Customer Delight and its Relevance in Today's Life

Published: 23rd February 2011
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Customer Delight means more than just feeling great about a product or service. Companies strive to achieve customer delight by applying various attitudes and strategies in their services. The feelings of delightfulness result from optimum service provided to a( customer, which no other competitors have provided in a long time. It is also about exceeding their expectations.

Research shows that companies with great service grow TWICE as fast as those with ordinary service. Even 95% "satisfaction", though, isn’t enough. Estimates vary, but according to some research unhappy customers are up to 20 times more likely to talk about your business than happy ones. So, even if 95% of your customers are happy and the happy 95 each tell one person, you will only get 95 positive messages into the marketplace. Whereas the 5 unhappy customers will each tell20 people - making a staggering 100 negative messages.

The experiences of some of the world’s most successful companies show that if you want to attract new customers, and keep the ones you’ve got, you have got to start delighting them in ways that none of your marketplace competitors have ever dreamt of. However, the motive here should not arise from what the competitors or other existing firms in the market have been doing, but should be directly aimed at exceeding customer expectations.

Dr. Tareq Abughazaleh - Corporate TQM Manager, Nuqul Group (Jordan) said:

"The customer delight element is vital and contributes to the success of the Group. We are highly committed to driving best practices forward to further engage our loyal customers in the business development and eventually improve our performance."

Ipsos Loyalty – The Customer and Employee Research Specialists, which also operates in the Middle East, has come up with the Customer Delight Principle. The Principle is both a philosophy and a set of practical tools to understand satisfaction findings and then build business strategies that are truly meaningful to customers.

For some consumers, the services provided merely reach satisfaction while for others it creates delight – a much higher level of satisfaction. Attributes that offer feelings of delight to customers are often seen in innovative companies. A consumer, depending upon his own definition of basics, can either be ‘merely satisfied’ or ‘delighted’ by your company’s services. Customers cannot be delighted if the basics in your product or services are missing.

To understand the relationship between a company’s services and consumer satisfaction, Ipsos Loyalty came up with the ‘Delight Response Curve’. This curve shows various firms and their changes in customer satisfaction, showing a more accurate respone to the improvements in their services. The curve reaches a high where there is significant development in the services of the company, thereby delighting end users.

How does a company achieve delighted customers? These six steps can help:

Measure customers' level of satisfaction. The first step is to get customer feedback. Information from this effort will serve as a road map to delighted customers.

Determine what drives delight and what merely prevents dissatisfaction. It is very important to smartly deliver the surveyed attributes in order to avoid dissatisfaction among consumers. When they are delivered at an exceptional level, it generates customer delight.

Eliminate dissatisfaction. It is crucial to ensure first that core attributes are delivered at what customers perceive to be an acceptable level. For example, no amount of gourmet chocolates offered by a bank would offset a customer’s displeasure if it mistakenly bounces their cheques.

Determine what it will take to delight customers. The key is to determine the correct service level where positive performance produces customer delight.

Measure backward. Once the performance thresholds based upon the customer satisfaction information have been established, it becomes imperative to link customer satisfaction measures to actual business processes.

Measure forward. The most profound profit effect from customer delight is increased customer retention rates.

Beginning a customer delight strategy can be very rewarding. Delighted customers return and bring their friends. In the words of the great quality authority, W. Edwards Deming, "It will not suffice to have customers who are merely satisfied." I will add, "They must be delighted."

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