What does customer delight really mean? Is it meeting a particular expectation? Is it about topping Customer Satisfaction surveys? Does a service provider really understand what makes his customer happy? muses Shankar Kaliaperumal
There is always a gap between customer expectation and customer experience. So do we bridge this gap by aiming for customer delight as a means of meeting customer expectation? It isn’t as simple as that, because customer delight is beyond that. Almost all the customer’s know that a service provider won’t be able to fulfill all their expectations as they would generally set their bars of expectation very high, but still we see certain service providers having happy customers versus the rest who are always in firefighting mode. Both Customer Experience improvement and Cost Optimization will indirectly impact revenue generation. That companies that do understand this relationship always looks at more than just the immediate task at hand. So what are these people doing right? They tend to follow certain basic rules of customer engagement such as
- They know how to say ‘No’: If a request is not feasible they usually decline at the start instead of trying to achieve the impossible. They know their limitations and understand that certain tasks are great when imagined but require super human efforts to execute, so its best to avoid them.
- We stretch only so much: They will always be flexible to an extent and only when it goes beyond their limit they will resist. It’s an important trait, because most of the vendors who demonstrate unlimited flexibility for everything in order to showcase that they will do anything for the client; ultimately fail. Service providers’ who are flexible enough and also who resists at the right time always have a lasting relationship with their clients.
- Value is given importance in the long run: They will always bring value above and beyond what was expected from them. Short term gains are not in their mind, as they pay more attention to the bigger picture and not just immediate wins.
- Culture is reflective on employee performance: Credible service providers always have a culture of working that treats their employees with rest and this ultimately projects out to the client.
- Establishment of ownership: Clear ownership when something fails, rather than becoming defensive and playing blame game
- In it for the long haul: These companies will always believe in long term relationships with both employees and clients. They will have high retention rates and also clients who have worked with them for years.
A common error committed by most of the companies is that both the Sales/Marketing wing as well as the management spends more than 80 % of their time acquiring new customers and don’t spend enough time servicing existing customers. Ideal scenario would be spending equal amount of time for both existing and prospective customers, by the senior management team. A delighted customer will always be more valuable than a prospective customer immaterial of their stature, value, etc. In order to achieve this is a simple strategy followed by successful companies for retention is to “listen and act” i.e. they listen to client’s feedback and act upon it. When a customer sees the willingness to take their feedback and act upon it, they become our external Business Development team generating leads without ever being paid for their services directly. It’s one of the best business development strategies any company would love to have.
In order to be successful service provider, one must understand and follow these Key Performance Indicator’s, from the client’s perspective:
A delighted customer will continue to do business with you and will also become your word-of-mouth marketing tool. Cross selling or up-selling to a satisfied customer is the best way to expand services in the future as well. So keep your customers more than happy – keep them delighted!