Do you have what it takes to engage customers? To connect with them on an emotional level and promote a positive reactions?

This is the basic requirement of customer delight: the willingness to go above and beyond normal relations in order to provide a customer experience that will leave an indelible impression.

Customer delight is not (just) a strategy; it is a business asset in markets where clients demand a leading role. It is so critical, in fact, that you should paint it on your walls and make it the core of company culture.

True customer obsessed companies never underestimate the power of delight. The emotional reaction is what allows you to transform average experiences into amazing experiences, leading to positive word of mouth and laying the ground for genuine engagement.

If you want to overcome the challenge in crowded competition, you should never settle for the minimum required. You must establish a unique identity, rooted into the ability to exceed expectations.

Customer delight happens exactly when you amaze a customer by exceeding his or her expectations. And it’s not just an abstract thought: delight directly affects sales and the return on investment of your digital marketing strategy, working as a major factor of distinction for your company and its products and services.

In the Age of the Customer, every brand works hard to offer high quality products and positive customer experience. In one word, they strive to meet customers’ expectations.

But this is only the starting point if you want to delight customers, an ideal place where needs and desires are not only met, but met in such a way that exceeds all expectations.

The art of cultivating happy customers is grounded on 3 pillars (according to Hubspot):

  • Innovation - to serve people in the best way possible;

  • Communication - to be personal rather than impersonal;

  • Education - to empower people and create great company culture.

In the conversion path, delight has a specific place: it is usually considered the last step of the inbound methodology loop, right after Attract, Convert, Close. Despite being the closing element, delight does not only applies to the post-conversion stage.

In fact, it should be inherent to all moments of the process and touch points of the customer journey map. The experience they bear in mind and bring with them during the connection with your brand - and even when they’re doing something else - is formed by every interaction customers have with you, both in the digital and physical world.

Interactions with brand (i.e. content marketing), interactions with objects and technology (i.e. the Internet of Things), interactions with people (i.e. customer service): while the element of delight can be created by the product itself, there is no doubt that the overall omni-channel experience is the real critical element to exceed expectations.

Experience and delight are so closely connected that you will never reach true engagement and loyalty if you can't build and deliver an amazing customer experience. Companies usually spend to improve their products and the acquisition process; as a result, sometimes customers feel left out.

The quality of your outcome is direct consequence of how much your organization is aligned around the centricity of customers. If your employees are disaffected, your clients will be too. Engagement is always employee engagement in the first place. There is no customer delight without delighted employees.

Delight should be treated as a competitive advantage to transform average customers into loyal promoters. The key is the ability to establish trust and interest, and create a long term relationship. Remember: customer retention is always cheaper than acquisition (at least 6 times cheaper, according to recent reports).

So, how can you be sure you’re actually exceeding expectations? Start with these 5 steps to deliver customer delight.

  1. Listen to what customers say - instead of walking in the fog, always listen to your customers before planning and executing your strategy (or launching a new product). Try to create something truly useful and delightful for those who actually experience it.

  2. See through customer’s eyes - more often than not, customers know brands better than they do themselves. This is a critical point: to deliver a positive experience, you need to wear your customers' shoes, to understand what they see when they look at you.

  3. Be coherent, be flexible - customer experience is (almost) never a matter of black and white. Flexibility is important to adapt to changes and adopt new technologies and methodologies. Of course, you should never betray your brand identity, your true why.

  4. Always give a little more - the rule is to offer customers what they want, when they want it, wherever they are. But competitors, they do it too. To stand out and become top choice, always deliver something more, something unexpected. Tell them what they don't know yet.

  5. Give customers space - the times of one-way communication from companies to consumers are well behind us. Empowered customers expect to be main characters of your brand story. Engage them with gamification and user generated contents to enable immediate digital advocacy.

And remember, the effort to delight customers should never replace the main focus of any successful company: improve the service and deliver the best customer experience they will ever have.

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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.