There’s Little Delight For Customers

One of the questions we asked in our May 2010 survey was how often respondents felt that they “delighted” customers in different interactions across different channels. Here’s what they told us:

While half of the companies think they regularly delight customers during in-person interactions, there’s a serious dearth of delight in the online channel.

Interestingly, respondents gave their companies the highest marks in customer service. In research that I completed earlier this year at Forrester, I found that consumers rated customer service the least satisfying interaction. So, there’s clearly a mismatch between companies and their customers in that area.

The bottom line: Are you delighting your customers?

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

5 thoughts on “There’s Little Delight For Customers”

  1. My reaction to the survey (which by the way is pukka) is that it sounds all too familar with regards to the discrepancy between internal and external views.

    Right now, I’m following some real time reporting via Twitter on the social CRM conference. You can tell the level of euphoria that still inhabits those whose 1st ride it is on the corporate transformation train. Clearly they still believe that the C class is interested in the quality of an idea. Bless!

    Since the gap you highlight is all too common and has been seen in many surveys maybe its time to rethink how that question is asked because whether it’s either genuine myopia, the politics of executive bonus or something else, ask them to self assess and they always talk up the scores.

  2. Hi Bruce.

    As a participant in your survey, when I was responding to the questions specific to ‘delighting’ customers, I kept thinking back to recent research conducted by the Customer Contact Council….

    In short, the CCC determined that:

    – Exceeding expectations yield marginal lift in customer loyalty.
    – Companies over-value exceeding customer expectations.
    – Companies have under-valued Meeting Customer Expectations.

    The study further proved that while companies focus on activities such as improving the experience with the rep or creating moments of WOW, these investments do not lead to Loyalty. They demonstrated that Customer Satisfaction is a misleading indicator of Customer Loyalty, and that the key driver to loyalty is in fact ‘Reducing Customer Effort’.

    That said, I think it’s important to qualify the above with my own viewpoint, in that it’s critical to consider the type of market you’re in (and what your customers are telling you) before you determine whether it’s necessary to exceed customer expectations (aka “delight” them).

    For example, if your in the parcel shipping business, I’m not sure your customers need to be “delighted” to be loyal. They just want their expectations met – reasonable prices, consistent quality delivery, visibility of their shipments, etc… However, if your a high-end hotel chain, I can see where the “delight” factor comes into play.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

    Sally M

    1. Great insight Sally,

      A key sentence in your piece is: “Customer Satisfaction is a misleading indicator of Customer Loyalty, and that the key driver to loyalty is in fact ‘Reducing Customer Effort’” A few months back I wrote piece about meeting the customers expectations before exceeding them. A customer who goes to a restaurant, receives amazing service, but the food is horrible, will remember and talk about the horrible food here.

      Wow experiences are an awesomely sharable brand touch point. It fuels word of mouth and spreads your brand organically. But not meeting the customers expectation will overshadow any delight. Companies need to meet expectations before they can truly exceed them.

      Would be great to get into contact. Add me on LinkedIn!

  3. These findings make sense. The on-line and face-to-face interactions would seem to imply the more intimate the “connection” between giver and receiver the greater or higher the perceived experience. It would be interesting to compare side by side the customers perceived value received across the three channels vs the providers perceived value delivered across these three channels.

    It would be interesting to see if there are any significant differences across demographic lines (gender, age, income, etc) and type of customer contact experience. For instance juxtapose a younger, more on-line centric respondant group scores across all three channels vs an older less on-line centric customer group. I also think the nature of the contact (sales/transaction vs. information/inquire vs. solve a problem) can have an influence on which channel is most effective (cost/access/quality/customer experience). And if you look at the demographic of the customer and the channel and the type of contact, and I would suspect you would see some interesting and different patterns across the groups.

Leave a Reply