I went out for lunch one day and saw a menu item I liked that contained three different types of salads. I loved two of them, but wasn’t crazy about the third and asked the server if I could substitute that one for another salad.
Here’s the conversation that ensued:
Me: “Can I substitute that last salad for a different one?”
Server: “I don’t think so.”
Me: “You don’t think so – or you’re sure you can’t?”
Server: “I’m pretty sure you can’t do that.”
Me: “Well, can you ask someone and find out for sure? I don’t want the third salad and won’t order this menu item if I can’t substitute, but I’d like to know.”
She (reluctantly) went to the cooks and asked… lo and behold, the answer was yes!
The most frustrating fact was that not only was it like pulling teeth just to get her to double-check her facts on her own products… but afterward, there was no apology, and not even a glimmer of hope that she’d learned from this situation and would proactively check her facts in the future.
The same concept holds true for our service to co-workers. If, for example, a co-worker relies on you to provide information, a report, or other item on a regular basis in order to help them do their job on time, don’t make them ask you for it every time. Add a calendar reminder for the deliverables you owe them. But don’t add it on the day it is due – be proactive and add it to calendar for two days earlier. Not only will it be a nice gift for your co-worker to actually get the needed information ahead of time, but that built-in “cushion” of time could prevent either of you from missing your deadline by allowing for unforeseen delays in other areas.
Even better, you will create a WOW that will come back to you in positive ways in the future.
So if you want to WOW your customers – and co-workers – try to think proactively about what they want, what you can do about it, and how you can go about getting it for them, if at all possible, before they have to ask for it at all… but especially before they have to ask for it twice…