Anyone can deliver average. Few deliver exceptional.

Recently, we went out for a night on the town and, as has become our routine, we called an Uber. The Uber driver checked all the usual boxes: was nice, had a clean car, got us there safely, played decent music, etc. A significant improvement from a typical taxi, but nothing special.

As the night came to a close, we called another Uber driver to take us home. We got in the minivan expecting the usual experience but really, at that point, only needing the bare minimum… just get us home safely.

What we stepped into was an experience we will never forget.

Our driver, Wyel, greeted us as we got in and immediately as the doors closed, turned on Journey – Don’t Stop Believing. “Good choice!”, we said. Then, seeing we’d play along, he cranked up his sound system so that the music filled every corner of the car. “Oh yeah, this is awesome!”, we said to each other through an approving look. He then proceeded to turn on under-seat, multi-colored lighting that changed with the beat. “Whaaat?? This is ah-mazing!” We had just enough liquid courage in us to sing along with him at the top of our lungs. He proceeded to start singing and playing air drums like it was his job. He then turned around and invited us into this experience even further by handing us a karaoke mic. “C’mon… is this real?!?!” I took the mic as though I’d been invited on stage and sang like my life depended on it. In an instant, I.became.Steve Perry.

Never, until this moment, did I care about an Uber ride ending. But when Wyel pulled up to our house, we secretly wanted him to keep driving. Our voices were just getting warmed up.

As we got out of the car, he handed us a business card that described him as simply, “The Uber Man”. Of course you are, we thought.

We walked away changed. That experience raised the bar for every other Uber driver. And we have told this story certainly more than once to all our friends.

This got me thinking about how important it is to differentiate yourself. In Charleston, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Uber drivers. And we’ve used a bunch of them. They are all doing their job, no doubt, but they don’t stand out.

Wyel stood out.

There are three basic responses a client can have to your service:

  • Disappointed – they get less than what they expected
  • Satisfied  – they get what they expected
  • Wow’d – they get more than what they expected

Only at two of the levels will you be talked about to their friends – when they are disappointed in you and when you wow them. If you Uber me home safe, I’m probably not going to tell anyone about you, or really even remember you because you did just what was expected. But, if you play Journey at a club volume level, put on multi-colored lights and hand me a mic, now I’m talking…

Many of you reading this are in an area saturated with competition. Not only are you having to compete with other CrossFit gyms, but also with all the other fitness places out there, as well as online fitness programs. It’s a tough world to win in unless… you stand out.

Here are a few lessons I learned from Wyel on wow’ing customers and being memorable:

    • Think about what your customers really want – while I do want a safe ride home, what would be awesome (and something I probably don’t even know I want) is an experience, something to tell a story about.
    • Make them feel like a hero – in that moment, the moment of them receiving your service, they are the ones who have to feel like they matter. When he handed me that mic, the hero spotlight felt like it was shining bright on me.
    • It doesn’t take much – I checked on Amazon and, for less than $50, Wyel’s minivan became a mobile rockin’ party.
    • It’s often just the little things – know their name, smile at them, ask questions to show interest, follow up, answer your phone, have spotless bathrooms, etc.
    • It’s all about the relationship – once you have a good product (and that’s important first because if you don’t have a good product, they won’t trust you), go out of your way to invest in the relationship.

We’ve created a course in Hub that’s called “How to Create Wow Experiences”. It’s specific to the gym industry, gives you practical tips and ideas, and walks you through evaluating and improving each client touchpoint. In it, we help you unpack every step of a client’s journey (see image below). 

In the meantime, no need to get overwhelmed thinking you need to change everything all at once. Just pick one thing you offer and begin to layer in the wow.

And see if people don’t start talking.

Your goal?

Make them feel like Steve Perry, if only for a minute, and just give them something (good) to talk about.