Hank Brigman on Delighting Customers

Delighting Customers? Fuggetaboutit!

Written by on April 28, 2016

One of the most interesting statistics about customer delight was first reported five years ago. Here’s the news:  A service touchpoint is a great opportunity to lose a customer. In fact, customers are 4x more likely to become disillusioned and disloyal as a result of a poor experience.

That’s a big Wow, isn’t it? With a chance to engage and take advantage of a touchpoint, many organizations apparently fail miserably!

Studies show that 67% of consumers cite bad experiences as reason for churn. Conversely, 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with their friends and family. With these numbers,  I think it makes sense to start with the basic touchpoints and focus on doing all of them well.

When you decide to develop a Customer Experience Plan, be realistic about where to start. The calls to “delight,” “enchant,” and “wow” your customers are all worthy goals, but meeting expectations should precede exceeding expectations — I think that’s the basis of the adage, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

“First, you earn the right to your customer’s confidence with reliability and then move on from there. You must clear the hurdle of random experiences and set the foundation in product and service reliability (‘They get it right’.) before you move on to building a personal relationship with customers (‘They know me’.).” – Jeanne Bliss

Your job is to focus on knowing what the customers wants — by getting their feedback and guidance — and then building the systems that enable them to choose and optimize their experiences at every touchpoint. The more touchpoints, the more complexity, so even a basic end-to-end journey has plenty of room for missteps.

So many of my clients express the goal of exceeding customers’ expectations — when they should be focusing on the basics:

  1. Inquiries
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. Receiving or Implementation
  5. Payment
  6. Use
  7. Post-Sale Experience

If you didn’t receive the correct shipment, what good is fancy gift wrap? Guess what? No delight there. The most valued touchpoints are the basic ones — the ones that build confidence and trust in their experience with your brand.

In your personal relationships, a surprise gift won’t make up for being late, inconsiderate, or not returning phone calls. It’s no different in business relationships. Common courtesy is uncommon enough in business that excelling on the basic touchpoints is already a win.

The Hard Truth

Transitioning personal or professional relationships to a state of loyalty takes time. Actions are required — actions that prove that you can and will consistently deliver the basics well.

Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.

Hank Brigman is a leading customer experience speaker and coach, helping companies differentiate and build a defendable competitive advantage, touchpoint by touchpoint. He was the first to define “touchpoint” on Wikipedia and is the author of the customer service international top 10 best seller, TOUCHPOINT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint. Connect with him on LinkedIn, or reach him on his consultancy website.

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