Brandon Schauer from over at my other company, Adaptive Path, has just published a sharp and informative essay on “The Long Wow,” an experience and design-driven approach to creating real customer satisfaction by building genuine, widespread, and lasting customer loyalty over time (hint: it’s not accomplished through “loyalty programs.”) As Brandon describes it:
Notably great experiences are punctuated by a moment of “wow,” when the product or service delights, anticipates the needs of, or pleasantly surprises a customer. OXO’s Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup triggers such a moment of wow. A set of angled markings on the OXO cup lets you quickly measure liquids for recipes without having to stop cooking and bend over. Suddenly a little part of your life is easier, because OXO thought carefully about the way you cook. This delightful surprise resonates because it feels tailored to your needs.
This essay resonates with the work we’re doing, because it speaks to those moments where companies genuinely interact with their customers — not as numbers in a spreadsheet or tables in a CRM database but as people with thoughts, concerns, feelings, and most importantly, a need for surprise, empathy, and delight.
With Satisfaction, we’re working to build a tool, a service, and an experience that allows companies to find ways to make these delightful moments more regular, more repeatable, more enticing — more “wow,” really. And longer-term, our goal is to create ways for companies that succeed in producing those wow moments to derive the maximum amount of value from them. We’re developing tools to help companies translate the effect of these wow moments into internally valuable and quantifiable benefits — not just increased sales, but also cost savings, marketing outreach, market research, future product development, and any other touchpoints we can find where consumer affection and joy can be funneled back into a company’s bottom line.
So customers are happy, because they get regular moments of surprise and delight from the companies and products they care about, and companies are happy because they’ve maximized the internal benefit of that experiential response, guaranteeing that they’re going to want to provide it again and again. Everybody wins!
The essay is well worth reading in its entirety. And best of all, the closest Brandon gets to mentioning Apple is the iPod+Nike sports kit no small feat when you’ve got as big and obvious an example as the entire iPod ecosystem (with its wildly dedicated fan base) looming right there in front of you.