Customer Delight? Or Customer Satisfaction?

Given the recent economic climate, it could be argued that the question of delighting customers or simply satisfying them is one of vital strategic importance for any company.

It was on this very subject that I recently led a Think Tank session at the IQPC Executive Customer Contact Exchange in Ireland this quarter.

My role is to work with NICE clients that want to ‘go the extra mile’ or ‘delight and surprise’ their customers, by gaining insights from real-time customer feedback.

Of course many companies have a ‘customer delight’ strategy as it is commonly seen as a key way to differentiate from competitors as well as generate long term customer loyalty and advocacy. But at what cost?

What I mean by this is: Perhaps the very reason that so many delight strategies fail is due to many companies’ distinct lack of understanding on what actually constitutes a delighted customer, as opposed to a simply satisfied one.

For me, this comes down to what kind of emotional responses you can generate in a customer – responses created through knowledge, curiosity, empathy and surprise.

It is my experience that not recognizing the delight-satisfaction dichotomy could mean significant agent/advisor time and effort (amongst other things) wasted on service pursuits that may make no difference to customers’ perception of their experience.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t attempt to delight customers. Indeed, if executed correctly, a delight strategy can create loyalty, increase advocacy, and generate additional revenue.

But, as the Harvard Business Review – Stop Delighting Your Customers – argues, satisfaction is potentially equally well placed to deliver these kind of results.

So, how should your organization decide on which path to take?

In my view, what’s required is a carefully selected mix of delight AND satisfaction. Consider your company’s:

  • Industry – which customer interactions have the capacity to delight a customer?
  • Demographic – what is the customer expectation?
  • Brand Perception
  • Competitor Activity
  • Resources required to kick start and sustain Customer Delight programs

NICE refers to each customer interaction as a Decisive Moment™ – this is the moment at which you can really deliver game-changing customer service if you have prepared for the interaction and perform optimally during it.

I think when deciding on your organization’s opportunities to delight or satisfy your customers, that approach couldn’t be more accurate.

We help organizations map the customer journey across channels and touch points. This enables our clients to understand the customer’s experience throughout the interaction lifecycle in order to best address customer needs.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about how to delightyour customers, my advice would be to start navigating that map as soon as possible, to ensure a smooth ride and optimum chance of reaching your destination.

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