Delighting customers is considered the ultimate success mantra by a few marketers. Some researchers too claim about the efficacy of delighting customers. It is seen by many as a way to earn customer loyalty. This is the reason many organizations tend to invest a lot in delighting customers without even bothering to see if the investment is generating the expected return or not. But is it worth investing? Does customer delight foster a better customer experience? Is it a good strategy to earn the long-term goodwill of the customers?
There are a lot of doubts about the topic. However, a respectable number of A-listed marketers advise to “stop trying to delight customers”! These marketers are of the view that customer delight does not guarantee customer loyalty.
In this article, we will discuss everything about customer delight, why you should stop trying to delight your customers and what you should do instead.
What is Customer Delight?
Before we start the discussion about the usability of customer delight, let us first define the concept of customer delight. This definition will help us stay on the same page. In a strict marketing sense, customer delight is achieved by ‘exceeding customer expectations.’ It is done to generate a positive emotional reaction in customers. When you exceed customer expectations, the marketers believe that customers get delighted and become loyal to your brand. They say that a delighted customer becomes the best brand advocate for your business.
Does Delighting Customer Bring the Expected Result?
Around 89% of companies see delighting customers as one of their core values. These companies constantly push themselves to exceed customers’ expectations. They follow this strategy like a tradition without examining the result gained through the effort.
But, if you want to generate maximum return on your investment of time and resources, you must examine the result.
It is interesting to note that while most companies try to exceed customer satisfaction, 84% of customers do not even feel that their expectations have been exceeded. When customers do not recognize your effort, it is unlikely that you will get the expected result from that effort.
Like what you are reading?
Sign up for our newsletter
Why should you stop trying to delight your customers?
A research paper titled “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty” effectively deals with the topic. The paper details that customer loyalty increases only marginally due to customer delight. The authors explain that it is much better to reduce customer effort to gain customer loyalty rather than sweating to delight customers.
Here are a few reasons you should stop trying to delight customers.
- Delighting Customer is a Costly Affair – Any investment put in a business must be matched against its generated result. When we compare the return on investment, delighting customers seems to be a costly affair. In other words, the time and effort put into delighting customers do not fetch equivalent returns.
- It Starts Vicious Cycle of Expectations – Any experienced business executive will understand that a satisfied customer is a myth. When you try to exceed customers’ expectations, you will increase their level of expectation which you will need to exceed the next time. This will start a vicious cycle of expectations. This will only harm you in the long run. When you fail to exceed customers’ expectations they will easily move to your competitor.
What should you do instead of delighting customers?
Now let us proceed to the next big question – What should you do instead of delighting your customers?
Customer opinion-based research has revealed that customer loyalty can be earned by reducing customer effort rather than delighting them. Customers expect you to deliver the product and service as promised effortlessly. In other words, customers do not want to put the effort from their side. So, if your customers need to put effort at any stage of the purchase cycle, they can churn away regardless of your efforts to delight them.
Stop trying to amaze your customers and make things easier and seamless for them.
Following are the ways for you to remove hindrances and obstacles for your customers and make their journey smooth.
Be Proactive and Not Reactive
You do not need to make things fancy for your customers, but you must anticipate your customers’ journey and solve any issue that may create a problem for your customers. When a customer needs to reach out to you, they have already encountered a problem. You have to plan the entire customer journey and anticipate customers’ needs. The best thing is to fulfill customers’ needs without them reaching out to you. This will make the journey seamless and effortless for them. Remove any and every obstacle that may come in your customers’ path.
Make Your Customer Services Accessible
Making your customer services accessible means having multiple channels open to let your customers reach you in whatever way suits them. The customers should never feel that they are putting much effort into reaching you. Some customers want an instant answer or solution to their problem through live chats. Some may want to write a detailed email to explain their problem, and some may want to get assistance over the phone. Your customer services need to be accessible to all of them.
Empathy should be the most basic etiquette for your customer support team. When customers reach out to you, they need to feel ‘understood.’ Your customer support team needs to be empathetic and make your customers feel that their problem is not only heard, but your representatives are feeling their emotions. This will make them feel that you will put all your efforts into solving their issue.
Meet Your Customers’ Expectations
Forget about exceeding your customers’ expectations and delighting them. All you need to do is meet their expectations. Suppose you provide SaaS products. You do not need to stuff your SaaS products with varieties of features; rather, provide the feature required by your customers and make them easy to use. Most of the features bundled in a SaaS product remain unused by the majority of customers. Know the features for which your customers pay you the money and provide that feature seamlessly.
Take Negative Feedback from Customers Seriously
You undoubtedly love positive comments and feedback from your customers, but you should never ignore the negative feedback. Take your dissatisfied customers seriously. It is not about solving the problems of a particular customer but about recognizing a pain point. When a customer gives you negative feedback they tell you a pain point that you can solve for them and any future customer and make their experience seamless. When you start paying attention to negative feedback, you can solve them and reduce customer efforts.
Do not Just Solve Current Issues; Take a Step for the Future
When you identify or start noticing issue(s) in your product, service, or customer journey, your immediate action would be to try and solve it. But, we advise you not to stop solving the issue at hand. You will have to be far-sighted to start investigating the probability of issues that may pop in the next step and solve them before it hinders any of your customers. You should make it a priority to solve your customers’ problems on the very first call. Nothing can be more disappointing to customers than they need to do repeat calls or approach customer services. So, look ahead and see that a customer need not call again. 22
To wrap it up, delighting your customers is an important part of your customer experience. However, rather than trying to exceed their expectations of your product, it is always an innovative idea to address their immediate needs and solve their problems as quickly as possible. Low customer effort should be the cornerstone of your business. We have given you hints on creating low customer efforts rather than putting effort into delighting your customers. Hope you take better decisions now.
Anshi has over 12 years of experience in demand generation, digital marketing, and managing global teams. In her prior role as head of marketing operations for a high growth US healthcare tech organization she transformed marketing from cost to revenue center.
Published June 08, 2022, Updated June 08, 2022