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Six Strategies for Developing Customer Delight

Focusing on customer delight has become a crucial strategy for businesses aiming to foster loyalty and enhance satisfaction. By prioritizing exceptional customer experiences, companies can build stronger relationships with their customers, encourage repeat business, and create lasting positive impressions. This article explores the significance of customer delight and provides strategies for businesses to elevate their customer experience and thrive in a competitive market.



The Importance of Customer Delight

U.S. consumers are more frequently switching brands and retailers. This trend of diminishing brand loyalty has made customer delight more critical than ever. Consider the following:

  • As reported by McKinsey & Co., consumers are increasingly turning to private-label goods to “cope with inflation” (Alldredge, 2022).

  • The Wall Street Journal reported a decline in the quality of customer experiences provided by brands, indicating a growing impatience among consumers (Deighton, 2022).

  • According to Qualtrics, 80% of customers have switched brands due to poor customer experiences, and 43% have done so after a single bad experience (Qualtrics, 2021).

  • PwC noted that 26% of consumers stopped using or buying from a business in the past year, while 82% would share personal data for a better customer experience (PwC, 2022).


Six Strategies for Developing Customer Delight


Be Consumer-Led

To delight customers, businesses should adopt consumer-led brand strategies that focus on high awareness, advocacy, and loyalty. Recognizing the rise of emotional loyalty is essential; understanding and engaging with customers' experiences and feelings can foster stronger connections. Personalized customer experiences and balancing physical and digital engagements are also crucial. Furthermore, prioritizing efforts to understand younger and more diverse groups can enhance customer engagement. Examples of personalization in business include:

  • Nike leverages data from its membership program to provide personalized recommendations and exclusive access to products. This membership program is tailored to customer preferences and shopping behaviors, ensuring that Nike delivers a highly personalized and engaging shopping experience.

  • Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, where bottles were personalized with people's names, is a prime example of a consumer-led initiative. This campaign encouraged customers to find bottles with their names or the names of friends and family, creating a personal connection with the product and enhancing customer engagement.

  • Warby Parker: Warby Parker revolutionized the eyewear industry by focusing on a consumer-centric approach. They offer a home try-on program where customers can select five frames to try on at home for free. This personalized and convenient service allows customers to make informed choices without pressure.


Conduct Precise Price Changes

Retailers should avoid broad price increases that may erode customer trust. Instead, they should tailor prices by customer and product segment to maintain profitability and consumer relationships. Furthermore, re-evaluating price and promotion mixes can help manage cost increases without raising prices. Consider the following brands that practice this method:

  • Unilever adopts a surgical approach to price increases by focusing on product innovation and premiumization. The company often launches new variants of its existing brands with improved formulations or added benefits, allowing for price adjustments that customers are willing to accept due to the perceived value.

  • Tesla strategically raises prices on its electric vehicles by continuously improving technology, features, and performance. Price increases are often aligned with the introduction of new models or significant upgrades to existing ones, ensuring that customers perceive value in the higher costs.


Examine the Customer Journey

Businesses should identify key areas where customers interact with their products and services and seek ways to enhance these experiences. Examples of optimizing the customer journey include: 

  • Discount Tire launched a "Buy and Book Online" program, reducing average wait times and enhancing customer convenience.

  • Zara introduced an in-store mode to enhance shopping experiences, including quick pickups and better in-store navigation.

  • Sephora offers a comprehensive and personalized customer journey through its Beauty Insider program, mobile app, and in-store experiences. Customers can access personalized recommendations, virtual try-on tools, and exclusive rewards, ensuring a cohesive and engaging experience across all channels.


Consider Subscriptions

Subscriptions can build customer loyalty by offering benefits like discounts, lower prices, and automatic renewals. Take the following brands, for example:

  • Blue Apron provides meal kit delivery services, offering various plans that cater to different dietary preferences and family sizes. Subscribers receive fresh ingredients and recipes weekly, making meal preparation easy and enjoyable.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud offers access to a suite of creative software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro, through a subscription model. This allows users to always have the latest versions of Adobe’s tools, along with cloud storage and other benefits.

  • Peloton offers a subscription service for access to live and on-demand fitness classes. Subscribers can use the service with Peloton’s exercise equipment or through the app on their own devices, making it a versatile fitness solution.


Loyalty and Reward Programs

Loyalty programs should be flexible, offering benefits beyond points and discounts, such as experiential rewards. Two examples of successful programs launched include the following:

  • Netflix introduced a more affordable streaming service with ads, in response to inflation and subscriber loss.

  • Apple introduced a high-yield savings account for Apple Card users, allowing them to grow their rewards.


Enhance Mobile Presence

With many consumers checking prices, signing up for subscriptions and loyalty programs, as well as purchasing goods on mobile devices, a strong mobile presence is crucial. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts significant growth in non-store and online sales. Examples of brands who have optimized their mobile presences for the ultimate customer experience include:

  • Starbucks uses its mobile app to offer personalized experiences to its customers. The app allows customers to customize their orders, pay ahead, and earn rewards. This level of personalization and convenience has made the Starbucks app a key tool in maintaining customer loyalty and enhancing the overall customer experience.

  • Target created a mobile app that integrates with its loyalty program, Target Circle, offering personalized deals and rewards. The app allows for seamless online shopping, curbside pickup, and in-store navigation. The Cartwheel feature provides additional savings through digital coupons.

  • Shopify created a mobile app that enables entrepreneurs to manage their online stores from their smartphones. The app provides features such as order management, inventory tracking, and real-time sales analytics. It also offers tools for marketing campaigns and customer engagement, making it a powerful tool for business owners on the go.


Questions for Business Owners, Leaders, CEOs, and Executives to Prioritize Customer Delight

The questions listed below can help business leaders uncover innovative solutions that prioritize customer delight, ultimately fostering loyalty, enhancing satisfaction, and driving long-term success.


General Strategy and Vision

  • What is our vision for customer experience, and how does it align with our overall business strategy?

  • How do we define customer delight, and what are our key metrics for measuring it?


Be Consumer-Led


Understanding Customer Needs

  • How well do we understand the needs and preferences of our customers?

  • What steps are we taking to ensure our brand strategies are consumer-led and focused on high awareness, advocacy, and loyalty?

  • How can we better engage with and understand the experiences and feelings of our customers, particularly younger and more diverse groups?


Personalization

  • How are we leveraging data to provide personalized recommendations and experiences for our customers?

  • What additional opportunities do we have to personalize our products and services to enhance customer engagement?


Conduct Precise Price Changes


Pricing Strategies

  • Are our price changes tailored to different customer and product segments to maintain profitability without eroding trust?

  • How can we better balance our price and promotion mixes to manage costs while still providing value to our customers?


Value Perception

  • How do we communicate the value of our products and services to justify any price increases we implement?

  • What innovative product improvements or premium offerings can we introduce to enhance perceived value?


Examine the Customer Journey


Touchpoints and Interaction

  • Have we mapped out all key customer touchpoints and interactions with our brand?

  • What specific areas of the customer journey can we enhance to provide a more seamless and satisfying experience?


Convenience and Efficiency

  • How can we reduce wait times and improve convenience for our customers, both online and in-store?

  • What technology or processes can we implement to streamline customer interactions and enhance overall satisfaction?


Consider Subscriptions

  • How can we leverage subscription models to build customer loyalty and offer ongoing value?

  • What benefits or incentives can we provide to make our subscription services more attractive to our target audience?


Loyalty and Reward Programs


Loyalty Programs

  • How flexible and engaging are our current loyalty programs?

  • What unique, experiential rewards can we offer to increase the attractiveness of our loyalty programs beyond traditional points and discounts?


Data Utilization

  • How can we better use customer data to enhance our loyalty programs and offer more personalized rewards?


Enhance Mobile Presence


Mobile Optimization

  • How well-optimized is our mobile presence for providing a seamless and engaging customer experience?

  • What additional features or improvements can we make to our mobile app to enhance convenience, personalization, and overall user satisfaction?


Integration and Innovation

  • How can we integrate our mobile app with other customer engagement tools and loyalty programs to provide a cohesive experience?

  • What innovative mobile features can we introduce to stay ahead of competitors and continuously delight our customers?


The main takeaway

Executive coaches have a unique opportunity to guide business leaders toward innovative strategies that prioritize customer delight. By fostering a culture that emphasizes exceptional customer experiences, leaders can drive loyalty, satisfaction, and long-term success. Encouraging executives to ask the right questions and consider diverse approaches—from precise pricing and personalized interactions to enhancing mobile presence and exploring subscription models—can unlock new avenues for growth and differentiation. Ultimately, empowering businesses to truly understand and delight their customers will not only strengthen relationships but also set the stage for enduring competitive advantage


References

Alldredge, K., Coggins, B., Drassinower, R., & Nading, J. (2022, June 2). Navigating inflation in retail: Six actions for retailers | McKinsey. Www.mckinsey.com. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/navigating-inflation-in-retail-six-actions-for-retailers


Deighton, K. (2022, June 7). Customer Experience Is Getting Worse. Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/customer-experience-is-getting-worse-11654639388


PwC. (2022). Building customer loyalty and retention in volatile times - PwC Customer Loyalty Survey 2022. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/business-transformation/library/customer-loyalty-survey.html 


Qualtrics (2021, December 14). Research: 80% of customers said they have switched brands because of poor customer experience, and poor customer service experiences drove the most people to switch. Qualtrics. https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/qualtrics-servicenow-customer-service-research/#:~:text=New%20research%20from%20Qualtrics%20and 


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