Last week I had an extended lunch meeting with a very successful entrepreneur who knew a lot about creating customer value. This man started a business in 1978 with a single store. By time he sold the company in 2010, the entity had 125 stores across Canada. He retired in 2010. Retirement was short lived as he got bored, and therefore in 2012 he started another entity. The current company already has over 40 locations. He created a very unique business model this time around. Each store having an owner that owns 50%, with him owning the other 50% share.
This particular business man is incredibly inspiring. I’ve had connections to this company for a while, but it was just last week that I learned about their WOW fund. The WOW fund is something that each store owner is required to spend on a monthly basis. This fund is intended to create a WOW factor. It’s all about doing something for a customer such that when they leave the store they say, WOW and tell others.
Each store owner must spend at least $200 each month on WOW. The company provides both retail and service, so there are plenty of opportunities to WOW people who keep coming back.
Creating customer value – Polynesian style
One example that was given to me was of a woman who came into a store and indicated she would be heading off to Hawaii in a few weeks, and so she would need the item she was getting serviced to be ready by the time of her departure. The store owner went to a dollar store, purchased a couple of plastic leis and a few other Hawaiian type props, and gave them to her when she came back to pick up her items.
Imagine being that customer, returning to the store and being greeted by an owner wishing her the very best time on vacation and who had taken the time to head out and purchase these very inexpensive, yet thoughtful, items. Would she be WOW’d? Do you think this woman will be back and bring future business to this store? Do you think she will tell others about how she had been WOW’d? I think yes, all the way around!
A Workplace Caring Culture
Oh, and just to illustrate further what good business people do who truly care, all the store owners and the corporate executive have made a very large, generous donation to the Red Cross to help victims of the British Columbia wild fires this summer…WOW!
- Have you WOW’d a customer/client/buyer lately? Was it intentional or accidental?
- Consider adding to your “business as usual” some additional intentionality in creating a WOW for your buyers.
- Put a plan in place to empower your staff to create WOW for your customers. Make it part of your culture – not an option but a requirement.