According to a new CX Network research on the global state of customer experience (CX), the biggest challenge modern businesses face is building a customer-first culture. And this is extremely important because customers can request immediate feedback from a company through a myriad of online channels. Thus, the communication gap between businesses and customers has become fully bridged and companies must find new ways to stand out from their competitors.
Fred Reicheld, the creator of the famous Net Promoter Score (NPS) states that customer satisfaction is still an important metric in CX. However, modern businesses need to shift their attention from profit to customers. A 2018 survey by Microsoft reveals customer service is a relevant factor in the choice of brand for 95% of respondents. Therefore, to attract and retain clients, companies need to focus on meeting as well as exceeding their expectations. And this is what customer delight is all about.
Customer Satisfaction vs. Customer Delight
Customer satisfaction (CSat) is an extremely important metric when it comes to optimizing the customer experience. It is defined as the percentage of customers whose experience with a company exceeds the customer satisfaction goals. Buy measuring CSat, businesses can find out whether their products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Naturally, CSat is now one of the most important parts of a contemporary business strategy.
While CSat is concerned with meeting customer expectations, customer delight is all about exceeding them. Consequently, businesses that surprise their customers evoke positive emotional responses. CSat does not prove to increase loyalty or encourage positive word of mouth, so businesses focus on achieving customer delight. The point of customer delight is to create loyal customers, increase profit, and create brand ambassadors.
Ensure Customer Satisfaction First
Since customer delight means exceeding client expectations, you have to ensure you are meeting them first. According to ISO 9001, CSat is reflected in the degree to which a business fulfills customers’ expectations. Therefore, customer satisfaction is a subjective judgement and definitely not a yes/no issue. For example, dissatisfied customers are not always the ones who complain. Sometimes, a dissatisfied customer will only complain to their friends and family while satisfied clients complain in the goal of getting an even better service.
Therefore, collecting customer feedback is extremely important. Businesses need to listen and respond to their customers’ complaints appropriately. They have to be responsive, but also provide their clients with good quality customer support. Companies need to focus on the human element when it comes to business-client interactions. They should also use CRM data to learn as much as they can about their customers to be able to affect their journey in a meaningful way.
Create a Customer-Centric Culture
It’s commonly believed that customer delight is the final step in the customer journey. But contrary to popular belief, businesses should try to delight their customers at every single touchpoint in the journey. This means businesses need to focus on creating a customer-centric culture within their organizations. By establishing such a culture, the employees are able to surprise the customers by adding extra value in every interaction.
However, creating a functional customer-centric culture can be difficult. Businesses need to focus on operationalizing customer empathy while employees need to understand the needs of the customers and respond appropriately. Owners need to hire workers with customer-centric mindsets. Furthermore, they should practice transparency when it comes to customer insights so that everyone is on board. They need to encourage direct interaction with customers and reward those employees whose work stands out.
The Element of Surprise
Many businesses don’t have the time to concentrate on customer delight. There is a lot to do already in terms of CSat and offering something in addition gets overlooked. Regardless, customers favor the brands that exceed their expectations. They always expect to get exactly what they paid for. So surprising them with additional value such as gift cards, phones, holidays and laptops will definitely evoke positive emotions towards the brand.
According to research, delightful experiences are much easier to remember than the satisfying ones. This is because the majority of customers don’t expect to receive a gift. If you surprise a customer with an appropriate gift, they will remember the occasion as something out of the ordinary. Consequently, they will tie the memory of receiving the gift with the brand. Surprise leads to the feelings of cheerfulness and excitement which are considered to be promotional feelings. Therefore, introducing the element of surprise can turn clients into loyal brand ambassadors.
Ways to WOW your Customers
Depending on the type of industry and product they are selling, businesses employ different strategies for delighting their customers. It is important that you think about who your customers are and delight them accordingly. Here are some ways in which you can exceed customers’ expectations:
- Anticipate the needs of your customers. Businesses gather customer information through various interactions. Customer data is a valuable tool for determining their personalities and attitudes. Use the insights at your disposal to come up with ideas for delighting your customers.
- Create a consistent experience across all channels. It is a common misconception that customer delight comes at the end of the customer journey. However, you must eliminate any data and service silos to make for a consistent journey. This differentiates a brand from competitors and evokes positive emotions in customers.
- Focus only on KPIs that matter for your business. Different industries have different types of clients. So, there is no need to track every single metric you can get a hold of. NPS and CSat are important, but sometimes you will have to change focus depending on the business goals you are trying to achieve.
- Humanize customer interactions with your brand. Customers expect a human to help them in their journey. Even when using conversational AI, these interactions have to be as smooth as possible. Personalized experiences can be a huge advantage as most processes are becoming heavily automated.
The Importance of Customer Delight
There are varying opinions when it comes to achieving customer delight. Some of the world’s biggest players say brands should not try to delight their customers. According to some, it is enough to just meet client expectations, i.e. focus only on CSat. However, brands that go the extra mile to surprise, delight and WOW their customers in addition to providing an outstanding service will definitely see more benefits in terms of profit and creation of loyal brand ambassadors as well.
And it really is not that difficult. You need to learn the difference between CSat and customer delight. You have to educate and empower your employees to be able to deliver customer delight consistently across all touchpoints in the journey. Leverage customer data to learn what might surprise them in a positive way. This way, they will remember the experience for ages. Find out about all the ways in which you can delight your customers and create a strategy that is unique to your brand.