How do you delight a customer?

March 1st, 2021

Customer delight is simple: know your customers and exceed their expectations.

Living in Cuba during the Cold War was tough. If the geopolitical events didn’t get to your head, the lack of consumer goods would do you in.

In a weird way, this made life much simpler.

You picked up your ration booklet, showed up at the food dispensary, and received your allotment for the month. No more, no less.

You went to the clothing store and could only choose between two styles -- male or female. No more, no less.

In today’s world, this might sound idyllic. We have access to so many products and services that we’re paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of it all. Unlimited choice has made us more entitled, only listening to the brands that resonate with us and solve our problems.

As a retailer, you know the name of the game. Unlike the Cuban food dispensary, customers aren’t required to go to you for their needs. It is up to you to bring them in, and in an increasingly hypercompetitive, hypertechnical market, nobody would blame you if you felt overwhelmed.

But fret not. Sure, separating yourself from others has become harder. The good news is that the fundamentals of how you do that haven’t changed (and probably won’t).

One of these fundamentals is Customer Delight.

What is Customer Delight?

It’s easy to mix up terms like Customer Service, Customer Experience and Customer Delight. Let’s get clear on some definitions.

Customer service is taking a reactive stance to customer relations, where you focus on providing a minimum level of service.

Customer Delight takes a proactive approach, finding ways to create memorable customer experiences that will increase loyalty and word of mouth advertising.

How to Create Customer Delight

Different companies have different capabilities and audiences. Creating customer delight should not be approached from a one-size-fits-all perspective.

Taco Bell, for example, created customer delight in a very big way. Residents of Bethel, Alaska were beyond elated when they heard a new Taco Bell location would open there.

Considering that Bethel practically lies in the middle of nowhere, I think we can all understand why this would cause such a fuss.

This level of euphoria was matched only by the subsequent disappointment, as residents found out this was just a hoax.

Taco Bell seized the opportunity to create customer delight. As there are no roads that lead directly to Bethel, the company used a helicopter to transport a food truck carrying 10.000 tacos.

What if I’m not ‘Taco Bell’ big?

Luckily, you don’t need to hire helicopters and distribute tacos to residents of a remote Alaska town. Focus on two aspects when figuring how to achieve customer delight: Know your customer and exceed their expectations.

Know your customer

If you want to impress someone, you first have to understand what impresses them, right? The same applies to your audience. Take the time to understand who your customers are, what motivates them, and why they are coming to you for services.

Our article on the voice of the customer covers how you can get started immediately.

Exceed their expectations

Now that you know what your customers expect from you, exceed that expectation. If your customer was expecting to pay for return shipping, cover the cost yourself. If the customer dreads talking to a pushy salesperson, delight them by offering a normal interaction instead.

Every audience is different and expects a basic level of service. Figure out what that baseline is, and do better. That is how you create customer delight.

Now that you’ve read through this, how will you start delighting your customers?

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