How “Delight” is Better Than “Surprise and Delight”

Why Your Customer Experience Shouldn’t Have Surprises!


Many people believe that surprise and delight is a great customer service practice.  Is it really?

The accepted concept behind surprise and delight is that you surprise your customer with a level of service that exceeds their expectations.  This would obviously mean that you provide a positive customer experience.  Otherwise, it would be called surprise and disappoint.  And, nobody would embrace that concept!

What got me thinking about this was the interview I listened to recently on Shep Hyken’s Amazing Business Radio.  Shep was interviewing Matt Dixon about the book he co-authored with Nick Toman called The Effortless Experience, where they discuss the concept of surprise and delight.

Their book focuses on how easy it needs to be to reach your customer service department and get a question answered or a problem resolved.  Their whole point is that customers don’t want to be surprised by anything.

Your customers don’t want the surprise of a credit on their next month’s bill or something for free.  They just want their experience to be easy. Without hassles of any kind.  They don’t want to wait on hold.  They don’t want to answer multiple questions to prove who they are. They just want to get the answer to their question or the solution to their problem.

I believe that your customer would rather have a quick resolution of their problem rather than a coupon for 20% off their next purchase.  Even if you surprise customers with the gesture of a discount, it won’t make up for the hassle they endured to get their problem resolved.


Customer’s Just Want Delight!


In other words, customers don’t want surprise and delight.  They just want delight.  When it comes to your business, you have to select the right time and place to surprise your customer.

Surprise should never be part of your customer service.  Surprise should be a spontaneous part of your customer experience.  Surprise could be when a server at your restaurant overhears that it is a couple’s anniversary. So you surprise the couple with complimentary champagne.  

That’s a pleasant surprise, unlike a surprise to make up for something unpleasant, such as having to wait on hold for a customer service agent to connect with you about a problem.

The time to surprise is when you have the opportunity to make a good situation even better.  Surprise should add to your customers experience rather than trying to make up for a bad customer experience.

Otherwise, your focus should always be on delight.  When you consistently focus on meeting and exceeding your customer’s expectations, they will be delighted. When there is a problem and you take care of it without hassle and friction, they will be delighted.


Customer Service Should Never be a Surprise


A surprise should never be part of your customer service.  Your customer service should be everything that customer hopes for, expects, and demands.  Your customer should never say, “I was surprised that I had a good experience with them.”  Instead, your customer should say, “It’s always a delight to do business with them.”



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