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Customer Delight: The New Standard in Customer Service

Sean Peek
Sean Peek

To delight a customer is to provide the unexpected. Here are four key principles to providing a delightful customer service experience.

On the face of it, the use of "customer delight" as opposed to "customer satisfaction" to describe the new standard in customer service might seem just the latest fad terminology or buzzword. Customer delight is the highest level of customer satisfaction that can be achieved and when used effectively can help boost brand loyalty among your customer base. However, some argue it's more cost-effective to avoid bad service rather than provide top-tier service. There's even an argument that the purpose of business is not to satisfy the customer, but rather to satisfy all stakeholders in the business.

What is customer delight and why is it important?

Customer delight is more than just making a customer satisfied with your products or services. Customer delight occurs when the client's expectations are exceeded. Expectations are surpassed when a customer is delighted, and the positive experience could help improve brand loyalty.

FYIFYI: Free surprise gifts with any purchase and birthday coupons are two examples of ways a company can achieve customer delight.

Who is responsible for delighting customers?

All employees and managers play a part in delighting customers. Collaborative efforts can keep customer delight high. Keep in mind that a company shouldn't try too hard and go overboard to achieve customer delight. Free products, refunds and free services only marginally improve brand loyalty. Aim to delight your customers, but don't get taken advantage of in the process.

What does it truly mean to provide delight to your customers?

 

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7 key principles to customer delight

1. Understand the difference between customer satisfaction and customer delight.

You satisfy your customers when you give them something they expect. You delight them when you give them something they didn't expect.

The classic example is the auto repair service that washes your car when they're done fixing it. You go to pick up your car and, wow, it not only runs better, but it also looks great. Most people don't leave the auto repair shop with a smile on their face; you can change that.

Here's another example: a customer calls to complain about a product defect. You satisfy the customer when you immediately offer to have the customer return the defective product and replace it at no charge, with no return shipping costs. You delight the customer when you add a $25 gift certificate toward the purchase of another of your products.

Steve Curtan, author of Delight Your Customers, says that 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, but only 8% of customers think so. You want your customers to have no doubt, no matter what else happens, that you went beyond the call of duty to take care of them.

2. Develop a knowledgeable customer service staff.

You can tell when a customer service representative is scrolling through a screen to find the answer to your question. When customers call customer service, they expect to reach someone who is knowledgeable and able to resolve their issues. [Explore the costs of training your customer service team].

Customer service staff must be sufficiently competent to provide some "wow factor," pleasantly surprising the customer with:

  • Speed of response
  • Not having the customer waiting on hold; not having them navigate complicated voice prompts to talk to a representative
  • Immediate identification of the problem and a responsive solution
  • A display of technical/professional knowledge that indicates the representative clearly knows what to do and how to do it
  • The ability to get something done without needing to consult a manager or colleague

3. Surprise your customers. Do the unexpected.

If you're late paying your bill, it's no surprise when you get a reminder that you're overdue. But, wouldn't you be pleasantly surprised if you received a letter or email out of the blue to thank you for your regular prompt payment (along with a coupon for 10% off your next order)?

Turn the mundane into a unique experience through surprise and delight marketing, which involves finding ways to exceed customers' expectations without asking for anything in return. When a business uses this method of marketing, 90% of consumers develop an elevated positive perception of the brand.

4. Let Maya Angelou be your guide.

Maya Angelou was a poet, not a business person, but business people like to repeat her quote: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

5. Gather feedback on your business’ customer delight.

A great way to assess your customer delight over your products and services is to use a customer delight index. You can use a wide range of feedback tools, such as interviews, surveys and focus groups to measure your success.

No matter what tools you use, however, make sure to ask customers for their feedback on your product or service quality, communication, friendliness and customer support. This will help you to continually improve your business and increase your customer delight moving forward.

6. Solve your customers' problems, in the present and the future.

Offer solutions to your potential and current customers' problems, or help them to achieve a goal. Make sure your solutions are personalized to fit their individual needs and preferences.

While quick and effective customer solutions are great in the short term, it is important to go beyond immediate solutions to provide customers with information, ways to help them manage their challenges, and — if possible — teach them to do so on their own. This can help you solve your customers' future problems too.

TipTip: Provide your customers educational resources, recommendations and tools for success by writing educational blog posts, sharing tips on social media and creating a self-service knowledge base.

7. Be timely in your responses.

A big part of customer delight is making sure you respond to your customers quickly. This lets them know that you care and addressing their questions or concerns is a priority for you. Even if the issue is not one that you can solve right away, letting your customers know you are working on it will show them that you are listening to them and care about their satisfaction.

A great tool to use for maintaining customer relationships is customer relationship management (CRM) software. The best CRM solutions help record and log all emails and other forms of communication, as well as set up reminders to check in with customers who are having specific issues. You can also use tools like a shared inbox, which is used for conversational marketing, and sync it with your customer service cases and your CRM so you can be up-to-date with all communications.

What is an example of customer delight?

Customer delight can be achieved through marketing promotions. For instance, sending a surprise gift with every purchase could produce customer delight. Mailing out a free promotional product or coupon on a customer's birthday is another example.

Image Credit: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.