In today’s highly competitive and fragmented business environment, winning over and retaining customers is paramount. Almost all business strategies for customer-facing brands are built around the customer and ensuring their engagement, satisfaction, and delight. These terms are often used interchangeably but are diverse and define the different stages of the customer experience journey. Customer satisfaction is all about meeting the customer’s expectations. In contrast, customer delight is the next step, where you exceed customer expectations of your product or service.
Customer satisfaction is a precursor to customer delight, and some of the surest ways to delight customers are to add a helpful feature, provide exceptional customer service, or pamper them with personalized gifts. Customer satisfaction is meeting goals by delivering value to customers, while customer delight is the extra factor added to exceed the customer’s expectations. While there is a thin line that divides both terms, it’s essential to understand these differences. This will help any organization establish a clear path to manage customer support and lead to healthier bottom lines.
How is Customer Engagement different from Customer Satisfaction?
The customer’s journey and relationship with your brand continues after the transaction ends. Customer engagement aims to nurture and create this long-term bond through varied interactions and engagement methods. It also helps to measure the customer’s involvement through purchase frequency, successful conversions, etc.
On the other hand, customer satisfaction indicates the overall customer experience and how well their expectations are being met. In the case of customer satisfaction, a CSAT score is a prime indicator of your business’s health as it measures if your products and services live up to the customer’s expectations. Ensuring customer satisfaction also helps you resolve user problems at the source and build a strong brand.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction can be measured through reviews, ratings, and surveys to know how happy or unhappy the customers are with the brand. Customer satisfaction is the net satisfaction a customer receives after subtracting expected service from perceived service. There are three levels of customer satisfaction:
Above par: When the perceived value of the service received is more than what customers expected, it means they are satisfied with the product or service. Moreover, this will likely translate into brand loyalty, leading to repeat transactions and customers advocating for the brand in their circles.
At par: When perceived and expected services are more or less equal, it results in average satisfaction. These customers may or may not shift if they find a better deal, but they are in no hurry.
Below par: When there is a clear mismatch between the services customers expect, the customer will churn away. There is a high possibility that they will share negative feedback and even turn into detractors.
Difference between Satisfaction and Loyalty
While all companies aim to have satisfied customers, customer loyalty is an even greater attribute to aspire for. That’s because loyal customers are your brand advocates and ensure you win over other customers. Loyal customers are a couple of steps ahead of satisfied customers. Even as satisfied customers are essential for your business, for it to truly grow, you must work towards turning them into loyal customers.
Customer satisfaction is conveyed by a CSAT score at the end of any transaction with your customer. It indicates your customer’s feelings after the transaction and can be considered an incidental measure, not a permanent score. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) comes into play to measure customer loyalty. This is a one-question survey asking your customer, “How likely are you to recommend our product or service to others”? The customer response is measured on a scale from 1 to 10.
Difference between Satisfaction and Delight
Customer satisfaction provides customers with the precise product or service they need, which ensures their happiness and satisfaction. But customer delight is going above and beyond customer satisfaction and doing something that creates the ‘wow’ factor for customers. Delighting the customer begins when the product or service exceeds their expectations. Let’s understand the differences between satisfaction and delight based on some important parameters:
Multiple levels Vs. Peak Experience
Customer satisfaction is usually segmented into different categories, and organizations can take actions to steer customers in a positive direction. However, when it comes to customer delight, it defines peak customer satisfaction where they are so happy with the product or service that they come back for it again.
Referral Vs. Influence
Customers who are satisfied with your product or service will likely share good reviews, which may help you get new clients or generate further interest. At the same time, customers who have experienced delight are likely to be more proactive in sharing their positive experiences with friends, colleagues, and family members. Their influence is more powerful and translates into improved brand perception.
Return purchases Vs. Loyalty
Satisfied customers may return for return purchases, don’t feel the compulsion to stick to your brand, and can swing to a competitor if they get a better price, value, quality, or new features. A delighted customer is far more loyal and would think of something other than going to a competitor. In the case of SaaS businesses, customer delight can be a crucial differentiator, and providing additional value increases loyalty and strengthens the relationship with the brand.
Why does Customer Delight Matter?
Long ago, customer delight was desirable but optional for a business. However, in the post-pandemic business environment, delighting customers to ensure their loyalty is necessary for any business to stay on course. Holding on to existing customers is the only way to survive and flourish amidst competing brands. Let’s give you a snapshot of why customer delight matters:
1. Ensures customer loyalty
Customers today have several options; brands must go the extra mile to delight them and win their loyalty. If a customer feels they are being heard and cared for, they will stick to your brand, whether at times good or bad.
2. Customers turn into brand promoters
Delighting customers is the simplest way to turn them into brand advocates and promoters without spending a fortune. Delighted customers will likely share positive experiences within their circles and influence friends and family to consider your brand strongly. A strong customer testimonial can be more impactful than the smartest ad campaign.
3. Higher customer spending
Delighted customers return for purchases and will likely spend more on your products and services. The more you delight them, the higher they are likely to be spending.
4. Improved brand perception
Reputation counts for any business, and delighted customers will help you improve the perception of your brand. Delighted customers are your brand ambassadors who will support your brand and even defend it against bad reviews.
5. Flexibility toward price rise
Recurring business from existing clients is more financially viable than seeking new clients. A delighted customer is less price sensitive and will likely stick with your brand even if your product or service gets costlier. Remember that if you don’t care for your customer, your competitor will grab your share of the business.
How to Delight Your Customers
Customer delight goes beyond just responding to tickets or the minimum required service to your customers. You’ll need to exceed their expectations, and there are many ways to ensure that. If you follow these basic practices to delight customers, you can be assured of long-term customer loyalty and decreased customer churn and new customers from peer-to-peer recommendations:
1. Provide real-time support
Set up a system and mechanism that provides timely, if not instant, responses to customers’ issues. Whether the issue is big or small, customers should always feel prioritized. Even if you cannot provide an immediate solution, keep the customer updated about the progress. Follow the same practice to delight potential customers and turn them into loyal ones.
2. Add that personal touch
The solutions you offer customers should be customized to match their needs and preferences. You can make a customer feel valued by small but significant practices such as addressing them by their name in all communication, treating their exact pain points, and offering products that will be useful to them.
3. Reward loyal customers
Loyal customers are your biggest brand advocates, and you must reward them regularly by creating a customer loyalty program. Some other ways to reward and delight regular customers are discount codes, freebies, additional perks, and long-term benefits.
4. Deliver consistency with omnichannel service
The right omnichannel strategy can transform your business through greater customer engagement and increased brand visibility. Integrating several messaging platforms to create a unified message may seem daunting initially, but it’s a journey worth taking.
This can be facilitated by tools such as the Roadmap portal for Jira service management, which lays down a comprehensive product roadmap by better capturing and analyzing customer feedback and feature requests. With an omnichannel strategy, you can bridge internal silos to ensure consistent communication across channels.
5. Empower your employees
The cycle of delighting customers begins with happy and satisfied employees, so giving your team the right tools to improve the customer experience is essential. To manage your interactions and provide optimum customer support, adopt customer relationship management software or CRM; this way, you can record all customer communication and enhance the overall customer experience.
6. Innovate and update
Delighting customers is a constant process, and you can only surpass their expectations by constantly innovating your products or services and enhancing the customer experience. Take care of your customers by updating them about your new features and educating them about reaching your team or troubleshooting.
How to Measure Customer Delight?
Delighting customers is an ongoing process, but you must measure it occasionally to know if you are going in the right direction. By establishing satisfaction-related metrics, you can measure your progress and make necessary changes to combat negative responses. Customer sentiment can be measured by observing nuances such as the vocabulary used by the customer, their tone, and facial expressions. You can gather this qualitative data through in-store observations or face-to-face interviews. Based on this data, you can create a Customer Delight Model to list situations in which the user was truly delighted. Here’s a look a three simple metrics to measure customer delight:
1. Churn Rate
The churn rate is the total percentage of customers that avoid using your product over time. A high churn rate is a red flag, and you must try to keep this metric as low as possible. The formula for this metric is:
Number of customers lost in a period / Number of customers at the start of the period.
2. Retention Rate
The opposite of churn rate is retention rate. To ensure high customer delight, you must try to keep this rate high. The formula measures the retention rate:
Pre-existing customers at the end of a period / Pre-existing customers at the start of the year
3. Customer Lifetime Value
Another metric to measure customer delight is the customer lifetime value (CLV), which is the value that a customer adds to the lifetime of their relationship over a given period. This metric also forecasts the total revenue your business can expect from a single customer throughout the relationship. It also helps you identify customers most valuable to the company and find ways to delight them.
The formula to calculate CLV is:
Average purchase value X Average number of purchases X Average customer lifespan
Who is Responsible for Delighting Customers?
Customer delight should be the aim of every department of your business, and by this logic, creating delight is the job of every customer-facing employee in your company. In larger businesses or inbound organizations, there are dedicated teams that focus on wowing customers, both current and potential. However, in the case of smaller organizations, all teams must work towards delighting customers.
Understanding the importance of customer delight, many organizations have dedicated resources such as customer service and support teams to focus on this crucial aspect. At the same time, departments that interact with customers, including marketing, sales, and product, are also responsible for delighting customers.
The ultimate aim for any business should be to instill customer delight in every facet of their customer interactions, whether it’s phone interactions, emails, or social media. All employees that interact with customers should be motivated to exceed the customer’s expectations at every stage of the customer’s journey. These cumulative efforts ultimately result in forging a lifelong relationship with your customer, who also become your biggest promoters and brand advocates.
How to Achieve Delight and Satisfaction?
Ensuring customer satisfaction and elevating it to delight is a work in progress. Several practices can help you achieve satisfaction and delight, which can be augmented by technology. The right software is a sure way to extend satisfaction into delight.
By leveraging technology, you can create a framework to collaborate effectively with your customers. Delighting customers can become a helpful learning tool where you can solve similar problems for a different customer based on data and findings documented securely.
The right tools can also help you manage customer data to avoid repeatedly asking customers to provide the exact details. A support ticket can help you securely gather customer data, where you can tag it quickly and give access to relevant team members. Apart from leading to faster resolutions, these practices will also project the right team image to your customers.
The Key to Survival and Growth
Delighting your customers is imperative to help your business grow and increase your share in the market. Customers can be a fickle lot, and it takes a lot to satisfy them and some more to delight them. If customers are satisfied with your products or services, consider how you can please them with unexpected enhancements. Remember that this strategy can also backfire if customers are appeased through hastily thought-out gifts or discounts. What is delightful today may become the customer’s basic expectation tomorrow, so have a plan that factors in customer behavior and preferences.
There’s no doubt that delighting the customer is essential, but focusing on the customer’s needs should be given higher priority. The key is to focus on customer engagement; when your employees care about your customers, it organically leads to customer delight. Satisfied customers are likely to renew their relationships, but those who are delighted are your strongest advocates and promoters. Organizations must understand customers’ wants and needs and allow employees to provide effective solutions. A continuous cycle of delight will ensure your survival and long-term growth.