Stop Trying To WOW Your Customers

by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor

I READ so many posts on how to WOW your customers.  Why you need to WOW your customers to get them back.  How to outshine your competitors by providing a WOW factor.  Baloney.  How about just getting the basics right?

Service has become so shoddy in recent years that I am WOWed when nothing goes wrong.

Case in point.  Yesterday I stopped at a gas station to fill the car’s tank.  The pump refused my cc and said I should see the attendant.  Mildly irked I went inside and stood in a line behind 5 others waiting for the one attendant to stop chatting up a cute girl.  When I finally made it to the front, I explained the problem and the conversation went like this:

ServiceMe:  The pump won’t take my cc and said I should see you.
Attendant:  How much gas do you want?
Me:  I want to fill the tank, so I don’t know the amount.
Attendant:  I can’t authorize the pump without a specific $ amount.
Me:  I don’t know the amount.
Attendant:  Then I can’t release the pump.
Me:  I guess I’ll go spend my money at another station.
Attendant:  Whatever floats your boat sport.  Please get out of the line.

So, I went down the street where the pump took my cc.  However, it had no paper in the printer so it wouldn’t provide the promised receipt.

Last week we took some friends to an upscale restaurant.  The food was mediocre, the service abominable, and the martini perhaps the worst I’ve ever had.

I, like most of your customers, don’t come to your business to be WOWed.  We come to get the basic product or service that you say you provide.  Stop spending your time and effort on concocting some WOW factor and get down to doing the basics correctly all the time.  That will really WOW me and most of you other customers.

Doing the basics will create repeat business, put you ahead of your competition, and even give your employees a pride factor.

So what are you doing to WOW your customers?  Does your business do the basics right all the time?  Are you sure?  How do you know?  Most disappointed customers do not complain, they just don’t come back to you.


Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.

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  1. What I learned in the Marine Corps and was engrained and reinforced even further during the Disney Institute was the idea of intense attention to detail and keeping the basics. We tend to over complicate things and that’s what messes things up. Yes I strive for excellence and I do this in doing the basics to the best they can be in order to stand out.

  2. Hello Ken,

    “Stop spending your time and effort on concocting some WOW factor and get down to doing the basics correctly all the time. That will really WOW me and most of you other customers.”

    But that is the problem, employers don’t know how to hire employees who do the basics correctly all the time.