The service, quality and market research professions have traditionally focused on problems and dissatisfaction. Very little attention has been given to going the extra mile, but new research suggests a customer delight formula could have as much payoff as fixing problems. We have all missed three things:
- Delight is not monolithic – there are at least a dozen very different ways to delight;
- Measurement, training and evaluation focus almost exclusively on fixing problems while paying little attention to delighting customers, yet delight has huge positive impact on revenue, loyalty, margins, and word of mouth; and
- The same level of measurement and management should be directed at delight.
Our September 2021 Quirks article addresses all three of these issues.
Delight can be created in almost any situation.
Our survey of over 2,500 customers found customers were delighted with customer delight formulas ranging from enthusiasm and empathy to humor and heroics.
A plain vanilla call can be made memorable (“push 5 to hear a duck quack!”), and a chat can build trust and transparency, (“here are two things you should keep in mind if you buy this product).
A corollary is that delight can be created in almost any situation. Few companies mandate trying to delight for routine calls. In fact, many companies say the best service is no service and try to get the customer to self-service, thus missing an opportunity to “connect” or delight the customer.
Table 1 provides a list of the most prevalent delighters.
|Type of Delighter||% Mentioned As Delighter||% Most Important Delighter|
|Offered good value for money (great deal)||34%||12%|
|Was honest – e.g., ‘I’m so sorry our warehouse is understaffed, and we are behind on shipments due to COVID-19’||35%||10%|
|Was enthusiastic – e.g., ‘Let’s get this done right now!’||33%||10%|
|Was transparent with explanations – e.g., ‘Here are three things you need to know to avoid problems with this product/service’||29%||8%|
|Showed interest/concern – e.g., ‘How is your kid doing with the flu?’ ‘That sounds like a cute dog there’||27%||6%|
|Created a fun or entertaining interaction||27%||9%|
|Provided unique knowledge – e.g., providing golden nuggets of information you can use||25%||7%|
|Connected with you in a personal way – e.g., ‘I’ve travelled with my 85-year-old father, and I know how stressful it is’||21%||6%|
|Provided extra value – e.g., dog treats at Starbucks, no extra charge for an after-hours emergency repair||20%||7%|
|Utilized surprise – e.g., ‘Thanks for waiting two minutes – your order is now free’||19%||6%|
|Gave you compliments – e.g., ‘I love your voice, love your necktie/shawl’||17%||3%|
|Sold other products or services that were useful/tailored to me||16%||4%|
|Acted humorously – e.g., saying on an airplane ‘If you’re seated next to a child or an adult acting like a child…’||15%||2%|
|Exercised heroics – e.g., ‘I’ll bring this to your house myself this evening’||13%||4%|
A customer delight formula does not require personal interaction on the phone. 48% of delight was created by chat, email or video chat.
While we expected that it would be hard to convey enthusiasm via chat, it turns out to be quite simple. An employee can simply say, “I’d love to help you tackle this problem,” or “I am the superhero of lost shipment recovery – let’s get started!”
Measure the payoff and cost/benefit of creating a customer delight formula – you’ll be surprised at the size of the payoff.
- Depending on the industry, creating delight with honesty, transparency and enthusiasm produces 5-9% higher top box loyalty as well as up to 40% more customers being willing to pay higher prices for your product. Willingness to pay more means higher margins.
- Intelligent cross-selling of customers is actually a huge delighter, resulting in 66% of cross-sold customers being willing to pay more.
- Delight fosters bushels of positive word of mouth (PWOM). Delighted customers report telling more people than satisfied customers and their word of mouth appears to have twice the impact in terms of the percentage of those told who are reported to have acted based on the referral. This makes sense – think of how compelling a delighted story is versus one where the customer was “just satisfied”, e.g., yeah, they’re good, they satisfied me. Not too motivating.
A customer delight forumla must be measured, analyzed, trained, and managed.
Companies spend boatloads on diffusion of anger training and tough-call monitoring and coaching. How much time does your company spend on training and coaching simple calls that could become delight calls or chats? Further, how much effort do you spend on measuring and analyzing delight impact by type of contact?
The CX and corporate marketing strategy should include a focus on implementing cheap delighters, like enthusiasm and humor, if you are willing to take a few risks.
T-Mobile, Southwest Airlines, Zappos, and even GEICO have a sense of humor. The front line needs to be trained, and supervisors must encourage listening for opportunities to connect, identify with, and laugh with customers.
Extra talk or typing time will be needed, but balance the cost of 60 seconds of talking against creating a memorable event that increases loyalty and PWOM.
Additionally, Quality should take the lead on assuring Marketing and Sales transparency and honesty.
Perhaps counterintuitively, warning customers about product limitations is the single most powerful delighter, especially in this era of fake news.
Note to B2B/Industrial/Technology Service, Quality and Market Research Managers.
This really applies to you as well.
When I surveyed 250 small and medium business CEOs, asking where most of their new customers come from, everyone said that at least 70% of new customers come from referrals from existing customers.
A customer delight forumla is an almost untapped reservoir of opportunity for Service, Quality and Customer insights in addition to Marketing.
If delight could be fully achieved, Marketing could sit back and do no work at all and be wildly successful. This is, to a degree, what Mike Jannini, former President of The Cheesecake Factory meant when he said, “We let our customers do our selling for us and thereby incur much lower marketing costs than our competitors.”
Read more about our Delight Study here.