Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers and Simply Make it Easy for Them

This month's Harvard Business Review (HBR) article Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers argues that companies should focus on meeting their customers' needs rather than trying to provide over-the-top service to increase tenure and customer loyalty.  The latter doesn't translate into increased loyalty and efforts toward it are usually at the expense of the former.

Customers notoriously punish bad service, particularly when left on hold, transferred while on a service call, or when they receive egregious customer service.  We've all been there and we've all told two friends and two friends and so on.  Customers share negative experiences at twice the rate of positive ones, according to a customer service and loyalty study from the Customer Contact Council. What's more, reducing customers' efforts builds loyalty, the vague notion of delighting them does not.  Customers want their problem solved, not some whiz-bang, over the top widget.  And finally, improved customer service, particularly in the call-to-contact realm does more to reduce churn than the "delight them" efforts.  Maybe, the "delight them" focus should be on the customers' experience rather than delight in the company's product.

What are your thoughts on customer service and the customer experience?  Do you want to be delighted or are you often disappointed because your core services needs are unmet?