Friday, July 18, 2008

Delight Your Way to Success

I have been spending much time lately reading and thinking about customer engagement and experience and the importance of it in all businesses. Having a truly passionate customer base is not just for intimate startup companies, as Apple and the recent lines we all witnessed clearly illustrate. Having your customers so delighted with their experience that they will tell their friends and Twitter about their experience and proudly show/tell everyone they know is the most powerful (and inexpensive...sorry Finance guy in me coming out) marketing program any company can achieve. For a startup company positive word of mouth, press and chat is even more important as it can be the difference between success and failure. There are two sides of this experience that I'd like to cover, the product experience and the human experience that in my opinion are equally important.
Building product that is focussed on solving a specific problem that a target audience has or providing them with a new experience they will value is obviously table stakes. Truly delighted customers are looking for much more:
  • Make product consistent and reliable
  • Save time or improve the quality of time for the customer
  • Ease of use will increase adoption and stickiness
  • A slick, well thought out user interface is a game changer
  • Flexibility in design (because your customer is going to try to use you product in ways you probably hadn't imagined...and you want them to)
  • The WOW factor...can't really describe it but you know it when you see it
  • There can be many others depending on the application, audience, etc

You are not beside your customer when they use your product for the first time, make sure you nail form, function and WOW.


EVERY interaction you have with a customer is an opportunity to delight a customer and build your brand. Really folks, this is not hard. Every person in the organization, whether there are 3 or 3,000 is in marketing and sales. I posted earlier on a simple experience at Dairy Queen (sadly no freeby's have arrived at my door) which demonstrates the difference every person in your company can make.

Everytime someone calls in for support on your product....delight them

Everytime someone calls to complain....delight them

Everytime someone asks you where you work....delight them

Attitude is everything, be excited and passionate about what you do. If you aren't how do you expect them to be so moved they will tell their friends and wear your shirt. Always ask them for feedback and suggestions, engage them in making things better. Hiring, retaining and maintaining engaged employees is a seperate post I'll cover later.


My call to action that I think goes a long way to help at a startup: When people download things (product, trials, etc) from your site make it mandatory to enter an email address AND a phone number (don't worry if they have come to your site and are interested enough to download a trial, they will). Now, don't just email your customers call them. Have everyone in your company call at least one person a day to interact and ask some set questions to collect data. This is your chance to delight them on the phone and make a personal connection that will solidify your relationship. At the end of every day, huddle as a group for 5-10 minutes NO more and run through what you found out.

Several major accomplishments occur with this process:

  1. Employees stay engaged with the solution and are always in sales mode every day which creates positive energy and momentum and allows they to get better and more comfortable with it.
  2. The customer experience is enhanced and over time you will build a loyal following of delighted customers.
  3. You will accumulate data, critical intelligence, on your company/product and share it every day which will allow you to spot trends, isolate problems, share wins and drive product and the company forward in lock step with your user community.

Try it and let me know how it works.

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