Don’t Waste Money Delighting Your Customers
Don’t waste money delighting your customers. That’s the message from an intriguing new study and report just issued by the Corporate Executive Board. Why not delight your customers? Because meeting expectations is enough to keep them loyal. Going beyond those expectations and “delighting” them has no measurable impact on loyalty. Quoting from the report:
Most companies underestimate the value of simply meeting customer expectations and overestimate the value of exceeding them. Customers simply want their question answered or their product fixed so they can go back to their lives. They enjoy a delightful experience in the moment but quickly forget it and do not factor it into future decisions.
The research also points to what does improve loyalty: making customer interactions as easy and as low-effort as possible. And on the flip side, it points to aspects of customer interactions that destroy loyalty, such as repeat interactions, channel switching, generic service, repeating information, and transfers.
Of course the study is primarily about service interactions to resolve issues, not about products. Moreover, one critical premise of the study is that customer loyalty is what we have our eye on. The Net Promoter Score craze of the last decade has convinced many business leaders that loyalty is THE key ingredient to business growth and profit, and the Corporate Executive Board is no exception. But is loyalty really the be-all and end-all? We’re not so sure. As we reported a couple months ago, a recent meta-analysis of loyalty research turns that premise on its head.
And of course I can’t help thinking about this new study in the context of Versta Research’s own customers. Is it foolish to exceed expectations? Do we over deliver for no real benefit?
From a business-only perspective, maybe so. But one reason we excel at our work is that we love helping clients and delighting them with our work. We live for the superlatives of a client saying “This is awesome.” Delighting customers may not add to the bottom line of every project we do, but it fuels the excitement and deep the satisfaction we get from the work. It delights us, and that’s one great reason to keep doing it.