The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Increase customer satisfaction with the WOW effect

Sometimes it’s the little things that earn you points with your customers or peers; the WOW effect is one of those things. Jasmin Bergeron, an expert in the area, speaker and marketing professor at UQAM, offers a few ideas for making the WOW effect part of your ongoing business relationships.

The WOW effect is…

-       A reaction of surprise and awe from people you deal with.

-       A secret weapon for generating customer loyalty. It’s not a sales pitch.

-       Something you can use on anyone, in any situation, even in your personal life.

Three ways to create the WOW effect

1. Manage expectations.

How many times have you heard, “It won’t be long” or “We’ll get back to you soon”? And how many times have you been irritated because the actual wait is much longer? The tendency in most businesses is to overpromise, when you may have no control over commitments. And yet, these expectations create stress for you and disappointment among the people you deal with.

Let’s take the opposite example of successfully managing expectations. gives customers a delivery time of six to nine days. Generally, items are delivered in three days. How do you think customers react? They are astonished with the speed of the service and perceive it as efficient.

The moral of the story? Promise less but deliver more. The idea is to limit expectations to create a pleasant surprise at your ability to deliver a product or service.

Plus, adapt to your target market: understand what “divine” and “fantastic” mean to them.

2. Manage perceptions.

Are you doing something for your customer? Tell them, honestly and enthusiastically. Let’s say you went above and beyond basic service and studied their needs to offer the best response possible to a request. The day you deliver your results, will you say: “Here are your options” or “I thoroughly studied your case to figure out what works best for you and here is what I came up with…”?

By talking up your efforts to satisfy your customer, you are pointing to their value – and, in turn, your company’s value – and you avoid the frustration of not having your professional efforts recognized.

3. Work on your last impression.

Generally, plenty of effort goes into the first impression, but not the last. Of course, how you start off is important, but the final impression has to have even more impact than the first.

For example, you are watching a movie that has you enthralled … until the ending, which you don’t think was very good. What is your reaction? You are probably disappointed, and wouldn’t recommend it. On the other hand, the finale at fireworks displays is always impressive. You leave wowed.

The moral of the story? The overall assessment of the customer experience relates more to what we experience at the end than at the beginning. A tip: the idea is to reassure your customers in their choices and cheer them on.

Here are examples of a good last impression:

-       Sales: someone comes in to buy a gallon of interior paint. What do you say? You applaud them on taking care of their condo: it will make it easier to sell.

-       Meetings: are you in the habit of including the item “New business” at the end of the agenda? You are taking a chance that someone weighs in on a topic that makes them angry. Place new business in the middle of the meeting so you can end on a high note, for instance by recognizing good work, which will leave co-workers upbeat.

The WOW effect is a way of building loyalty among your customers and strengthening your business relationships by managing expectations, perceptions and the last impression you make. Now it’s up to you! How will you apply the WOW effect in future business meetings?

Register for the next training on the WOW effect

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