5 Simple Tricks to Mastering Customer Delight

Nearly everyone that has worked in the business world in any capacity is familiar with the phrase "customer satisfaction.” Even if he or she does not understand what it means, they have a vague understanding that it is a good thing to achieve. In recent years, a newer phrase has emerged - "customer delight."

Many assume customer delight to be little more than marketing nonsense and a synonym to customer satisfaction. In fact, they are highly differentiated. Is it any wonder that many businesses and professionals have difficulty delivering delight?

Customer satisfaction - in the traditional and modern sense - just means that a business or worker has provided a customer with the bare minimum that a brand promises and has fulfilled a minimum threshold obligation.

That is it!

In sharp contrast, customer delight considers satisfaction to be its foundation. Customer delight elevates satisfaction and pulls the customer into an emotional state that drives differentiation from competitors, increases loyalty and exceeds expectations.

A consumer will express her or his loyalty when she or he is experiencing a raised emotional state by communicating the positive experience to others. Marketers will recognize customer delight for what it is - the positive side of word-of-mouth marketing.

Understanding the difference between satisfaction and delight provides the "training" necessary to be able to master this critical CX (customer experience) aptitude.

Here's the truth: mastering customer delight is not difficult, but it does take work to get there. There are countless tricks and strategies to evolve an organization and its workers away from focusing on customer satisfaction into entities that achieve delight.

Let's explore five such "tricks."

1. Lead from the Top!

Customer delight is not a buzzword. To become sustainable over time, it should be a critical component of an organization's cultural narrative. Further, to become successful, it must be a top-down initiative. Executives should lead by example and offer the proverbial blueprint. Workers should easily be able to emulate the words and actions of the top brass so that they can execute the same when caring for the customers that they serve. Moreover, delivering customer delight should be a daily aspiration. In doing so, it will organically become a driving force behind each element of an organization’s culture and core values.

2. Listen!

Understanding consumer behavior - let alone understanding how to satisfy and delight customers - involves more than talking at consumers. That is a one-sided conversation. In contrast, effective communication requires two parties. It means listening to customers. An adage of writing is to “always get a second pair of eyes to review your work.” Applying this same rationale to customers could earn a company thousands, if not millions, of “eyes” to help an organization to break free of its silo and deliver services and products that are revolutionary.

A 2012 study by Echo for American Express demonstrated that an opportunity exists - only 7% of consumers feel that their service experiences with companies exceed their expectations. At a minimum, there are 93% are either only being satisfied - or are not satisfied - with their current service experiences.

3. Give More!

Do not take customers for granted. When a business listens to customers, it should become evident that despite the praise we give ourselves regularly, we are not doing enough to delight our valued customers. This is not a single organization challenge. It is market-wide. Businesses that aspire to deliver customer delight should understand what the competition is doing to provide it and then give more. Why? Doing so will differentiate your business from the competition. You will be top-of-mind for a consumer’s next purchasing decision.

A 2012 study by Echo for American Express revealed some startling statistics. A shockingly low 22% of respondents believed that businesses valued their business and went the extra mile. Only 43% thought that companies are helpful but don’t do anything extra to keep their business. A full 22% believed that organizations took their business for granted. These stats should give every professional a moment of pause. Interestingly, two-thirds of consumers are willing to spend more with a business that delivers top-tier service. Give them a reason to do so! Customer delight is not only the right thing to do; but it is also a market differentiator that can and will drive revenue.

Delivering high ESAT scores help companies to overcome challenges when they occur inevitably. How? Customer loyalty. Consumers are willing to forgive missteps when, on average, companies go the extra mile to deliver delight.

4. Increase ESAT!

Did you know that a 2013 Gallup poll revealed that only 13% of workers at engaged at work? If that statistic does not resonate, how about these stats from the same survey: 63% are not engaged; 24% are actively disengaged. Recall from the previous section: only “22% of respondents believed that businesses valued their business and went the extra mile.” Do you notice the parallel? Simply put: low ESAT (Employee Satisfaction) scores make delivering customer delight almost impossible. When disengaged workers struggle with feeling that leadership has not met basic professional needs; they do not have the emotional energy in reserve that is required to delight customers.

It is that simple. ESAT (AKA Employee Satisfaction) is not fluffy, feel good science. Not only does it have an impact on an organization’s ability to drive customer delight, it plays a foundational role in increasing stock price. Sound ridiculous? Since 1998, companies featured on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list have realized 10.8% increases to their respective stocks, per year on average. This helps companies to overcome challenges when they occur inevitably. How? Customer loyalty. Consumers are willing to forgive missteps when, on average, companies go the extra mile to deliver delight.

5. Report!

Seeking to deliver ever-increasing levels of customer delight and actually doing so are distinct. One way to help lift the latter is for a business to report its CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and NPS (Net Promoter Score) percentages. Why? It holds both the organization and its workers accountable to consumers. Anecdotally, most of us know that customer delight impacts organization’s bottom lines, but we’re not sure how to metricize it. CSAT and NPS are such metrics we can use. Further, they can provide insights or provoke further questions as to how an organization can improve in its efforts to increase delight.

For instance, for NPS surveys where the average is below 9 (out of a 10-point scale), thoughtful leaders should ask, “How and why are we not exceeding expectations?” “What can we do about it?” “What improvements to our offerings should we implement that would lift those scores?” “How can our organization provide a higher-quality service experience for you?” Answer those questions and you might just earn your next customer delight success story.

A 2012 study by Echo for American Express demonstrated that an opportunity exists - only 7% of consumers feel that their service experiences with companies exceed their expectations. At a minimum, there are 93% are either only being satisfied - or are not satisfied - with their current service experiences.

References

1. "Customer Delight: 5 Steps To Deliver Engaging Experiences." Customer Delight: 5 Steps To Deliver Engaging Experiences. Neosperience, 25 May 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016
2. Ehrlichman, Matt. "The 8 Principles of Customer Delight." Inc.com. Mansueto Ventures LLC, 04 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
3. Bhasin, Hitesh. "Five Levels of Customer Satisfaction." Marketing91.com. MARKETING91, 5 July 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
4. Zwilling, Martin. "6 Steps To Refocus Your Business On Customer Delight." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
5. O'Sullivan, Loree McDonald. "8 Steps to Customer Delight." Everything You Want to Know about Customer Experience! Satmetrix Systems, Inc., 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
6. "2012 Global Customer Service Barometer." (2012): n. pag. American Express & Echo, 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
7. Morgan, Blake. "Happy Employees Equals Happy Customers." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 May 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
8. Gallup, Inc. "Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work." Gallup.com. Gallup, Inc., 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

Michael Buenaventura

November 21, 2016