What's your go-to pizza place? I definitely know mine.
Hands down, it's a family-owned restaurant in my hometown that's mastered the elusive New England Greek style. The ambiance is warm and "homey" and I'd recommend it to anyone. (Try it, people!)
Clearly, the restaurant has had me as an evangelist since day one, but not every business is so lucky.
To get customers to recommend businesses as passionately as their favorite pizza places and keep them coming back for more, most marketers have to go above and beyond normal customer service and deliver unmatched customer delight.
What is Customer Delight?
Customer Delight, the final stage in the inbound methodology, is defined as surprising a customer by exceeding his/her expectations and thus creating a positive emotional reaction.
According to HubSpot, it's about creating "a remarkable experience to users that focuses on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand."
Satisfied customers use your product, but delighted customers are loyal and actively promote your brand through word-of-mouth.
Not sure how your organization can climb the ladder of customer delight? Here are five badass customer delight examples, even B2B marketers can learn from.
Laura Ashley already has millions of happy customers and raving fans, so they don't really need to go out of their way to delight customers. Their brand's reputation is well-established and their customers are thrilled to shop for their high-quality clothing, linens, and home furnishings online, without hassling with department stores.
However, Laura Ashley makes a point to step up their customer delight in new ways by surprising customers. One customer in particular received a surprise gift in the mail when they ordered a bedding set from Laura Ashley.
Two days before their bedding set arrived, they received a free pair of Laura Ashley lounging socks, along with a thank you note.
How many times have you received a surprise gift or a thank you note from a company? What about both at the same time?
What B2B marketers can learn about customer delight from Laura Ashley:
Small gifts have an even bigger impact when they're unexpected
The old fashioned thank you note is a kind gesture that never goes out of style
On LinkedIn, a user named Scott Barbour shares three situations where he has experienced customer delight from Nest and Blinds.com.
If you aren't familiar with Nest, they created an awesome self-learning digital thermostat that you can control from your phone through wifi. Scott purchased one of their thermostats and ran into a problem -- the vents only blew cold air, despite having the settings adjusted to heat his home.
He called their customer support number on a Sunday night around 9 pm and was surprisingly able to talk with a real person. Nest's customer service rep was friendly and knowlegable, which is always nice, but Nest took it a step further for customer delight.
While walking Scott through the diagnostic procedure they discovered his home had some abnormal wiring that required a technician to repair. This is where you would expect the story to have a negative ending, but instead Nest reimbursed him for the expense of hiring a professional technician and apologized for the inconvenience.
What B2B marketers can learn about customer delight from Nest:
Solve a problem that's preventing your customer from enjoying your product/service
If your company can afford it, go above and beyond to turn a negative experience into an overwhelmingly positive one
Obviously this example of customer delight would be too expensive to scale, but I'd say it paid off well for Nest in the end. You never know which customer of yours will write an article about you on LinkedIn for thousands of people to see.
In 2012, the citizens of Bethel, Alaska became extremely excited when they found out a Taco Bell was opening in their remote town -- since the closest one was over 400 miles away in Anchorage. Unfortuantely, their joy quickly turned to sadness when they discovered that the rumor of Taco Bell opening a location in Bethel was a giant hoax.
When Taco Bell executives caught wind of this hoax and how much excitement had built up around the potential opening of a new location, they decided to surprise the town of Bethel.
"Operation Alaska," as they called it, sent a helicopter carrying a Taco Bell food truck with enough ingredients to create 10,000 FREE Doritos Tacos flying to the town of Bethel.
Even though it didn't make business sense to open a location in Bethel, there was a clear demand from a loyal base of taco fans. Operation Alaska was not only a successful publicity stunt, it made one heck of a brilliant piece of video content, and created 6,000 delighted evangelists.
What B2B marketers can learn about customer delight from Taco Bell:
Find people that support your brand and reward them, even if you won't make money from them
Look for win-win opportunities where customer delight can also generate a ton of positive PR
Upon seeing the video, Honda Executives decided to return the love by booking the band to perform in front of hundreds of their team members.
But wait -- there's more. When the band arrived, they were informed that there was never a concert planned for Honda and that the band had been booked for Jimmy Kimmel Live. The reaction is priceless and you can see it below.
While your company probably doesn't have the reach Honda does, it doesn't mean you can't deliver a huge favor for your best customers.
What B2B marketers can learn about customer delight from Honda:
Connect a customer with another business or person that can take their brand to the next level
Reward your most valuable customers with an experience, instead of a predictable "thank you"
To round things off, here's an example from my own experience:
My birthday is at the end of April and one of my favorite things about it is how many of the loyalty/rewards programs I belong to send out freebies. One such brand is bareMinerals.
Having just joined the makeup brand's "FAB" or Friends & Benefits program a few months prior, I knew that "a personalized birthday gift" was on its way, but when the month rolled around, I never heard a word.
Doing some YouTube research, I learned that I could go into a bareMinerals retail store, give them my email address, and pick up my gift, but alas when I got there, a rep said I needed to have the email in-hand.
So, I took to social media. I tweeted the company and quickly got a response:
Within a few days, I recieved this little treat and a handwritten note in my mailbox and I was floored with "delight:"
Not only did the company respond quickly, but it got to work on a solution right away as well. I merely expected an email to be resent to my inbox, but bareMinerals shipped the gift directly to my home, saving me the trip to the mall.
What B2B marketers can learn about customer delight from bareMinerals:
Be prompt! The only thing worse than a customer service issue is one that takes too long to be corrected.
Go the extra mile. If you can do something to make your customers life even just a little bit easier, do it.
Don't be afraid to go analog. Though my entire interaction with the company was digital, over modern mediums, it charmed me by sending a physical package and handwritten note. This traditional touch showed a human element rare today and it certainly won me over!