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I Don't Want To Be "Delighted." I Want My Problem Solved!

Concerned about "delighting" your customers?  Stop and think for a moment says Harvard Business Review;
"The idea that companies must “delight” their customers has become so entrenched that managers rarely examine it. But ask yourself this: How often does someone patronize a company specifically because of its over-the-top service? You can probably think of a few examples, such as the traveler who makes a point of returning to a hotel that has a particularly attentive staff. But you probably can’t come up with many.

"Now ask yourself: How often do consumers cut companies loose because of terrible service? All the time. They exact revenge on airlines that lose their bags, cable providers whose technicians keep them waiting, cellular companies whose reps put them on permanent hold, and dry cleaners who don’t understand what “rush order” means."
In short, delighting customers doesn't build loyalty; reducing their effort with consistent service and rapid problem solving does.

It's a conclusion that makes intuitive sense, more may be the pity.  These days, many industries are full of undifferentiated competitors all operating on a "It's OK if we're no worse than anyone else" leadership strategy.  Shell-shocked consumers, meanwhile, have grown so used to horrible, cattle-car service that it's considered a strategic insight to advise in favor of decent service, delivered consistently.

You can succeed at being "consistently decent" for a time.   But you'd better keep an eye on the customer service leaders in your industry and others.  The game changes when someone else figures how to be "consistently outstanding."


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