If there’s one thing I keep saying over and over again to my clients it’s this, "Subtract before you add." Why? Because the natural tendency for most of us is to keep adding and adding and then adding some more. But in this world of overwhelming complexity and breakneck speed, if we keep adding more and more options onto a base which still encompasses problems, the problems won’t go away, they’ll simply get worse–and customers will continue to get ticked.
The solution is to subtract before you add. In other words, if you want to create a WOW for your customers, and something bothers them, eliminate it. For example, let’s take the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. How many times have you been on a cell phone call, walked onto an elevator, and promptly lost your signal? It’s aggravating, isn’t it? So, what did the Mandarin Oriental do? It ran a distributed antenna system through its core (no more dropped calls). Or how many times have you gotten out of the shower and been frustrated that the mirror was so steamed you couldn’t see yourself? It’s annoying isn’t it? So, what did the Mandarin Oriental do? It installed heating elements behind the mirrors in each bathroom (no more steamed mirrors).
Or how many times have you walked into a hotel room only to be greeted by either an ice box or a sauna? It’s pretty irritating, isn’t it? Waiting for the room you paid for to get to the right temperature is not a WOW. So, what did the Mandarin Oriental do? They encourage their guest to fill out an online form before they arrive with their preferences so that when they do arrive they can experience a remarkable hotel stay, just the way they like it–including a room that’s heated or cooled to the exact temperature they prefer.
In other words, one of the main reasons why the Mandarin Oriental Hotel chain is so highly regarded by customers is because they know that the first step to creating a WOW for their customers is to eliminate all unWOW. Great customer experiences are rarely made up of one or two items. Rather they’re made up of hundreds of little things that all add up to one incredible experience.
So as you take a look at your business, what are some of the unWOWs for your customers/clients/members? What irritates or frustrates or annoys them? What do they tend to complain about? If you were a customer at your business, what would you not like? Then take it to the next level. What in your business is ordinary? What creates an indifferent experience? What do you do "just like everybody else?" All of that needs to change as well. Either something is a WOW or it’s an unWOW. If it’s not a WOW, change it. Because the first step to creating a WOW is to eliminate all unWOW.