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January 8

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Take your service to the next level: Only BIG WOW’s…No bow-wow’s

By Dr. Bryan K. Williams, DM
February 7, 2011

At a recent meeting, I was helping a team of executives brainstorm ways to WOW their customers. Once we began brainstorming, it became clear to me that the executives’ perception of what a WOW was and my perception were completely different. To them, consistently smiling and greeting a customer was a WOW. To me, that is just the bare minimum of doing one’s job in the service business. I then explained what a true WOW should look like and then gave several examples. I further pressed on by stating that they should only strive for the big WOW’s. Then one executive immediately chimed in and said, “So, we only want the BIG WOW’s…and no bow-wow’s”. I literally could not stop laughing after I heard that one… hence, the title of this article.

Wowing your customers is just another way of saying, ‘exceed your customers expectations’, or ‘create exceptional memories’, or ‘provide an unforgettable experience’. At the end of the day, all customers want to feel valued, appreciated, and cared for. The challenge, in many cases, is for leaders to properly articulate to their team what a BIG WOW truly is. Of course, this also assumes that the leaders, themselves, know what a WOW is.

One of the best ways of explaining a WOW is to begin by giving concrete examples. On a recent stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel, I decided to join their guest rewards program, which is called Hilton Honors. I figured that since I would be staying in that particular hotel multiple times over a span of five months, that I should take advantage of their rewards program. So I called the Hilton Honors’ toll-free number with the single expectation of joining the Hilton Honors program. I was not prepared for what was to come.  

Julia P., the customer care representative, not only registered me seamlessly, but she helped me get points from my last hotel stay, which qualified me for several thousand points. I did not know that it was even possible to get retroactive points!

            * Double Platinum Rule = yes            * BIG WOW = yes      * bow-wow = no

Julia then enrolled me in Hilton Honors’ current promotion (at the time), which gave me a minimum of double points and a maximum of quadruple points based on length of stay.

            * Double Platinum Rule = yes            * BIG WOW = yes      * bow-wow = no 

When I thanked her for all the insider information on the special promotions, she told me “I always tell my customers about our special promotions.” Notice the use of the words my and our. Julia was obviously proud of her company and it showed.

            * Work Like You Own It = yes            * Service Ambassador = yes

Julia ended the registration process with a genuine “Thank you for choosing Hilton Honors! We look forward to serving you again.” The WOW’s didn’t stop there.  I called back shortly thereafter because I forgot to ask a question about the program, and this time the customer care representative’s  name was Rich A. After answering my question, he immediately saw that I had just become a new member. He also noticed that I did not receive my new member bonus points that were worth 2500 points. Again, the Hilton Honors customer care representatives gave me things I did not even know existed! So Rich offered to insert those points into my profile asap.

            * Double Platinum Rule = yes            * BIG WOW = yes      * bow-wow = no

Rich then went on to explain the Hilton Honors “Double-Dipping” feature, which would allow me to receive both airline and hotel credits simultaneously. Who am I to say no to free points?

            * Double Platinum Rule = yes            * BIG WOW = yes      * bow-wow = no 

Companies who are renowned  for consistently providing exceptional service have only one standard, and that standard is to WOW by any means necessary. In iconic service brands, like Nordstrom’s and Disney, there is virtually no discussion about meeting expectations. Only exceeding expectations will do. Good is not good enough. Excellence is the only standard worth discussing. The first principle of working like you own it is to begin each day by asking, “How and who will I WOW today?” The key is to consistently strive for the BIG WOW’s and leave the bow-wow’s alone.


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            --Sara Bianchi, Area Director of Quality, The Address Hotels + Resorts (Dubai)

About the Author

Dr. Bryan K. Williams is the Chief Service Officer of B.Williams Enterprise, and the author of Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar. Bryan’s passion is world-class customer service, and has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies.  He speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, employee engagement, and organizational improvement.  As a consultant, Bryan works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies. His company’s online store includes a growing collection of customer service products that are well-suited for your training library.


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 at the B.Williams Enterprise Online Store

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-We exist to serve others so they may better serve the world


B. Williams Enterprise, LLC 
Phone: 240-401-6958 

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Also See: Service Excellence: Inspect What You Expect / Bryan K. Williams, D.M. / November 2010

Work Like You Own It 2.0; Energize it. Recognize it. Celebrate it. / Bryan K. Williams, D.M. / September 2010

World-Class Service 101: Know the difference between meeting and exceeding expectations / Dr. Bryan K. Williams / July 2010

Service Superstars Part 2: Treat them like they own it! / Dr. Bryan K. Williams / June 2010

Make each touchpoint memorable: Cha-Ching! / Dr. Bryan K. Williams / April 2010

Service Superstars: Work like you own it! / Bryan Williams / February 2010

Complimentary resources from Bryan K. Williams and B.Williams Enterprise! Begin 2010 with a focus on world-class service. / January 2010

Service Ambassadors: The Key to Providing World-Class Service / Bryan K. Williams / November 2009

5-Star Employees - Part 3 / Bryan K. Williams / September 2009

5-Star Employees - Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / August 2009

5-Star Employees - Part 1/ Bryan K. Williams / July 2009

Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar / Bryan K. Williams / July 2009

Complimentary tele-seminars with Bryan K. Williams in July! / July 2009

Building a Team of Living It Employees / Bryan K. Williams / June 2009

World-Class Service: What if every employee served like a concierge? / Byran K Williams / March 2009

5 Star Leadership: What Does It Take to Be a 5-star Leader? / Byran Williams / February 2009

5 Stars vs. 4 Stars: What’s the Difference? / Byran Williams / January 2009

Complimentary training with Bryan Williams / January 2009

The 7 Principles of EngageMeTM is now available! / Bryan K. Williams / November 2008

Hiring and Engaging a World-Class Team / Bryan K. Williams / October 2008

Great Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2008 / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service Part 3: Company Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service Pt. 2: Personal Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service: Function vs. Purpose / Bryan K. Williams / August 2008

Guest Problem Resolution 101: Power of the Follow-Up / Bryan K. Williams / June 2008

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers – Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / May 2008

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers / Bryan K. Williams / April 2008

I Am a Service Professional™ / Bryan K. Williams / March 2008

Engage Every Customer…One Touchpoint at a Time / Bryan K. Williams / January 2008

Engaging Service Part 2: It’s All About the Culture / Bryan K. Williams / December 2007

Engaging Service Part 1: Not Just for the Chic / Bryan K. Williams / November 2007

Service Excellence: A Destination or a Journey? / Bryan K. Williams / October 2007

National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007

National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007

Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / September 2007

Customer Engagement: Where do we begin? / Byran K Williams / August 2007

Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / / August 2007

B. Williams Enterprise, LLC Launches Engage Me…  the Voice of Your Customer / August 2007

To Engage…Listen to the Voice of Your Customer / Byran K Williams / August 2007

To Engage the Guest, You Must Engage Those Who Directly Serve the Guest / Byran K Williams / July 2007

Three Service Rules: The Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, and Double Platinum Rule/ Byran K Williams / June 2007

The Greatest Bellman I Ever Met… / Bryan K. Williams / April 2006

Sorry to Say…But Some People Should Not be Serving Other Human Beings / Bryan K Williams / October 2006

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