James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

WOW working & WOW failing

Posted on | August 30, 2010 | No Comments

8 weeks on the road this summer I want to call my vacation, “In Search of WOW.”

It was amusing to see so many organisations from car rental companies to souvenir shops trying to cash in on the idea of providing a beyond expectation experience or WOW.

At times I actually wondered if Tom Peters had air dropped his library of books onto major tourist destinations.

What becomes very clear when I think back on my summer, in search of WOW, is that many organisations simply do not understand the DNA of WOW.

Take Royal Caribbean Cruises International as an example.

The Liberty of the Seas is an amazing cruise ship, home to a huge climbing wall, ice rink and a flowrider! If you look at stuff there is no question WOW is in the making, BUT WOW is more than stuff it is also the culmination of many subtle pieces such as employee attitude, general atmosphere and more. The funny thing about WOW is those little things become very significant when they are added to the larger experience.

So what knocked Royal Caribbean from the WOW podium? Melamine plates in the general eating area. Really! The sound of cutlery on glass, the way sauces pool and flow on a glass plate, the feel of a glass plate in hand are all pieces of the WOW puzzle. Flatware and china all make the difference in an eating experience and the calculus of melamine, staff, ship,entertainment and activities clearly said to me that Royal Caribbean International has not quite grasped what WOW is all about.

Lesson #12

Don’t throw the kitchen sink at WOW think of the details.

Chipotle Mexican Grill in NYC has WOW all figured out.

Chipotle is all about food with integrity!

Chipotle is fast food, no tables, paper and a cafeteria style service area.

But the food is good, the service is honest and the intention is genuine.

Lineup, music and design all come together to make it work and WOW.

Chipotle is WOW and I am not even sure they are looking to be.

Lesson #21

Don’t try to be WOW just do your best at what you do and WOW will follow.

WOW is out there, be honest with yourself and what you do and WOW will follow!

But try too hard to manufacture WOW and it will bite you and leave a bad taste in your customers mouth.


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