Well, here’s an example from Orange County, FL sub-contractors who WOWed both my husband Bruce and me yesterday. This example fits perfectly into the template I call “The 1-2-3’s of Doing More Than Appease” – here’s what happened:
Last week, Orange County hired sub-contractors to replace the sidewalks in front of several homes in our neighborhood. They finished up last Friday, and the sidewalks look great.
However, our sprinklers came on (overnight) on Saturday night, and when we went outside on Sunday morning, the driveway and lawn were soaked, and water was still dribbling out of the system. My husband dug up the area to find that the sub-contractors had inadvertently broken one of our buried sprinkler pipes, which had then gushed out who-knows-how-much water overnight while the system was on.
We called Orange County bright and early Monday morning to ask what could be done to rectify the situation. Here’s how their WOW fits into the template (as a reminder, the template is based on 3 questions we can ask in any service situation):
1. What can I do now? (This is the bare minimum and is usually done, to appease someone, even if not in a WOW manner.)
What Orange County did: When Bruce called, they immediately said they’d take care of it and have someone get back to us. Less than 5 minutes later, as Bruce was telling me about his call to the County, the phone rang… the County was already calling back to say they would send the sub-contractor back out to fix it that day! Then, just as Bruce was hanging up from talking to the County rep, we heard a noise outside. We looked out and saw a truck and 5 guys outside our home, already taking care of the problem! (Apparently, the sub-contractors were in the area and came right over to fix it immediately.)
2. What else can I do now? (Most people ask and answer the first question and consider their job done; but to create WOW experiences, we must go further, to this second question.)
What Orange County did: The speed of their response was WOW enough, but the sub-contractors even went further than that. Not only did they replace the pipe, but they replaced the sprinkler heads with new ones, even though the old ones weren’t damaged. They wanted to give us brand new ones for our “inconvenience.”
3. What else can I do later… or FOR later? (This final step is where we cement the WOW experience and go way over and above.)
What Orange County did: Here’s where it gets even better! When we turned on the system to test the pipe and sprinkler heads to be sure everything was working and nothing leaked, one of the men noticed that we had a broken sprinkler head in the middle of our lawn that was spraying water everywhere (occasionally the lawn mower hits them and breaks them). Even though they had nothing to do with that, they said to Bruce, “We have an extra sprinkler head with us. Do you want us to replace that one for you?”
And then, it even gets better than that! When we asked about the wasted water and what it would do to our water bill, the County said they’d take care of any overage in our bill that showed up as a result of the water loss!
WOW! Within 15 minutes of making our initial call, we not only had the problem fixed, but another problem we didn’t even know about (and would have had to pay for separately) corrected, as well. And, we were also assured we didn’t have to worry about the water bill that would result from the problem.
Their attention to detail, competence at their jobs, and observation skills all contributed to the WOW they created for us. And while many people have all those skills, not everyone does something about them… or tries to go above and beyond even what’s technically their “responsibility.”
Accidents happen, even to the best of us. But it’s what we do when things go wrong that often say more about us than what we do when everything goes according to plan. Kudos to Orange County and their sub-contractors for hiring people who not only do their jobs well, but who care enough for others to go above and beyond their “formal” responsibilities to help them out… and think ahead to prevent even one minute of worry on the part of their customers.