So you’ve decided that you are ready to embark on the journey to the W.O.W. Side. Now what? What does it look like – feel like? Who’s got the directions? And how do you know when you’ve arrived? Simple . . . Just Ask.

If you are providing your Customers with a W.O.W. experience, you will know it. If you are not, you will know it as well. Defining What’s needed, On time, With value goes beyond having great customer service. It is using customer input to help you design and define products, services and channels to deliver them in a way that creates customer delight.

Being right on the heels of the shopping season for many across the globe, now is a perfect time to ask customers about W.O.W. Most have spent the last month either shopping in stores or online and many have already experienced the joy of returning or exchanging items. Both of these transactions, either buying or returning are opportunities to W.O.W. your customer. How do you know if you passed the W.O.W. test? Ask them. It is the most direct form of customer feedback that you can get.

Customer feedback, of all types, is the backbone of  W.O.W. It comes in many forms. Market research is a form of feedback that helps define what customers want. Analyzing buying patterns and market data and developing surveys that ask questions related to your product or service is key. Once a product or service is developed or provided, again asking customers what they think is important. And, when your customers have a question or problem that needs to be resolved, asking them if you are providing a delightful experience is again an opportunity to learn more. Surveys, whether on the spot, or after a time-lapse can capture valuable insights as to how customers feel about the service or product and are a true gage of W.O.W.

Here’s an example of how immediate feedback works. Yesterday I had a lengthy transaction at a bank and next to each teller was a sign that said, “Ring the bell if you got exceptional service.” I was in the bank for at least twenty minutes and never heard the bell ring. I was wondering if my teller was going to W.O.W. me and yes she did. Awesome service. I finished my transaction in the back and as I walked out went past her workspace, said thank you and rang the bell. Everyone looked up and across the counter I saw a big smile. It made me feel good – looks like my W.O.W. experience turned into hers. (Double W.O.W.)

I can’t leave the customer feedback discussion without touching on customer complaints. Customer complaints provide valuable input as well. Reviewing, categorizing and analyzing complaints to identify trends and any recurring issues is a great way to capture customer feedback (even if it is not the preferred method). All of this analysis begs for application of Six Sigma tools.

So you have feedback, analysis and some possible recommendations. What next? Translating this feedback into a business plan is the next step. Without this, all you have is feedback. This is the tough part but operationalizing customer feedback and using it to drive your Business Plan is not an option – it’s a requirement. Linking your business plan to process improvements closes the loop (sounds like Hoshin to me). And after improvements are implemented, it is time to ask the customer for feedback to see if your improvements made a difference.

As you can see, the whole process of W.O.W. starts with the customer and ends with the customer. And throughout the journey Six Sigma serves as an integral part of how to make it so. Join me next time as we explore some of these Six Sigma linkages or better yet, join me at iSixSigma Live in January where I’ll be sharing some insights in person on how to Take a Walk on the W.O.W. SideTM

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