murmured “WOW! That’s never happened before!” We were impressed. This pilot added the “and then some” and turned an ordinary interaction into an extraordinary encounter.

Discover and Delight

Couple enjoying day out at the beachPractice listening and looking for opportunities to add WOW Moments. One of my audience members once told me about a car mechanic that noticed her grooving to the sounds of the O’Jays over coming from his iPod. She mentioned they were a favorite band and she hadn’t heard them in forever! When she came back and turned the key in her ignition, she was greeted with the sounds of her favorite band. The mechanic jumped on the opportunity to create customer delight by burning a CD and surprising her.

If you actively listen for opportunities, you will discover ways to delight your customers.

Anticipate Wants and Needs

When our Director of Training and Possibilities was on vacation at the Little Cayman Beach Resort, swimming was the activity of the day. Her daughter is “a fish” and there are no TV’s on Little Cayman. So when Annabel was rushed to the Doctor and diagnosed with a raging ear infection, she was left wondering how she was going to entertain her child for the rest of the week. Before she even had time to think of it, a hotel employee arrived with a HUGE bag of sand toys. This wasn’t just a pail and shovel, but castles, water wheels, molds – enough toys to keep her daughter busy for days. That hotel employee anticipated Katie’s need and created a moment of customer delight that saved their vacation.

The key to moving delighted customers into the realm of “raving fans” is consistent use of WOW Moments. Pam, former Director of Celebrity Services for the Gaylord Opryland, encouraged her team to hold back a few surprises and spread them throughout their VIP guests trip. I call it making “Movie Moments!” Create unexpected moments of surprise and delight that cause your customers to start spreading the word about you and your business.

More WOW! Stories


Sainsbury’s Takes Advice from a 3-Year Old
Giraffe Bread-2

Lily Robinson (who insists that she is three and a half years old) was quite confused by one of Sainsbury’s products called tiger bread. In her eyes, the bread didn’t resemble a tiger at all, and in fact looked very much like a giraffe.

It’s hard to disagree with her!

With a little assistance from mom and dad, she wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s customer service department.

To her surprise, customer support manager Chris King (age 27and one-third) told her that he couldn’t agree more. He explained the origins of the name:

Giraffe Bread“I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea-it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a loooong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.”

Lily’s mom enjoyed the letters and ended up posting them on her blog. Before long, this cute correspondence was a viral hit, and the pressure was on for Sainsbury’s to change the name of the product to the much more appropriate giraffe bread.

Knowing the customer was certainly right in this instance—and spotting an unusual opportunity to do something fun—Sainsbury’s changed the name of the bread and put signs around their stores that give a humorous nod to Lily’s original idea.



Gaylord Opryland ‘WOWs’ a Repeat Customer
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It doesn’t take a slew of consumer data (although we’ve shared plenty of it) to support the argument that your regular customers are your rock. As such, taking care of them is not just the right thing to do. It’s also good for business.
Consider the case of regular Gaylord Opryland hotel customer Christina McMenemy, who stayed at the resort three years in a row for the annual BlissDom conference.

During each stay McMenemy found herself entranced by one of the features in her hotel room—an alarm clock that played light music; as in, the kind that you’d experience in a high end spa.

McMenemy says, “You probably think I’m insane to obsess over a clock radio.” But, her rationale for her fondness for this item was that she had never slept better than she did while using it.

Gaylord Opryland Radio & LetterFor three years McMenemy tried to find the exact model clock from her hotel room, but to no avail. McMenemy had nearly given up hope when she messaged the company’s Twitter page during her most recent trip to Opryland.

Resigned to her fate, she attended the conference and let the alarm clock hunt go. But upon returning to her room she was surprised to find not one but two spa clocks and a letter with her name on it.

Opryland recognized an opportunity to make sure a long-time customer had one of the best experiences ever. And they didn’t just win a customer for life; they also bought plenty of goodwill with folks at the conference (and beyond) who subsequently heard about the story.

Christina Mcmemeny“You reaffirmed that there are still companies out there focused on great service, and you’ve made a lifelong fan out of me.”–Christina McMenemy


Bungie Studios Creates a Holiday Miracle!

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In another outstanding example of taking care of customers, Bungie Studios, one of the most beloved game developers in the industry, raised the bar for their willingness to take care of their fans.

The story begins with a distraught father whose son had to receive liver transplant surgery around the holidays.

Since being in the hospital left his son unable to play the newest release of his favorite video game franchise, Halo, his dad reached out to Bungie.

The response he received from the company went far beyond what anyone expected!

Bungiie Studios-2

First, the entire Bungie team signed and sent a card with get-well wishes.

To make up for missing out on playing Halo, the team built him a custom helmet based off of the main character and sent it along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.

Bungie Studios-3

His father later posted a thank you thread and a collection of images on Christmas day, which was when Bungie visited his son in the hospital and brought the gifts.

Bungie Studios-1

“He was absolutely shocked when he saw the custom helmet from Halo Reach! Bungie, you have played a huge part in making this smile! My family can’t thank you enough!”


Jim Shukys’ Auto Sweats the Small Stuff
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The stories that we’ve written about so far have all talked about an awesome response to an unusual situation by the staff of the company. But, let’s look a little deeper and explore the day-to-day service offered by these customer service heroes.

Great service doesn’t have to wait for an unusual situation to offer an opportunity to serve. These acts of WOW can take place everyday, right there in the everyday activities of business. 

That’s why we love this next story shared by a customer in Streetsboro, Ohio.

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The story was posted on Reddit under the appropriately titled topic of “I have never in my life seen this level of customer service” and included this genuine, thoughtful thank-you note.

But the best part of this tale is that despite the fact that this image was shared on the internet, random commenters starting pointing out that they knew exactly which business this was:

“I used to live in Streetsboro and I know exactly who that is. He’s a good man, stay with him!”

Now that’s the definition of memorable service! The praise continued with non-customers, too, with one commenter saying,

“It’s little things like this that earn business. If I got this card I would never use another mechanic in my life.”


WOW! Response by Lego Rep Saves the Day

Losing a favorite toy feels devastating to a young child. Longtime Lego fan Luka Apps spent all of his Christmas money on a Ninjago (Lego ninja) named Jay XZ. Against his dad’s advisement, he brought his Ninjago on a shopping trip … and lost it.

Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one.



My name is Luka Apps and I am seven years old.

With all my money I got for Christmas I bought the Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider. The number is 9449. It is really good.

My Daddy just took me to Sainsbury’s and told me to leave the people at home but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat.

I am really upset I have lost him. Daddy said to send you a email to see if you will send me another one.

I promise I won’t take him to the shop again if you can.


The response he received from Lego customer support representative Richard was nothing short of amazing. Richard told Luke that he had talked to Sensei Wu (a Ninjago character), writing:


It’s so rare to see such a thoughtful, creative response to a distraught customer that this story went viral.






Trader Joe’s Delivers (Literally)!

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An elderly man, 89 years of age, was snowed in at his Pennsylvanian home around the holidays, and his daughter was worried that he wasn’t going to have access to enough food due to the impending storm and bad weather in the area.

After calling multiple stores in a desperate attempt to find anyone who would deliver to her father’s home, she finally got hold of someone at Trader Joe’s, who told her that they also do not deliver … normally.

Trader Joe's-5Given the extreme circumstance, they told her that they would gladly deliver directly to his home, and even suggested additional delivery items that would fit perfectly with his special low-sodium diet.

After the daughter placed the order for the food, the employee on the phone told her that she didn’t need to worry about the price; the food would be delivered free of charge. The employee then wished her a Merry Christmas.

Less than 30 minutes later the food was at the man’s doorstep—for free!

In refusing to let red tape get in the way of a customer in need, Trader Joe’s shows that customer service doesn’t need to be about the fanfare, it can simply be about doing the right thing.


Morton’s Steakhouse is Full of WOW SurprisesMortons--3

By: Gordon Conner

This is a fun one! It’s also a quirky reminder that many of the most fondly remembered service stories are the ones that come out of left field. This story certainly fits the bill, and it is bound to inspire you to take some extra time to surprise a valued customer every once in a while.

Morton's-1Peter Shankman knows a thing or two about customer service. As an author, consultant and speaker on the topic, it’s safe to say his standards are high.

While at an airport, Shankman realized that if he didn’t grab a bite to eat he’d be stuck riding the plane back on an empty stomach. Not one for fast food, Shankman took a shot in the dark and jokingly tweeted to one of his favorite restaurants, Morton’s, asking them if they would deliver him a steak!

Even though he’s a longtime customer of the steakhouse, Shankman admits that he had no expectations when he sent out the tweet. After all, who ever heard of steak on wheels?

To Shankman’s utter disbelief, one of Morton’s staff drove 23 miles to the airport to greet him with a full meal:

mortons-2“He proceeds to tell me that he’d heard I was hungry, and inside is a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware.”–Peter Shankman

One of the most interesting things about Shankman’s story is that he admits that this “stunt” was meant to be out of the ordinary … and that’s completely okay.

“Customer service isn’t about telling people how awesome you are, it’s about creating stories that do the talking for you.” This is a stellar example of doing exactly that, and Morton’s deserves all of the attention they received (and more) for making it happen.


United Airlines Delays Flight for Dying Mother

This is the view from an airplane.It’s always heart-wrenching when a close family member passes. Sharing the final moments with a person we love can be a small respite in a truly difficult situation. When Kerry Drake got on his United Airline flight, the mother he was en route to see was facing her final hours. To add an extra layer of dis- tress, Drake knew that if he missed his connecting flight he would likely not see her before she passed.

United-7After his first flight got delayed, Drake broke down into tears on the plane. The flight attendants soon noticed his state and quickly found out what was wrong. Within minutes, Drake’s dilemma was re- layed to the captain, who radioed ahead to Drake’s next flight.

The flight’s crew responded by delaying the flight’s departure to make sure he got on board.

“I was still like maybe 20 yards away when I heard the gate agent say, ‘Mr. Drake, we’ve been expecting you,’” he said

When Drake finally sat on the second flight, he realized how much went into getting him onto the plane.

“I was overcome with emotion!” The result of many staff members working together to go above-and-beyond the call of duty to help this customer was that Drake made it to the hospital in time to see his mother.

United-6“At one point she opened her eyes, and I think she recognized me,” said Drake, who spent the night at the hospital. “Around 4 a.m. she had a real moment of coherence, a last rally, although we didn’t know it at the time. It was the last time.”

She died that very morning.

Drake wrote the staff a heartfelt thank you letter expressing his immense gratitude for a team who was willing to pull together and pull out all the stops to assist in any way they could.

united-4In the coverage of this story on CNN, consumer advocate Christopher Elliot said:

Airline employees are evaluated based on their ability to keep a schedule. Airlines compete with each other on who has the best on-time departure record. When the crew on this flight heard about this distraught passenger trying to make his connection, they must have said, ‘To hell with it’… and they made the right call.”

We think so, too.



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