Tenor saxophoneThis week’s mini-series deals with the idea of the Wow! experience – literally an experience that makes you go ‘Wow! That was great!’ Later in the week we’ll look at the Wow! Awards which contain the most comprehensive examples, in the UK at least. First  I wanted to share my own recent Wow! that shows that sometimes it’s the little things – the basics, you might say – that make a customer experience superior.

My son is lucky enough to have the loan of a tenor saxophone (an Elkhart if you’re interested in these things) from one of his music teachers. It’s a fairly old one and came with a fairly old-fashioned case – stout enough to protect it but not easy to carry around on the school bus, so we invested in one that he could carry rucksack-style.

After the usual Google search we found a model at Woodwind & Brass Ltd, ordered online and it arrived in good time – all in all a perfectly standard, functional online experience. Unfortunately one of the straps broke after 3 weeks of not-very-intensive use – thus negating the reason we had bought it in the first place.

Apprehensively – since I had only had one previous functional transaction with Woodwind & Brass Ltd and I had no idea how easy they would be to deal with when things went wrong – I e-mailed their sales department, enclosing a photo to illustrate what had happened. Within an hour their sales agent Hatty had e-mailed back to ask when it would be convenient to have it picked up and the following day Business Post arrived as arranged. She also suggested a couple of other makes we might be interested in as a replacement.

Following Hatty’s recommendation I found a different make and model on their site and placed the order the same day (Friday). Today I had an e-mail confirming that the new case had been dispatched by UPS and would be with us tomorrow.

What makes this a Wow! experience is that – in the generally costly world of woodwind instruments – this is a relatively low value transaction but the speed of response and the care taken to make sure I got a replacement made what might have been an arduous process seem quite enjoyable. And Woodwind & Brass retained my business: I was originally planning to replace the case with a different make that they didn’t stock but their attention to detail made me take the time to see if they could satisfy my requirements, which they did.

The clinical efficiency of Amazon and other online giants leads us to expect nothing more than functional service from online retailers but, in the case of Woodwind & Brass a little bit of personal attention moves the experience from merely functional to superior or Wow!