Why Delight is the Right Strategy in Business
Whether you are a solopreneur, a small business owner, or part of a giant sales force funneling business into a major corporation, attracting your ideal customers and closing deals takes finesse, emotional intelligence, and skill. It is cause for celebration and allows businesses to grow, reach new markets, and employee more people.
And as any successful professional understands, the real work has just begun. It is up to the operations and customer service teams to retain these newly won clients by re-selling the business every day through their interactions. This effort is spent in the hopes of creating a team of brand advocates – customers who openly support the use of a product, largely because of the excellent customer experience they have had.
According to a White House Office of Consumer Affairs finding, attracting a new customer could cost a business 6 to 7 times what it costs to keep them. The return on investment alone is enough to indicate that businesses need to focus on delighting the customer. This change in perspective extends the sales process beyond cashing the check and signing the contract. Ultimately, the philosophy of delight grows a company’s sales team to include each person whose work impacts the customer.
Simple But Not Easy
You might be surprised to find that delighting a customer isn’t as lofty a goal as it sounds. In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, research conducted by the Customer Contact Council (a division of the Corporate Executive Board) found that reducing the customer’s effort – the work they must do to solve a problem – builds greater loyalty than anything else.
And if you really think about it, that’s true. Consider the last time you flew on a commercial airline. An unremarkable flight – where you boarded, flew, and arrived with no muss or fuss – is more likely to have you flying that airline again than any other experience. With that in mind, perhaps delighting a customer can be as simple as delivering on the promises you made during the attraction phase.
According to HubSpot’s inbound methodology, delighting the customer is a straightforward process of adding value to the customer, not flash. The steps listed in this methodology are:
Solve problems – Offer customers a solution to the problem they are facing or a way to achieve the goal they are working towards.
Be helpful – Empower customers with education, recommendations, and resources. Be available where they are – online or offline.
Achieve goals – Truly serve your customers by knowing who they are and what they are motivated by as guided by buyer personas.
Be enthusiastic – Emotionally convey your desire to help through a warm tone and getting your customer’s assurance that you have met all their needs. Let them know that they are welcome to get in touch with you at any time.
Through this framework, we see the power of the Golden Rule as a business tool. Treating our newly acquired clients and customers as we would like to be treated is the basis of a delightful customer service plan. Beginning with the initial hand-off from sales to operations, a prospect-turned-customer wants to feel as pursued and valued as they did during the earlier stages of the sales process. They want their questions answered as thoroughly and quickly as their questions were addressed in the attraction and conversion phases of their processes.
To facilitate this sort of experience, businesses must become communication experts. This can be accomplished through client onboarding meetings, first between internal stakeholders followed by a client introductory call or video conference, so a “warm” handoff is made from sales to operations. This open communication can also be facilitated through one of the hundreds available customer relationship management (CRM) software suites available, as long as all parties are diligent about charting their interactions with each prospect or customer. When used properly, these databases can be a wealth of information, not just about individual clients and customers, but about the kinds of interactions that serve a customer best and about trends in client requests.
These trends are the best source of ideas for innovations and new product or service offerings, because in solving these client requests, the business is further reducing effort and frustration on the client’s part, leading to greater loyalty.
One Step Further
Beyond delivering on the promises of your brand, which is no small task, delighting your customers then becomes a more personalized endeavor. In an article written for Inc.com, Inc. 500 entrepreneur and best-selling author Kevin Daum lists 8 ways to delight your customer. According to Daum, delighting the customer is truly about building a relationship based on mutual understanding. As you or your team members work with each individual customer, preferences will surface that can be incorporated into delightful interactions.
According to John Ruhlin, acclaimed author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention, radical generosity through no-strings-attached gifting can break through barriers and open door to new opportunities. Ruhlin asserts that there is a right way to give and a wrong way to give. Both anecdotal evidence and data-driven research demonstrate that relationship-based, individual-focused gifting can pay dividends in business and in life.
In Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he acknowledges that all people want to feel important. The sentiment that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is truer now than ever, as people are bombarded with marketing messaging from companies. How can you set yourself apart in the sea of businesses that your ideal customer is wading through? Delight. At a minimum, focus on this strategy by meeting your customers’ needs – thoroughly and efficiently. Answer their questions, when and where they ask. Lighten their load by providing the resources and experiences they need to make their lives easier. Beyond that, it is the personal touch that will delight customers. If you are able to get people to know you, like you, and trust from you, then they will buy from you. From that point on, never stop serving and you will continue to grow.