Most customers don’t actually want to be “delighted” they just want their expectations to be met and companies to deliver as promised. Successful companies that really do care about their customers have one thing in common – they all listen to their customers rather than making assumptions about what is most important to them. One company that I’ve worked with gets their senior staff to spend at least 5 days a year in Customer Service listening to calls and speaking to customers. Several supermarkets get their Managers/Directors working for two weeks in stores helping customers and staffing the tills. Other companies use techniques such as senior managers shadowing customer facing staff. The closer that senior staff, including Directors, can get to customers the more they will understand about what customers really care about which will lead them to make better decisions in the business.
In addition to hands-on experience the smart use of customer surveys can also identify factors that your customers like and don’t like about your company. Some skill is needed to ask the correct questions and interpret the results but the effort to do it well, rather than as a box ticking exercise, can be very worthwhile. Combining hands-on experience and customer survey feedback often has the major benefit of identifying issues that would never have come to light in any other way. It’s not just issues either because things that customers really like are often identified too and they are often different from what the company assumed they were.
So lets stop talking about delighting customers and focus on ensuring that we understand customers expectations and that we deliver as promised.