By Shep Hyken
In the updated and revised edition of The Cult of the Customer, I cover the concept of amazement. This may be old news to my followers, but it is worth repeating.
Amazement does not come from a WOW or over-the-top experience. Those happen on occasion, especially when problems are handled well. But on a day to day basis, amazement happens when you deliver experiences that are consistently and predictably above average. They could even be just a tiny little bit above average. What makes that amazing is that it is always predictable. The customer owns it because they know it’s going to happen.
What happens when there’s a problem or complaint? That’s not amazing at all. At that moment, the customer slips from amazement back to uncertainty. This is where the customer begins the first time they do business with you. They are uncertain as to what will really happen. Even if you have a great reputation for delivering an amazing customer experience, they haven’t yet experienced that yet, so they can’t know for sure. The first time they have a problem with you, even after a series of great experiences, all they can do is hope you will handle it well. Until it’s proven, the customer remains in that state of uncertainty.
However, once you handle the problem well, you and your organization shoot right back into amazement. Hopefully problems do not happen often, but when they do, the customer needs to know that they can count on you. If they do, they will stay in that Cult of Amazement even if there is a problem.
No person or company is perfect. Mistakes will be made. Problems will impact the customer’s experience, regardless of whose fault they are. How they are handled makes all the difference. This isn’t anything you don’t already know, but you must keep in mind that an unresolved or mishandled problem will cast doubt and uncertainty in the customer’s mind.
The Cult of Amazement is all about consistent and predictable experiences. As an example, you want your customers to say the following about you: “They are always so helpful and knowledgeable. Even when there is a problem, I can always count on them.” The word always followed by something positive is the key. When it’s used in a positive way related to a problem or complaint, you know you’re in the Cult of Amazement!