An inbound marketing approach focuses on four major actions: attract, convert, close, delight.
You attract visitors to your website, convert them into leads, close them into customers, and then delight them so they become advocates of your brand.
However, the most successful companies focus on delighting prospects at every stage of the inbound journey, not just once they become customers.
By going that bit further to create a memorable experience at all touch points, you can cultivate an emotional connection with your customers that will make them more likely to be loyal to your brand long-term.
What is customer delight?
HubSpot describe customer delight as;
“The process of exceeding a customer's expectations to create a positive customer experience with your product or brand to improve loyalty.”
While customer satisfaction is about meeting the customer’s expectations, such as delivering the product they ordered within the timescales you promised, customer delight is about going that bit further to exceed their expectations.
Customer delight is what creates memorable, emotional experiences, and makes people view you as a brand - not just a company.
In today’s competitive business world, delighting your customers is critical to your long-term success. Satisfied customers still defect at even the slightest of motivations, such as a competitor’s better price or faster delivery time. They may be pulled towards a competitor by a powerful piece of content or an engaging social media post - or swayed by reviews on Google or Yelp.
The emotion of delight
Delight is an emotion - and when we have an emotional response to an experience, it becomes more memorable. And a memorable experience is exactly what you want to provide for your customers and prospects.
Psychologists suggest that we feel delight when we experience a positive surprise. It’s why marketers often call it ‘surprise and delight’.
When our expectations are disconfirmed - but in a good way - it activates an arousal state that is quite pleasant. And this pleasant state is known as the “emotion of delight”. It’s what you feel when you receive an unexpected gift from a loved one. Or when you run a new PB in a time you thought was out of reach.
How to delight your customers and prospects
The secret to delighting your customers and prospects is all in understanding their needs, wants and aspirations.
Crucially, your target audience are people first and buyers second. They will strive to satisfy their core needs at a level more compelling than their specific expectations as buyers.
1. Solve their problems
Freud may have been wrong about a lot of things, but one theory most psychologists agree on is the “pleasure principle” - the instinct to gratify desires and avoid pain.
We’re hardwired to want things as fast as possible. So your website needs to tell people quickly and succinctly how your product or service can solve for their pain. This means having a clear value proposition, simple copy with no jargon, and videos, images and testimonials to back you up.
Donald Miller, author of Creating a Storybrand, says, “The key is to make your company’s message about something that helps the customer survive and to do so in such a way that they can understand it without burning too many calories.”
Features like chatbots and FAQs also provide an opportunity for instant gratification. If a prospect is looking at your website wondering whether your product or service will work for them - they can get the answer right away.
You can also empower your prospects and customers by writing helpful blog posts, sharing tips on social media, and creating pillar pages and eBooks to help educate them. And at the same time, prove yourself to be a knowledgable source of information.
Ultimately, a delighted customer is someone who comes away from your website feeling lighter than they did before because you’ve shown them there is a solution to their problems.
2. Help them succeed
Be sure to understand exactly why people are buying your product or service. To do this, you need to understand the pain points that are causing them to look for a new solution.
Pain should be the first thing your sales team look for in prospects, because that’s what puts them on the buying journey in the first place.
Common pain points your prospects might face are:
- Financial - they’re not getting value for money from their current solution or are spending too much and want to reduce costs
- Support - they’re not getting enough support from their current supplier
- Productivity - they’re looking for a solution to help them work more efficiently and effectively
- Reputation - they’re looking for a solution that makes them look good within the business
When you understand what your prospects’ pain is and what they need from a product or service like yours, you can solve for them to exceed expectations. To do this, create buyer personas and map out the buyer’s journey.
3. Make them feel good
Delighting your customers and prospects is really about making them feel good. As Mary Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps us understand how feeling 'delight' can motivate people to engage with your brand. One of the five tiers in Maslow's theory of motivation is esteem, which encompasses the human need for respect, self-esteem, status and recognition.
Brands can produce delight by maintaining or enhancing an individual's feelings of self-esteem. The key to this is acknowledging the customer’s perspective and empathising with their pain. By placing the customer as the hero and addressing their pain, you acknowledge the worthiness of their perspective.
4. Respond quickly
Making customers and prospects feel good also requires responding to their problems as quickly as possible. By responding ASAP, you show them that they are a priority.
A customer relationship management software (CRM) is a great way to manage all your interactions with prospects and customers, so you can record and log all emails and other forms of communication, and set up reminders to follow up on various issues.
5. Get personal
Personalisation is a key factor in shaping a positive experience for your customers and prospects. Each individual is unique and wants different things - and personalisation helps you to cut through the information overload and offer solutions that are just right for them.
To do this, use personalisation software in your emails or web pages to make content feel like it was designed for individual users.
6. Be human
Lastly, every interaction a prospect or customer has with you should be positive, welcoming and reflective of your brand personality. People want to do business with people. So focus on making your interactions human and leaving people feeling happy and educated.
Delighting your prospects is a critical part of successfully guiding them through the buyers’ journey and towards your solution. If you can create memorable experiences at every touch point, they will be more likely to choose your brand over competitors. But the hard work doesn't stop once they become customers. The best way to drive brand loyalty is to keep creating memorable experiences for your customers so they continue to work with you - and sing your praises to others.
Hopefully, the tips and tactics above will have given you some inspiration to create memorable experiences for your customers and prospects that exceed their expectations.