How do you move beyond satisfaction to utter delight? In this lesson, we’ll take a look at how businesses can wow their customers into customer delight, and we’ll check out a few examples of brands already doing it.
Putting on the Ritz
Exactly how much are you worth to the luxury hotel chain The Ritz-Carlton when you stay there as a guest? $100? $250? $500? What about $2,000?Though it may seem hard to believe, employees of The Ritz-Carlton have been given the power to spend up to $2,000 per guest, per stay to make their Ritz-Carlton experience perfect. This is done without needing to call for a manager or jump through various hoops. It’s simply the hotel’s customer service policy for ensuring the delight of its guests.
The $2,000 Rule, as it’s often called, is a hallmark of The Ritz-Carlton’s focus on customer delight, not merely customer satisfaction. It allows employees to not only meet a guest’s expectations but exceed them – a move designed to breed lifelong loyalty among its valued customers. The $2,000 isn’t simply designed to offer compensation to disgruntled guests unhappy with their room or service but to enhance a guest’s stay in any way the employee sees fit.So, how does this $2,000 equal the idea of customer delight? Read on.
What is Customer Delight?
Customer delight differs from customer satisfaction in one very crucial way: it’s about exceeding a customer’s expectations, or going above and beyond, rather than just simply providing a satisfactory experience that met expectations.
We frequently see instances of customer delight going viral (being shared over and over) on social media. The emotional reaction we experience when we see customer delight in action makes us want to share what we’ve seen, a type of word-of-mouth marketing for the business at the center of the action. In fact, many businesses use these examples of customer delight in their marketing by implementing them into customer testimonials and other marketing materials.Customer delight can result in good things for businesses. Why? Because businesses benefit from their good works toward customers in numerous ways: increased revenue, greater brand loyalty, and being separated from the pack of competitors.
How to Deliver
So, maybe you’re thinking that you’re doing well satisfying customers, but you want to move into the next stratosphere of delighting them. How do you implement it? Let’s talk about how to deliver the delight with some best practices.
1. Listen. You’d be surprised how many little things you can pick up on if you’re listening closely instead of formulating your answer. Your delight moment may come from a simple comment made by a customer that you can fulfill with ease.2.
Surprise. You want your customers to be wowed; that’s where the delight comes in. Give people something unexpected and build spontaneity into your business practices.3. Give.
We’re not talking about money or stuff here but rather time, space, and contact. Work efficiently for your consumers, but give them room to process information you’ve provided and a specific contact person they can reach out to when they’re ready.4. Be flexible. How often are you confronted with a truly black-and-white situation where there’s no wiggle room? Probably not very often. Remember that it’s important to bend the rules every once in a while.
5. Get personal. Taking an interest in your customers is one of the simplest ways to incite delight. Remembering a birthday or sending a note out of the blue is an easy step for you but a memorable one for the person on the receiving end.
Above all, be genuine.
Taco Bell Delight
Taco Bell found a way to get into the customer delight game as the result of a hoax played on an entire Alaskan town. Bethel, Alaska’s citizens got excited over news of a Taco Bell opening in their small town.
After all, the closest of the chain’s restaurants was 400-plus miles away in Anchorage. To their dismay, the story about a new Taco Bell opening was inaccurate.However, that didn’t stop the restaurant from delighting its fans. Executives of the chain decided to send 10,000 free tacos – by helicopter – to the small town. Taco Bell called the plan, ”Operation Alaska,” and news of their surprise gift was shared thousands of times over on social media, creating goodwill for the brand and a stronger connection with its hungry consumers.
If you think only brick-and-mortar stores can engage in customer delight, think again.Several years ago, a woman traveling to Las Vegas checked into her hotel, only to realize she had left a favorite pair of shoes at home.
Those shoes were a Zappos.com purchase so, thinking she could re-buy them from the same website, she ventured online to find her replacement. Unfortunately, the shoes weren’t showing up on the website so the woman decided to solicit the help of Zappos’ customer service team.
Zappos, whose corporate headquarters are located near Las Vegas, sent an employee to a rival shoe store to find the woman’s favorite style and delivered them – at no charge – to the woman’s hotel room.Sure, it may have cost Zappos a little bit of money, but the rewards likely outweighed the expense. Zappos won a lifelong customer who has likely told the story of her customer delight multiple times over.
Customer delight is a tactic for businesses who want to move beyond simply providing a satisfying customer experience to an experience that wows or surprises customers. The idea behind customer delight is that brands go above and beyond what is required of them to make the consumer’s experience a step beyond what they were expecting. Many times we see examples of customer delight going viral on social media, which is the beauty of the customer delight experience: spreading word-of-mouth goodwill about a brand or business.
Some successful purveyors of customer delight include The Ritz-Carlton, Taco Bell, and Zappos.