• Hal Decker

The "WOW" Factor


An important aspect of experience design which can be applied in a variety of contexts and applications depending on the event concerned and the required outcome. In events, the "wow" factor refers to an impressive and impactful element of the design which is used by the designer to reinforce aspects of the attendant's experience, usually resulting in particular sensory stimulation (visual, auditory, etc) which can be used to facilitate memory formation and retention afterwards. Whilst popularly thought to require originality in creativity, the wow factor is usually produced using cues familiar to its receivers. What? Simply put, the designer, (restaurant, caterer, shoe store, car lot) shows or gives the attendant (customer) the service you advertise, and do it exceptionally well, which the customers remember. This triggers a positive and memorable experience for them. Each person has a different trigger to experience the "wow" factor. Maybe it is the food presentation on the plate, or maybe it is the attention to detail from the server, or maybe the deal you got on your new car, whatever it is, most people have one. Do not confuse this with perceived value or perception. Even though we deal with expectations of people all the time, the stimulation someone gets while experiencing the "wow" factor is the ultimate factor to retaining and attracting new customers.


For me as a chef, it was all about customer service, plate presentation, food quality, health and sanitation, cleanliness, interaction, and professionalism.

But now, I need to "wow" you with my knowledge and experience through my blogs and recipes. So how do you know what stimulates new customers? You do not. That is why it is important to make sure that all the elements of their experience while in your care are good enough or consistent to make him remember those experiences with you. If you succeed, then you gained a repeat customer. I can tell you from experience, that some may need more than what you are offering to experience it, or some may not experience it at all. This is due, (I believe) to the high expectations that is placed before them, so that their level of satisfaction is raised. Even if those expectations are met, some still may not experience the "wow" factor. This is unfortunate. So, what do you do? You keep doing what made you successful. Be consistent. A study done on customer service shows that if you can maintain a 93-95% positive response rate, you will be successful. There is not a company in the world that has a 100% customer satisfaction rate. So, if you are "wowing" 93-95% of your customers, you are doing good. Businesses are successful because they give good customer service and give the customer the "wow' factor" If you don't, simply put, you will fail.