Most of the time in my day-to day-interactions with businesses, I am satisfied as a customer. My expectations are met. But, rarely, am I delighted. In fact, it is hard for me to remember the last time I can truly say that I was delighted by the experience. To delight someone it takes an element of surprise, a little something extra that was totally unexpected, a personal touch, or an emotional connection, and these are the things that are missing in most service deliveries.
85% of business leaders say that the customer experience is the differentiator in today’s world, yet customer service rankings are at its lowest point in nine years. Those businesses that have embraced the customer experience as the opportunity to outpace and outshine their competition are definitely the standouts in a bleak and boring sphere.
Delighting your customers involves getting your employees engaged and inspired to want to have their customers leave with a smile on their faces. To consistently do this, it takes a culture. Zappos, American Express, Ritz-Carlton, Disney, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz are a few of those organizations that have taken the commitment to go beyond giving lip service to the customer experience, but are genuinely inculcating it into every aspect of their business.
What does delight look like? Delight is:
The Disney cast member who sees a young child drop his ice cream cone and goes over to offer him another and says “Mickey saw you drop your cone and asked me to bring you over another.”
The American Express representative who calls and offers to send you a new card because suspicious activity has been observed on your current card and then offers to send it by Federal Express so it will be there the next day. No lost time without your card.
The Zappos agent who hears in the conversation that you are buying new shoes to wear to your mother’s funeral who just passed away and she sends not only the shoes, but also a bouquet of flowers with expressions of sympathy.
The Ritz-Carlton food server who asks how your stay is going while you are having lunch and you respond that it is going well but you wish your television remote was working better. When you get back to your room there is a note from the server that says he has had the maintenance crew bring you a new remote. There is also a gift card for dinner the next day as a token of apology that the tv remote wasn’t working in the first place – signed by the server.
Being delighted is the value added to the experience. When someone is delighted they go out and tell others. When do you think is the last time one of your customers was overheard saying things like these comments about your organization: “Their Service is great – you should check them out!”, “I just love doing business with them!”, “No one compares!”
Delight is such a wonderful word. By definition it means to give someone great enjoyment and pleasure. Call a staff meeting. Talk about how your organization can delight customers. Don’t let it drop after the meeting, empower your employees to go do the things you discuss. Give recognition when they do. Keep talking about it. Make it a part of your culture.