As customer expectations continue to climb, customer delight should be a focus for every business.
Old expectations; fair price, basic service, delivered on time. New expectations; connected multi-channel experience, proactive and personalised… These changes aren’t a bad thing, so long as you can keep up.
However, with an endless choice from all your competitors available at the touch of a button, it can be a challenge to retain clients. According to Salesforce research, 76% of customers say it’s easier than ever to take their business to another brand.
The solution? A Walker study suggests that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Outstanding customer experience is a result of a thoughtfully designed process, delivered meaningfully and authentically by your team. Here we dig into the two components we believe drive customer delight; random acts of kindness, and surprise & delight. Execute one and you will see customer loyalty and engagement metrics blossom, execute both and your competition won’t have a chance.
Definition: A spontaneous, selfless deed performed by a kind person with the aim to make someone else’s day.
What impact do random acts of kindness have on customer delight?
With trust in sales and marketing at an all-time low, delighting your customer is more important than ever. However, the most authentic, meaningful and memorable customer delight moments are usually those that are unplanned rather than strategized ahead of time. Doing something kind and completely at random for someone else helps to build trust and restore faith in people and brands.
How to foster a spontaneous customer delight culture?
First of all, empower your employees with the authority and power to delight customers at random on behalf of your brand. Allocate budget and implement processes to facilitate in the moment, spontaneous actions - and make it frictionless to make it scalable. If an employee has to get approval from multiple people, they are going to give up and stop acting on behalf of the customers’ best interests.
Set boundaries, pricing tiers and finite resources in order to give people the freedom to achieve customer delight easily without blowing the budget. Remove any scripts or long list of don'ts, and replace with a short list of principles to aim for.
Encourage employee behaviour by rewarding or publicly praising team members who delight customers with random acts of kindness. It’s pretty contagious and makes the giver feel good too, so this will have a natural snowball effect. At Inkpact, we have a delight budget set aside for random acts of kindness, whether that be buying a coffee for the person behind us in the coffee shop or sending flowers to a customer as a thank you.
Our inbox and social channels get flooded with examples of random acts of kindness all the time. We recently compiled a list of our favourite examples here.
Definition: Surprise and delight is a marketing approach designed to make people smile by giving them something unexpected. The difference here is that these moments are creatively planned and strategised by the company ahead of time.
How does surprise and delight influence customer behaviour?
Surprise and delight moments require creativity and thought to “break the script and defy people’s expectation of how an experience will unfold,” as described by Chip and Dan Heath in their best-selling book ‘The Power of Moments’.
Gifting something unexpected, personal and for a reason, perhaps a milestone of some sort delights customers and touches the core human needs of significance and appreciation. Customer delight, in turn, fosters loyalty among both potential and existing consumers by creating an emotional connection between those individuals and your brand.
People also have a natural tendency to share positive experiences, talking offline to friends, family and colleagues, as well as sharing on social platforms. Not only does this spread that feel-good factor, it also represents the most invaluable word of mouth marketing for your brand.
“Break the script and defy people’s expectation of how an experience will unfold” - Chip & Dan Heath, The Power of Moments
A strategic approach to sprinkling a little surprise and delight...
Taking a strategic approach is important to have a positive impact. A one-size-fits-all approach to customer delight will not only blow your budget but cloud the emotion of significance and uniqueness you want customers to feel.
Customer segmentation is essential to make it personal. There needs to be a ‘we did this for you because…’ Finding a free bottle of water in your hotel room is great but quickly forgotten. Being brought a tray of your favourite cocktail while you’re lying by the pool on your birthday, that’s meaningful because it’s personal to you.
Start by looking at your customer journey map and challenge your team to identify customer delight touchpoints where you can ‘break the script’ and sprinkle in something memorable. Brainstorm with everyone from executives to customer service employees on the coal face. Including everyone’s ideas and input in the decision-making process will increase the adoption of this approach immensely.
Finally, ensure the agreed touchpoints that qualify for a surprise and delight moment are applied to both positive proactive and reactive problem-solving moments. In The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk writes: “It’s not the money that makes these efforts shocking and awesome, it’s the care and creativity involved. Frugal wows are often just as effective at creating that connection.”
Execution strategies can vary on the autonomy spectrum, from complete freedom for customer-facing teams to delight customers whenever they want, to carefully created approval processes and budgets. Either way, be sure to make it an effortless process and encourage people to get involved.
If you are looking to engage or re-engage your audience look no further than creative customer delight.