Employees jumping in the air

You can’t delight customers without delighting your employees first

It’s hard to go a week without hearing organizations and business leaders talk about “customer delight” and “delighting customers”, but do they understand what it takes to delight customers? Hint – it has nothing to do with technology.

Many organizations have a great website, but when you call their customer service or visit their store, there is nothing delightful about the experience. How can you delight customers, when in certain instances you fail to meet their minimum expectations? 

To truly delight customers you need to address two organization-wide challenges first: 

Working In Silos

Many teams work in silos, not because they want to, but because large organizations are often dispersed – working on different floors, in various buildings, and sometimes different cities and countries. How do you effectively communicate, implement and monitor a company-wide strategy in such an environment? This is why “delighting customers”, and the culture required to support it, is difficult to implement in large organizations. By no means is it an impossible task, but it may take years to achieve because it will require a company-wide shift. For example, company culture, recruitment, KPIs, and incentives may all need an overhaul. 

This is where smaller organizations have a big advantage because excellent customer experience is easier to implement and monitor on a smaller scale. In simple terms, smaller organizations are more fixable; therefore, ‘delighting customers’ becomes a much easier task. 

Under-appreciated Employees

Is it realistic to expect a minimum wage employee to delight customers? Is an unsupportive work environment conducive to delighting customers? Are employees willing to go the extra mile under these circumstances? The answer is simply no. Therefore, irrespective of how good your “customer delight” strategy is, execution is crucial and it cannot be faked. If your employees are unhappy, your customers will detect it right away, and in today’s world, bad customer experiences spread like viruses. Can you teach an employee to be passionate, happy, or have empathy? No, these qualities come out naturally when organizations delight their employees. If you need an example, visit Trader Joe’s or talk with someone at Zappos.

In summary, if you are truly committed to ‘delighting customers’ you should first delight your employees, and in return, they will be more than happy to delight your customers. Having happy and passionate employees is the first and the most important step in achieving ‘customer delight”.

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