Newsflash: Customers Don’t Want to Be Delighted

Customer Experience Wins

It’s true, and I’m here to set the record straight on customer delight.

Yet another newsletter touting the benefits of customer delight landed in my inbox this morning. When I saw it, my brain silently shouted, “Stop!” Delight is a popular idea, but embracing it could actually be harmful for your business.

Why? Because delight is a fleeting emotion. Although it feels good in the moment, it’s quickly forgotten.

Delight is Intense, but Transitory

Your customers deserve something better. What’s the alternative? How about creating an enduring relationship? One in which customers know you’ve got their backs, one of mutual trust and respect.

That’s a solid foundation for a growing business.

Thanks, Now Good-Bye

Focusing on customer delight is a bit like treating customers as if you’ll never see them again. If you worry about delighting them in a particular moment in time, but aren’t concerned about a long-term relationship, where does that leave you?

It means you have a lot of churn and not much loyalty. That’s a recipe that quickly erodes your profits.

Like enticing price-sensitive customers with deep discounts and constant coupons (hello, Kohls), chasing delight is the beginning of a downward spiral. It trains buyers to go for the momentary high, without showing them you’re looking for something more.

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If you really want to build sustainable relationships with profitable customers, focus on more than momentary delight. Build your organization around your customers’ needs, making it easy for them to do business with you and ensuring that the experience is mutually beneficial.

Am I Anti-Delight?

Of course not. It’s okay to delight customers occasionally, they appreciate that. But making delight a strategic objective is the wrong goal. A better one is to effectively anticipate needs and meet them in a way that builds trust, affinity and advocacy.

What’s the difference?

Consider enticing customers through Groupon, where nearly 80% of coupon users are new customers, but only 20% of them come back, according to a Rice University study. Contrast that with a carefully nurtured relationship that yields significant lifetime value, like an American Express cardholder.

People may brag about the deal they got on Groupon, and when they do the accomplishment is usually about price, not relationship. When they talk about American Express, the story is much more likely to be a heroic one of how the privileges of card membership saved the day.

Relationships Trump Delight Every Day

When you put customers at the center of your universe and train everyone in your organization on how what they do each day supports the customer journey, it doesn’t take long for customers to catch on.

Even when they can’t precisely describe what’s different, customers feel the vibe. Your customer-first efforts engender trust, inspire a sense of connection or affinity, and increase brand value. That adds up to the kind of ongoing relationship that buyers (consumer and B2B alike) think is worth sharing. They will spread the word with referrals and recommendations, knowing their friends and colleagues will realize the same benefits.

In the end, it comes down to this: Deliver a consistently superior experience and you won’t need to fight for customer delight.

Offer quality products and services at fair prices, streamline the customer journey from interest to purchase, make the buying experience seamless and follow-up with effortless support.

In return, your customers will help your business grow. Your reputation will expand, attracting highly qualified prospects. Revenues will increase with less sales effort and greater marketing ROI, adding tangible value to the bottom line.

Then you’ll be delighted!

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