The Twenty-Four Hour WOW


“Only the mediocre are always at their best.”  – Jean Giraudoux.

American Idol judge Simon Cowell often comments that even though a contestant’s performance was good, and sometimes even quite good, nobody will remember it in twenty-four hours.  It wasn’t a wow.  This is exactly the difference between good service and an extraordinary experience.

I’ve recently spoken with any number of retailers who tell me how good their service is.  Even if that’s the case (and sometimes it’s not) most customers aren’t going to remember it a day later.  It’s not a twenty-four hour WOW.

Some people might say it’s okay to have service that’s only “good” as long as the customer makes a purchase.  And that’s fine if you’re in a transactional business, but most specialty stores need more than that.  Specialty retailers need to deliver something the customer remembers beyond the next day to drive them back into the store again.

Just as important is getting the customer to tell family and friends about the store. The experiences that WOW the customer and stay with them are exactly what customers tell people about when they’re advocating for a business. What makes an experience stay with the customer longer than one day?

First and foremost, something occurs that is different from what the customer will experience at any other store or business that day. That’s why I believe offering the customer a drink and/or something to eat works.  It simply doesn’t happen that often.

Think about it.  Does a person tell her friends, “They’re the store that gives people space to shop?” (Something I’ve heard three times this week.) Or is someone more likely to say, “They’re the nice store that offered us a drink and some cheese and crackers.”  It’s a great differentiator.

I don’t buy the argument that “too many stores are doing it.”  Very few are doing it, and many of those that say they do don’t do it regularly.  Miss one customer and you miss a twenty-four-hour-plus WOW.  If you choose not to serve food and drinks I encourage you think of another differentiator that will allow your store to stand out from the rest of the pack.  It takes more than just good service.

Another way to make a long-term impression is do something personal for your customer.  It can be something as simple as helping them with their child or calling a competitor’s store to see if they have something in stock.  I know some people don’t do that.  I say be so positive about the experience you deliver that you’re fine sending your customer to the competition for an item.

There’s always a way to do something special and personal for a customer.  I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but you’ll know it when you see it.  The key is to be looking for the opportunity, and then act on it.

Here’s today’s challenge. As each customer leaves ask yourself, “Will that person remember this experience twenty-four hours from now?” If the answer is “no,” attempt to create a twenty-four hour wow with the next customer.

If the answer is yes, chances are you just created one or more sales in your future, and I bet that customer might also be walking out with a purchase, too.

– Doug Fleener and Brian Sullivan 



About the Author

Doug Fleener has spoken and consulted with thousands of retail owners, executives, managers, and staff. As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent storeowner himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to connect with all audiences.

His high-energy programs engage, educate, entertain and, most important, motivate people to take action to transform their business.

Doug will be in Dallas, New York, Orlando, Seattle, South Florida, Toledo and other areas over the next couple of months. He is available for store visits, retail rallies, and half or one-day consulting programs. Email Doug to discuss having him visit your company.


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