I once ordered 1,000 business cards, requesting lamination on only one side because I like writing notes on the backs of business cards (don’t you?) – and you can’t write on a laminated card.
The company from whom I ordered the cards had a big snafu, delaying the cards by almost a month! In an effort to do the right thing and make up for causing me to miss a big deadline, and assuming that I’d requested lamination on only one side for cost purposes, the company did me the “favor” of laminating BOTH sides of the card without charging me extra for it.
The result? By assuming that everyone would want to laminate both sides if they had the opportunity, they gave me 1,000 cards that didn’t benefit me.
This forced me into another decision: either take the cards and be unhappy, or feel badly about asking for new cards… and about having to wait another week or so for them to be reproduced the way I wanted them. So, I kept the cards, and was frustrated literally 1,000 times after that (every time I gave one out and wanted to write on it).
The moral of the story: Be sure the WOW you provide to customers is one they’d want to have… and not just one you ASSUME they’d want to have – which could actually turn out to be an “OW” instead.
By the way, this also applies to employees and co-workers – what do they really want? Find out… you’ll be glad you asked before doing something they don’t appreciate, and then feeling a little un-appreciated yourself as a result.