We all talk about keeping our clients happy and satisfied, but do we delight them? That may sound like an odd objective but let’s look at the definitions. “Satisfied” is defined as “filled with satisfaction, content.” Whereas “delight” is defined as “a high degree of gratification; also extreme satisfaction.” Given these two definitions, I would prefer to delight my clients rather than simply make them happy. This is particularly important in today’s tough economic climate. Companies that have successfully weathered the economic storm are those that understand that service excellence is a business strategy and recognize that delivering on this strategy is a key differentiator.
According to the recent J. D. Power and Associates Inaugural Cross-Industry Report on Best Practices in Customer Service, during the past decade, average satisfaction scores for service-oriented industries have remained flat, unlike in product-based industries, for which satisfaction has improved steadily. In addition, across all service industries measured by J.D. Power, gaps in satisfaction between the highest- and lowest-performing brands have increased considerably between 2003 and 2010. This is a sad state of affairs for the “service” industry.
In this same report, J. D. Powers recognized Customer Service Champions (the top 5 percent of 800 companies evaluated) representing a variety of different industries, from financial services and insurance to automotive and travel. All had one thing in common: they do more than deliver on their customers’ expectations – they exceed them. Which makes good business sense. Brands that excel in providing customer service often enjoy higher rates of customer retention, pricing advantages and reduced costs to acquire new customers, compared with companies that have lower levels of customer service satisfaction. Among customers of brands designated as J.D. Power Customer Service Champions, 62 percent said they “definitely would” recommend the brand to family and friends, while just 23 percent of customers of other companies included in the report said the same. Additionally, 58 percent of customers of J.D. Power Customer Service Champions said they “definitely would” repurchase products or services from those brands, compared with just 36 percent of customers of other brands included in the report.
So how does Domus delight its clients? It’s by constantly asking clients about their business and proactively providing business building ideas. It’s presenting in person when it’s much easier to send an email. It’s responding immediately to their requests. It’s telling a client that we’ll have the project complete in five days and then delivering it in four days. It’s providing a recommendation, when the client only asked that you research an opportunity. It’s not only securing an interview with the L.A. Business Journal that’s been our client’s wish list, but getting them the Orange Country Business Journal as well. It’s developing and executing a virtual press event that generated 30 top industry media in attendance while saving the client thousands of dollars vs. a traditional media event. It’s offering to do a brainstorming session with a client on a new product launch as a value add service rather than charging a fee. It’s making their lives easier.
So don’t settle for satisfying your clients – delight them!