Making Customer Delight a Priority in Your Business

Customer Delight

When was the last time you were delighted as a customer?

Was it a smooth-as-silk purchase experience? Or perhaps a quick chat with a rep who made you laugh? Chances are, you can recall the details pretty easily, as well as the business (and even the rep) who delighted you.

Customer delight is big business but it isn’t always easy. If wowing your customers and clients is important to you, there’s no need to guess about whether your efforts are working…or to make it up as you go along.

In this roundup we’ll take you on a guided tour of the articles you’ll want to read on the techniques and mindsets that will improve how you measure, design, and amp up your customer delight efforts — along with a few inspirational examples for good measure.

Here are your 5 keys to unlocking customer delight:

1. Understand the ROI of Customer Delight

Larger companies enjoy resources that smaller businesses do not, but they might not have much of a leg up when it comes to pleasing customers.

Customer care that’s personable and flexible — the cornerstone of delight — does not depend on size, says marketing manager Rob Wormley.

In fact, small businesses can see incredible growth when they invest in customer care. If you need convincing, check out Why Your Small Business Needs To Be Investing In Customer Delight,” for WhenIWork.

The statistics Wormley cites are compelling: 86% of customers will stop doing business with companies who don’t have good service, but 55% percent of customers would pay more if it meant they’d be promised better service.

Convinced? Then you should check out his list of 6 principles of customer delight — essential ideas to keep in mind as you work to make your investment profitable.

The key takeaway: a personalized experience. Something smaller businesses can excel at. Wormley points out that part of what lifts customer satisfaction into delight is that our experience is different from the the rest of the crowd.

Wormley makes the case that investing in customer delight goes a long way towards making your business memorable. In a crowded playing field, that’s no small thing. This intriguing and informative article can make you a believer that customer care deserves to be on your 2016 priority list.

2. Engineer a “Chocolate Pudding” Experience

Exceeding customer expectations. It’s the goal for every business, of course.

But as communications expert Maya S. Horowitz points out, there’s more than one school of thought on how to please customers. In her insightful piece for TalkDesk, Is Your Customer Experience Delightful or Effortless? she explains two important dimensions to the customer experience.

First up is customer delight — and it’s what we probably all think of when we think of customer service: personalized services that makes us smile. But don’t forget the customer effort dimension — making all interactions with your business efficient and effortless.

Focus on one at the expense of the other, she warns, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.

Horowitz lays out examples for all the permutations, starting with high-effort/low-delight — the worst of all possible worlds — where a long time on-hold with customer support results in a surly phone rep and no helpful answers. The ideal, of course is low-effort/high-delight, which she calls “floating in a pool of chocolate pudding.”

Horowitz is most helpful when she unpacks the support options that stop short of the holy grail — breaking down the middle-of-the-road options where most businesses tend to operate. While all companies have ambitions for 5-star service, the reality is that our budgets require us to make conscientious decisions in how we invest in customer service. Horowitz’s charts can help us think carefully about the tradeoffs.

If you’re planning improvements to your customer service, the delight/effort spectrum is an excellent framework to keep in mind as you build out your options. This article should be required reading for all team members who have a hand in optimizing the customer experience.

3. Set Your Bar Higher Than It Has To Be

Chef & TV personality Anthony Bourdain doesn’t pull many punches when he critiques restaurants. But after touring Seattle’s famous Pike Place neighborhood eateries, he gave an odd, but heartfelt compliment: the food was “better than it had to be.”

What did he mean by that?

As business consultant Micah Solomon explains in his article A Customer Experience Secret, Seattle-Style for Forbes, restaurants with great location or views can get by with serving average food. And foot-traffic that mostly comes from tourists translates to a steady stream of non-repeat buyers. If that’s the case, why bother to go out of your way to impress?

The implications for all business — not just restaurants — are clear: if you make working with your company “better than it has to be” for your customers, you have a compelling way to differentiate yourself from competitors. Solomon says it’s the path to a sustainable, profitable — and remarkable brand.

Need examples outside the restaurant business? Solomon offers several and breaks down what — and how — they exceed customer expectations.

Do you see an example your business could emulate? This is an interesting concept to explore. If you want your customers to say, “This was better than I expected!” — this is a great article to spark your creativity.

4. Harness the Power of Design Thinking

Ready to give your customer experience an extreme makeover? Take a quick lesson from how a Silicon Valley software company handled their own transformation.

Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, recently revamped their business strategy in a big way — rethinking everything from product features to customer service. Business coach Marti Konstant tell us that how Intuit approached their transformation has lessons for businesses of any size — and any niche.

In 3 Lessons Re: Design Thinking and Customer Delight for 360Connext, Konstant streamlines her insight into three pieces of advice.

She highlights the most important step first: don’t hurry your way through the improvement process or focus on quick fixes. Intuit used the design thinking process — a methodology and set of tools to dig deep into customer experience — to uncover issues they wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise.

The other two tips focus on adopting the customer’s perspective and making decisions to optimize all the hard work you’re doing in the transformation process.

If design thinking intrigues you — or you’re looking for some fresh inspiration for invigorating your customer experience. This article — and its links — offer great food for thought.

5. Recognize the Impact of a Single Interaction

She wasn’t a fan of the coat she bought, but now she’s a customer for life.

The apparel site Zulily is having a good month, after a generous — and touching — exchange between a customer and a customer service rep went viral on Facebook. Mallory Schlossberg gives us the details in Zulily Had a Great Response After a Customer Tried to Return a Coat for Business Insider.

When customer Kelly Blue Kinkel called to return a coat she ordered, her refund was processed quickly. But pleasure turned into delight when the rep told her not to return the coat — but to do something else with it instead. (Have a look to see what the rep suggested.)

Kinkel posted about her experience on Facebook and the post went viral with over 52,000 shares and 100,000 likes — and articles in local and national press.

For the price of a coat, Zulily basked in positive press and delighted public sentiment. How’s that for ROI?

This is an inspirational example of how a tiny exchange — and a single customer experience — can enhance both brand reputation and the bottom line. Not all customer service efforts will go viral, but earning a reputation for delight seems worth it.

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