How to Avoid WOW Becoming unWOW

One of the inevitable truths of life is that “everything in life moves from remarkable to ordinary to death” (meaning that it no longer satisfies like it once did).

This is true about everything in life. For example, let’s say you go to a restaurant, you order a meal, and it’s remarkable (good for the chef). So the next time you go to that same restaurant, what do you do? Exactly, you order the same remarkable meal you had last time … only this time, it’s not quite as remarkable as it was the first time (even if the meal is cooked exactly the same way).

Why? Because your expectations have changed! What was a WOW the first time, is a little less WOW the second time. And if you keep having the same experience over and over again, the WOW will cease to be a WOW. And eventually, if you keep ordering this meal you’ll ultimately wonder, “What did I ever find remarkable about this meal in the first place?”

I don’t care what it is that you think is a WOW—a new relationship, a new vacation spot, a new countertop in your home, a new hobby, or even a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display—eventually everything that you think is a WOW today, will move from remarkable to ordinary to death.

So what does that say about your company and what you offer? Remember, regardless of whether your business is product or service focused, every one of your clients/customers has expectations—which ultimately means that everything you do is subject to the same remarkability curve that everyone else is subject to (remarkable > ordinary > death).

The Raving Fans Dilemma

Ken Blanchard’s phrase, “Raving Fans” is one that all of us can appreciate (i.e. we all want them). However, getting them and keeping them are two completely different processes.

The way I like to visualize this is a nine box grid/table where the horizontal axis is the experience customers have with you and your business. And the vertical axis is the product or service your offer. In either case, there are three options, you can exceed their expectations, meet their expectations or not meet their expectations.

Blanchard’s argument is that if you or I simply offer a product or service that meets someone’s expectations (the food was good) and the experience they have meets their expectations (the wait staff was polite, the food arrived in a reasonable amount of time, the restaurant was reasonably clean, etc.) then they are a REVOLT waiting to happen (meaning that the next time they have a need for what you offer, they’ll check someone else’s offer out).

In other words, simply meeting someone’s expectations is not good enough to capture a fan, let alone a raving fan. That means that the only three boxes that matter are the top three to the right side of the nine box grid/table (you can exceed their expectations about your product/service and gain a fan, you can exceed their expectations concerning the experience they have with you and gain a fan, or you can exceed their expectations on both the product/service and the experience they have with you, which is how you can acquire a raving fan).

But here’s the dilemma, what happens to someone’s expectations after they interact with whatever you’re offering? Exactly, they change! In other words, what once exceeded their expectations now becomes their NEW expectation—which means that any time a customer/client has the same experience with what you offer, they’re always moving from the upper right quadrant (a Raving Fan) to the center (a Revolt Waiting to Happen)—or worse.

The Solution to the Raving Fans Dilemma

So how do you avoid a customer/client WOW from becoming an unWOW? A: You systemize/wire your business for continual innovation and change. You use the first step of the Make it Remarkable process. You, “Ask Questions Like Picasso,” by continually asking, “What could we do differently this time?” Note: To see this point in action, watch the second video on the video samples page (click here).

For example, there is a car dealer where, when a woman comes in for an oil change, they leave a rose on the front seat of her car. The first time there, most people think that’s pretty remarkable (and it is since I’m remarking to you about it :-). However, the second time there, it’s a little less remarkable. And by the 10th time, it’s just something to move over so you can sit down and drive away.

So, the solution to the remarkability curve is to keep asking, “What else could we do to defeat the disease of sameness?” Or, “What else could we offer women that would cause them to see us as the obvious choice for them?”

Maybe it’s a free trip to have their nails done. Or a free Starbuck card. Or maybe it’s a free movie ticket. Or maybe it’s a free car wash. Or maybe it’s free scent for their car. Or maybe it’s a seasonal flower. Or maybe it’s a … the sky is the limit (and, by the way, don’t limit yourself to just what you can offer. Why not create a JV with a company that would want access to the women who come to your auto repair shop).

But, that said, you get the idea. You have to change things up if you want to keep a WOW from becoming an unWOW.

Then Add the Wired To Grow Twist

As the owner/leader of your business, your job isn’t simply to know this principle or to do it once, your job is to systemize this process and make sure it happens consistently. No one else in your organization can or will do this—this is a you function.

In general, most people are happy to just get something up and working. Then, once it’s up and working, they’re more than happy to let it run it’s course as long as possible. However, as the leader, you now know all about the remarkability curve (that everything in life moves from remarkable to ordinary to death). That’s why you can’t let anything keep running the same way for any length of time (whether it’s a marketing campaign or a product or a training program).

So, the key for you is to systemize this process throughout your business. For example, you might force your team to change something up every month or every quarter. In the example I used above about the oil change and flower, you may discover that most of your customers come in to have their oil changed every eight to twelve weeks. Based on that data, you might want to require your team to come up with a new appreciation gift every other month (Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov) in order to keep the WOW in the service.

But, and this is key, if YOU don’t own this. If you don’t require your teams to continually change-up what they do and the way they offer it, your business will suffer. Why? Because any time anyone does anything over and over again they’re automatically putting themselves on the path toward ordinary and death.

So what have you been offering your customers/clients for way too long … in the exact same way? Or what was once a WOW, that you no longer think is? Once you’ve identified that thing, make sure you get your key people together and figure out together how you can change it up. Then once you’ve figured out solution 2.0, mark your calendar for the next refresh (a month or two out). Why? Because …

“Everything in life moves from remarkable to ordinary to death.”

To your accelerated success!

P.S. Don’t forget to watch the video below on the first step of the Make it Remarkable Process