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How to Build Significant Business Value
Through Employee/Customer Interactions

"the ultimate branding/marketing/customer service program"

Do your customers see you as being in the "transaction business" or the "interaction business"?

Piloted in July, 2006 with Anheuser-Busch and based on published article:
WOWEDFactor: A Key to Business Differentiation
by Fred Firestone, Principal Ethical Selling Institute
Firestone Speaker Summary

Fred Firestone on WOWEDFactorSM Overview


Table of Contents
About Us
WOWEDFactor = Significant Differentiator
WOWEDFactor Sightings
Who Should Participate
Learning Focus
WOWEDFactor Presentations - Sampling of Testimonial Letters
WOWEDFactor in the News
Delivery Options

About Us

The Ethical Selling* Institute, a subsidiary of Sempact, Inc., provides training and speaking (keynotes, breakouts) services to companies and organizations on how to pullahead of the competition by building more Trust, Credibility and Partnership into their products and services. We believe that the ability of businesses and organizations to do so has much more to do with crucial interactions employees have with customers/clients/guests/patients than with what's in a mission statement or customer commitment policy. (Hereinafter, any reference to businesses should be read to include organizations and any references to customers should be read to include clients/guests/patients.)

*Our definition of selling is not the conventional one.  We take a broad look; it encompasses any interaction that influences perceptions of service image.  Thus, all people who have contact with customers would be involved in "selling."

Our clients include DuPont, Hewlett-Packard, 3M, AT&T, the United States Postal Service as well as Anheuser-Busch (sampling of client letters). They come to us sharing a philosophy:

  • They realize the path to differentiation is about providing customers with a more favorable experience than they would expect to get elsewhere. 
  • They believe that differentiation will never happen without the involvement and commitment of the people who make up their organization. 
  • They believe that there is little value in the typical lecture-type customer service training program. Rather, customer service training should take the form of a "service blue print," relying on the expertise, insights and experience of the people who make up their organization.
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WOWEDFactorSM = Significant Differentiator

Since our inception 21 years ago, we have continually found that businesses and organizations that successfully differentiate do so because of interactions their customers have with specific employees that are so significant they reach the WOWEDFactorSM level. 

Our WOWEDFactorSM definition: a personal experience a customer has with an employee of a business that is perceived by the customer to be so humanizing, engaging or connecting, that the customer's perception of that individual, and consequently the business, becomes significantly enhanced.

WOWEDFactorSM doesn't happen until it's happened Notice, we don't call it the WOWFactor. It's past tense intentionally. It doesn't exist until a customer perceives it to have happened to him or her.  A business can only say its objective is to build its value by having its customers experience the WOWEDFactorSM with its employees. A customer doesn't experience the
WOWEDFactorSM with ACME Tool and Rental; she experiences it with Pete, Judy or Tom who work for ACME Tool and Rental.  It's a personal experience and people have personal experiences with people -- not businesses. Thus, the extent to which businesses deliver the WOWEDFactorSM has everything to do with their employees and their crucial interactions with customers. The business-enhancing impact of doing so can be significant.

Research substantiates that the reasons why customers quit businesses have much more to do with not receiving the
WOWEDFactorSM than anything else.  A much-quoted survey of consumer habits shows that sixty-eight percent of all lost business results from the indifferent, uncaring attitudes of employees toward customers and only fourteen percent is lost because of product dissatisfaction.  The results on Why Customers Quit: 
  • 68 percent - indifferent attitude of employee
  • 14 percent - product dissatisfaction
  • 9 percent - competitive reasons
  • 5 percent - other friends
  • 3 percent - move away
  • 1 percent - die
If customers quit businesses in large part because of an attitude of indifference on the part of employees, it stands to reason that the antithesis, delivering the WOWEDFactorSM,  is a significant reason why customers stay.

WOWEDFactorSM Sightings of Fred Firestone, principal, Ethical Selling Institute
  • Harriet.  Four years ago, I was writing a column about a fast food restaurant that purported to have the best burger. Regardless of how good that burger was ... and it was better than most, it was not even on the WOWEDFactorSM radar screen because it was not a personal interaction that humanized, engaged or connected.   What was, however, was my experience with Harriet, the minimum wage server, who treated me like I was a guest in her home. WOWEDFactorSM delivered; business value enhanced. (Column: Harriet and the $6 Burger)
  • Brent.  My good friends' son was a front-desk clerk at an up-scale hotel in Denver.  A guest called the desk and was frantic because he was supposed to attend a black-tie event in a half hour and he had failed to pack his dress shoes.  All he had were his beat-up running shoes. He wanted to know where he could buy the shoes in the neighborhood.  Brent explained that there was no place nearby, but finding they wore the same size, offered to swap his own shoes for the night.  WOWEDFactorSM delivered; business value enhanced.
  • Evelyn. I pull up to the five-minute passenger pick up area at the airport.  I've been there many times before, and I'm use to hearing a harsh directive: "You've got to move your car now!"  Not this time.  A woman comes over to my car and introduces herself.  Evelyn asks me whom I'm picking up. "My wife," I answer. "Where has she been?"  Not what we're used to from security officials in our post-9/11 world. She leaves, and about five minutes later returns and nicely asks me to please move my car.  She says that she'll look for me when I circle back through.  She even asks me what my wife looks like so that she'll be able to alert her that I'm circling.  WOWEDFactorSM delivered; business value enhanced.
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Who Should Participate

WOWEDFactorSM: How to Build Significant Business Value Through Employee/Customer Interactions is about how businesses can ensure that more employees deliver more of the WOWEDFactorSM to more customers more often.  Therefore, all people who have contact with customers (and those who manage them) should participate.

Here are some some types of businesses/organizations whose front-line people's ability to deliver the WOWEDFactorSM could significantly influence business value through enhanced loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising:
  • Banks.  Teller's are the front-line interface.  Their ability to engage is crucial to building brand.
  • Hospitals.  In times of emotional stress, which really defines the hospital experience, patients and their families are looking to be engaged. Because of this heightened awareness, there are many opportunities for staff to build value through delivering the WOWEDFactorSM.
  • Call Centers.  Our July 2006 pilot for this seminar was at an A-B Call Center that sold promotional products.  Their results were significant: When their employees delivered the WOWEDFactorSM, value was built even before customers really knew all about their product offerings. Further, after delivery of WOWEDFactorSM, customers were more favorably predisposed to wanting to own more products and customers were more favorably pre-disposed to employee suggestions re those products.  In sum, when WOWEDFactorSM was delivered, sales increased.  (Note: This could also be applicable to Franchises where employees are in a position to make recommendation about products/services.)
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Learning Focus
Workshop has three components:

Component One: Differentiation of Products and Services
  • Product/service analysis -- the core and the value-added outer core
  • The only two things your customers are really buying
  • What customers are really buying whether it takes the form of a cheeseburger, a checking account or an automobile
  • Why there's no such thing as a commodity ... period
  • How outstanding service companies add value to their "commodities"
  • How to view every product and service from a "uniqueness" perspective
  • Why you don't want to do what everybody else is doing
  • How to enhance your company's ability to add significant value to its products/services
  • Why there is only one form of quality - what the customer says it is
  • The difference between "conformance" quality and "relative perceived" quality
  • How to redefine each element of your business in terms of customers perceptions of intangibles
  • How to use the ethicalfactor as the ultimate competitive advantage
  • The crucial moments of truth that influence your service image
  • How to exceed expectations on every moment of truth that impacts your service image
  • How to further differentiate your business significantly in the next two weeks and two months
  • What roadblocks get in the way of your exceeding customers' expectations and how they can be overcome
  • What are the differences between bad (not meeting expectations), good (meeting expectations) and beyond good (exceeding expectations) service
  • What factors cause customer loyalty
  • What's the difference between what the corporate handbook says your image is and what your customers perceive it to be
  • How customers feel when their expectations are not exceeded
  • Why the definition of service quality is never static
  • How to avoid "commodity" thinking, the sure-fire path to mediocrity
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Component Two: How to Sell More and Gain Market Share by Delivering the
  • How to recognize and deliver on WOWEDFactorSM opportunities
  • The business-building impact of delivering the WOWEDFactorSM
  • The single greatest untapped opportunity to pull ahead of the competition
  • Why anyone who interacts with a customer is an inextricable part of the product/service in the customer's mind
  • Why it matters more how things are said than what is said
  • Why people are the ultimate product/service differentiator
  • Why ownership needs to be broadly defined
  • What the transfer of "ownership" is all about
  • Why everybody who interfaces with a customer is involved in "selling" the organization
  • Why everybody in the organization sells
  • How to create experiences with every interaction
  • Why what employees say and how they say it, is more important than the effectiveness of a product or service to address customers' needs
  • Why customers quit/why customers stay
  • Why the fact that you've heard only a few customer complaints doesn't mean your customers are satisfied
  • The economics of customer retention and complaints
  • How complaint handling can be a tremendously effective means of differentiation
  • How to engage the "difficult to engage" with effective listening
  • Why delivering the WOWEDFactorSM results in your customers being more favorably pre-disposed to your product/service suggestions
  • Why with so much "quality-equality" in today’s market, delivering the WOWEDFactorSM could be the greatest opportunity to differentiate products and services
  • How to create a WOWEDFactorSM experience with every customer every time
  • How to look at every opportunity to deliver the WOWEDFactorSM and evaluate it
  • What steps to take to avoid being emotionally engaged by angry customers
  • How to determine where there is the greatest business-building value in delivering the WOWEDFactorSM
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Component Three: How to Develop a
WOWEDFactorSM Culture (for Managers)
  • How to establish a service culture that gives people tools to deliver the WOWEDFactorSM
  • How to establish a corporate culture where your employees convey more of the WOWEDFactorSM to more people
  • How to give employees (and customers) a "piece of the rock"
  • Where are you on the WOWEDFactorSM scale
  • How to drive a WOWEDFactorSM culture with effective coaching
  • How to drive a WOWEDFactorSM culture with a recognition system designed to  "Wow the Wowers" (e.g., company personalized WOWEDAMERICASM Employee Recognition Program -- see next section)

WOWEDFactorSM Presentations - Sampling of Testimonial Letters

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Arrow Limousine
Vistage International

St. Charles Chamber of Commerce
Florissant Valley Chamber of Commerce

WOWEDFactorSM in the News

Florissant Valley Chamber of Commerce
Missouri Career Center Workforce Weekly

Delivery Options

Delivered as both public seminar as well as in-house customized program (Anheuser-Busch pilot). Questions?
Call us at (314)863-4000.
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PullingAhead, EthicalFactor, WOWEDFactor and WOWEDAMERICA are service marks of Sempact, Inc.

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