One of my favorite business books is The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters. I read this book many years ago and have referred back to it on a regular basis. The book basically talks about the old saying "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well". But, Peters takes that idea to an even higher level. He talks about doing things in a way that a person would come away from the experience with the thought of Wow! He explains that if you are in charge of the office Christmas party, do the task at such a high level that those that attend come away with the feeling of Wow! what a party. Peters talks about applying this Wow! approach to any thing you do. The thought is so go above and beyond and even outside the box to provide an exceptional product.
I used this idea when approaching at least two promotional interviews during my career and believe those that interviewed me came away with the feeling of Wow! and promoted me. In preparation for those interviews I talked with district managers of the area that was covered by the new job. I talked with customers in that area to ask what is going well and what needed improved. I talked with employees on that team that I would manage. I talked with fellow managers about that position. I called and talked with anyone I could think that had been impacted or would be impacted by the position I was looking to get. When asked in the interview "How did you prepare for this interview?", I was able to Wow! them with my prep. The typical answer they heard was probably, "I reviewed the policy and procedures and memorized the mission statement". When I answered, I believe they would have said to themselves "Wow, This guy really wants this job".
I believe any new graduate, new employee or new entrepreneur could benefit from reading this book. You could use this practice of Wow! in any situation. You could use it at work, at church and at home. If you used this idea, you could create the best birthday or neighborhood party. You could put on the best program at church. You could run the best scout group or school PTA. You could put on the best cookout. I routinely have a Hotdog Extravaganza! It's a basic hotdog but it sounds better to call it an Extravaganza.
If you think about it the Wow! feeling does not come around often. One business that must use this concept is Chick-fil-a. You are greeted and treated very well, the food is good and they take care of you while you are there. The phrase "my pleasure" is uttered every time you thank them for bringing your order or refilling your drink. They come around to your table to ask if you need anything and refill your drinks. What other fast food chain does this? None that I know of. I think if you had never been to a Chick-fil-a and go in for the first time, I think you come out the door with the thought Wow! that was a great experience!
I recently had a Wow! experience at a Discount Tire store in Houston, TX. I had a large screw in my tire and needed a repair or a new tire. I was met at the car by a guy who was ready to take care of me. He looked at the tire and escorted me into the store. He provided top notch service and got my car right in for new tires. He had to order two and scheduled me for a return appointment. While I sat there looking into the shop through a large window I felt like I was watching a NASCAR pit crew. The workers were fast and efficient. They were getting cars in and out very fast. The shop was organized and super clean. Not your typical garage junk and gunk. While I was watching my car, the inside guy comes over to update me on my wait time. On my return trip to get the other two new tires, I noticed a long line of cars getting their air checked. The weather had turned cool overnight and I'm sure half of Houston had a low tire light on. This store provided a free air check. The worker was quickly going around each car and topping off the pressure and then on to the next one. What a Wow! The store owner was paying a guy to put air in your tire for free while you waited in the comfort of your car. The owner obviously was paying the employee to do something that brought no revenue in but was taking care of current and future customers. My two tires were put on in a flash and I was out of there. I told the inside supervisor how impressed I was with the operation and he immediately went out to the the shop who relayed the message to the owner or manager who looked pleased. I left a great online comment similar to the above words. I noticed a ton of accolades for the store and then one person who left a negative comment about the stool cushion not being soft enough. Of all the Wow! surrounding them, they found a tiny little thing to complain about because their seat wasn't soft enough.
These Wow! moments are rare and you can see how you could stand out if you made the effort to Wow! someone with your efforts. It is a great tactic that can be used in every aspect of your life. Last night my wife and I had a small Wow! moment. We are temporarily in Houston for my wife's cancer treatment. We are in a housing complex that gives free housing to patients. Most of the residents are cancer patients and transplant patients that need to be close to the hospitals for lengthy treatment. We have met some great people here and last night one couple invited us and another couple to their apartment for a Christmas dinner. We are all here with what we brought in our car or with things provided with the apartment. There is limited cooking supplies and space in the apartment. This couple put together a Wow! dinner. We arrived to their apartment to find a cooked turkey, a huge pan of dressing, a huge pan of green bean casserole, a huge pan of sweet potatoes, a huge pot of corn and rolls. They had a nice Christmas table cloth on the table and had a fire going on the TV with Christmas music. It was a great night of food and talking. They provided a Wow! dinner with limited resources and helped brighten our Christmas season under our current circumstance. Thanks Stan and Tammie!
Have you experienced a Wow! moment recently? Have you used this concept to provide a Wow! experience to an individual or group? Maybe you did something way over the top, like had a real elephant at your kid's birthday party! Tell me about your Wow! moments.