CCMC recently completed an independent, scientific, large-scale longitudinal study measuring the market impact of employing fifteen unique strategies to delight customers. Read more about the study here.
In considering the 2021 Customer Delight study results, John Goodman concludes businesses the following is happening to optimize customer experience investments:
- Take the lid off talk time – look at 90 extra seconds as an investment in extra margin or an additional 10 points of loyalty. It takes time to learn more about the customer and empathize and connect with them. If the customer is worth $300, the 10 points of loyalty are worth at least $30 plus five people told of the delight.
- Empower representatives to handle difficult issues in job descriptions and encourage them to be creative, apply flexible solutions and to show their personalities. Guide them in training with stories about what has worked in the past for similar difficult situations.
- Systematically give staff examples and ideas. While some ideas come in a flash, it is good to have a repertoire to draw on and build upon.
Southwest Airlines has a booklet of funny ideas and actions that have worked for other staff.
Chick-fil-A highlights what worked across stores.
- One action targeting young mothers is “mom’s valet ” where moms can order at the drive thru window, park, then go inside with their children to find the order on a table. Another example is running out with an umbrella when it is raining to escort customers into stores.
- Encourage supervisors to move from the sheriff compliance and adherence role to focusing on positive recognition for intelligent risk taking and “coloring outside the lines.” For this to work, managers must also give supervisors some slack for a few delight actions that went wrong.
- Practice rapid experimentation on multiple solutions to difficult situations, measuring impact by monitoring and surveys. Work with a Quality team adept in rapid prototyping and experimentation to test multiple strategies and responses. Amazon does thousands of A/B tests each year to improve processes.
- Blanket monetary empowerment, e.g., “Your empowered up to $500” often does not work without staff training on when they may make the offer. A better approach is to provide flexible solution spaces for a few prevalent issues which can then guide general behaviors.
- For issue A, there are nine ways of handling, depending on the circumstances. The following format was used for changing non-refundable flights at a travel company.
Work with Sales and Marketing to assure that the offering is truly a good value. Good value for the price is a delighter precisely because many customers are cynical and have had previous bad experiences. Done right, good value is a delighter. Done badly, it generates twice as much negative word of mouth.
Providing extra value is best when it is quick, relatively cheap and is a surprise. Free doggy treats at Starbucks made a stop there mandatory for one of my friends because her dog so looked forward to it.
How do you create delight online?
Find inexpensive behavioral ways to delight here.
Digital is inherently impersonal, BUT the language we use can make it a near-human interaction. Personal, empathetic phrases using natural language allow us to convey our feelings. Use words like “apologize” and “sorry.” If your lawyers are nervous, you can apologize without accepting blame. When you say “I’m sorry this happened,” you are not saying you’re at fault.
Do not use words that sound scripted or belittle a situation. Never use the word, “inconvenience!” Every time someone has apologized for my inconvenience, the situation was far beyond that, often a disaster. Informal talk is much more natural – do not sound like a lawyer.
On the flip side, show enthusiasm and joy and be self-deprecating and humorous. I am happy to be able to do X for you. Mrs. Smith, I have got this – we will get it out to you today! I know this product seems pricey, but like Heather Locklear, you are really worth it and it will make you look fabulous!
Along this same line, video chat is more expensive, but Intuit’s research found that the eye contact increased trust by 30%.
Get the Customer Delight Study’s Findings.
Listen to a Sharpen interview of John about how customer rage, delight, and employee frustration align.
Find a survey guide here.