“We see our customer as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job everyday to make every aspect of the customer service a little better”- Jeff Bezos
Delightful customer experience must be the core driving principle of a Brand. Delight should not be equated with merely satisfying customer needs or a means of achieving some other goal. Rather, delight goes beyond just a transactional relationship; it aims at reaching that level of connect with the customer where one feels like a part of that brand’s story.
Delight as a feeling goes beyond a logical explanation - it is something that is valued by customers much more than the cost, efforts and quantifiable benefits involved. Pleasant surprises, going out of the way, doing something which is not expected, gestures which need to be quantified in value terms are some of the things a brand can do to delight their customers. More often than not delight does not cost much… it is like a breath of fresh air, a random natural phenomenon, something that need not be replicated all the times.
Tough times require us to challenge ourselves even more! ‘Delight the Customer’ is one such challenge that must excite every passionate Marketing Professional in today’s times. We need to move beyond creating strategies to build Brands - we must look beyond the horizon and start thinking of a Delighted Customer as the sole purpose of our existence.
The process of building a customer starts from building stronger emotional ties with existing & potential customers. Some steps that may help in this journey are:
1. Give customers a sense of comfort and order
• Customers need to know that they are in capable hands. Are all the internal processes that help engagement with customers well organized & consistent? A brand needs to help guide customers through the processes and answer their questions with confidence along the way.
• Even if customers are already well informed about the Brand, its product & services and have done their research; even if they seem to already have a strong opinion about what they want to buy and what is the right fit for their needs - they will still respect you more if they see that your processes are professionally handled at every step of the way.
• This makes your customers more likely to buy from you again in the future, and makes them more likely to refer you to their friends.
2. Give them a delightful customer experience
• Customer experience has the potential to become the most effective form of ‘marketing’. When people experience what it’s like to work with a Brand, they want to keep coming back and talk about their experience with others (positive WOM).
• One of the biggest competitive advantages in today’s economic climate is to have an amazing, memorable, thoughtful customer experience. Look for ways to be creative in delivering MOD (Moments of Delight), where you pleasantly surprise your customers by over-delivering - above and beyond their expectations.
• Remembering the customer on their special days (birthday, anniversaries, etc.), a dedicated line for the loyal/ high value customers where they never have to go through the tedious automated voice menu, special loyalty rewards program or ‘celebration’ to celebrate long-time customer relationships.
3. Don’t be afraid to get personal and use humor
• Surely in the professional world of business relationships everyone needs to behave with a certain degree of professionalism, respectfully, using appropriate language and decorum. However, these etiquettes of formal behavior must not limit the whole interaction to a functional/ transactional one.
• Brand needs to open up a bit with customers - after all the brand is a person in its own right, with an identity which is more than sum of people working for it. A Brand can have a favorite music or movies or sports teams.
• Brands should attempt to learn more about what the customers like to do in their spare time. This can open up a new level of understanding and connection between the Brand and its customers. The communication can become a more fun conversations and help build a deeper rapport between the brand and customer.
• Brand need not be afraid to be “real” and be human!
• Does the brand have a sense of humor? It should! Not in a way that offends people, of course - but it’s totally possible to use humor in a business setting in a way that shows authentic human warmth and personality of the Brand. Customers will respond well to this, even in highly “technical” industries. It doesn’t hurt to have fun while making money, and the best customers tend to appreciate this more than ever.
4. Keep your promises; Be a trusted advisor
• Part of building a great customer relationship involves establishing trust. This means keeping Brand promises at every stage of the customer’s journey.
• Call back when promised. Be responsive. Be available at the promised times. Don’t nickel and dime the customers. Honor Brand’s price quotes. Put it in writing.
5. Communicate the way customer wants
• We live in an omnichannel world. Customer today use multiple channels during their purchase journey. A brand needs to communicate with customers the way they want – whether it’s through email, text, chats, social media or in-person, it is imperative for the brand to provide a consistent and seamless experience across platforms to customers.
You might find that building stronger emotional connections is not just about having a well written website or a well-designed product. Instead, it is about simple things like getting people to trust you by keeping your promises and giving people a well-organized experience of working with you.
Once a brand provides that elusive delight to the customer, it creates a strong connect that cannot be broken by any transactional incident.
Once a brand provides that elusive delight to the customer, it creates a strong connect that cannot be broken by any transactional incident
It is especially true in the current day and time when the wallets of the customers are squeezed but their aspirations are intact… it is beginning to impact consumption and that in turn is hurting brands too. An intense competition among brands for the shrinking play zone would further erode their brand values. The bigger the brand, the harder the fall may be. While it would also be prudent to try to expand the customer base, one idea to ride this storm without compromising on brand’s ethos could be to stand hands in hand with its core customers, especially in the tough times.
And if the things in the last few weeks are any indication, the first month of the first year of new decade signals tougher times ahead.
The Consumer behavior and Marketing experts across the world feel that while consumer behavior in 2019 was driven by the desire to Seek Stability, the overriding sentiment for 2020 is going to be one of ‘Wait and Watch’.
Here are some of the key Consumers & Market trends to look out for in 2020, specifically for Indian consumers and market. It is imperative to stay in touch with the changing consumer & market conditions and define what ‘Building a Customer’ means for the Brand.
1.Waiting for the Economy to Recover:
Slower consumption in urban India is due to weaker employment opportunities and lower availability of finance from non-bank lenders and in Semi-urban/ Rural India the reasons are money allocated in government schemes not reaching families, and an erratic, even if above-average monsoon, majorly. Declining saving, especially household saving, is likely to be a major challenge for the retail market and the economy.
•One positive for the marketers is the entry of digital lending players that offer instant loans, and easy EMI options, credit is available on fingertips for consumers across semiurban/ rural India.
2. Waiting for Deals:
In 2019, nearly 97% of Indian households bought at least one Consumer product on promotion. Amazon and Flipkart accounted for 90% of the e-tailer market, with gross sales of both companies together reaching ₹19,000 crores over the six days of their Big Billion Days and Great Indian Festival sales.
•Cashbacks adopted by brands to attract spendswise consumers will continue to remain a positive hook.
3. Rise of Social Commerce:
Social commerce platforms like Meesho, GlowRoad, Dealshare, Mall18 and others are tapping into the above market opportunity. Which are hyperlocal and trust-based in nature and work by sharing deals over WhatsApp. In India, Bulbul and simsim apps which follow live-streaming model.
4. Waiting for Infrastructure:
Done right, carpooling can contribute to solve the pollution and traffic problem. QuickRide, does 1.6 million trips a month. Organizations are adopting Work from home culture. Restaurant menus are having Detox options.
5. The more we consume, the more we waste:
84% of marketers surveyed globally said conscious consumerism and sustainability would have significant or some impact on marketing strategy in 2020. Business Opportunities utilized: Ugly Food movement, Waste Food Management, Fabric reutilization, Sustainable product making.
6. Won’t wait for Experience:
37% urban Indians said that they are financing their experiences by trading down in jewelry, mobile phones, apparel, and home furnishings etc. This leads to rise in Rental business.
7. Won’t shy away from Risk:
People are moving back to smaller towns/non-metros. 30% want to leave metros within the next 5 years, and 26% are waiting for a good job option. Due to online availability, consumers try different food varieties and take online courses to future-proof their career.
8. Japanese, Korean & Chinese brands on the rise:
Japanese designer brands like Miniso, Mumuso, Chinese smart-phone brands like Oppo and Vivo, Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo, skincare brand like Innisfree are catering to the interested consumers. South Korean government has allowed visa-free entry for Indian tourists to Jeju Island, a hub for duty-free shopping and entertainment. Hallyu, the over two-decade long wave of South Korean pop culture which has created K-drama and K-pop is also well-accepted amid Indians.
9. Game On:
India on its way to becoming the world’s youngest country by 2020
10. Watch Local:
On average, an Indian spends 6.2 hours consuming online content daily. 70% of consumers preferring content in regional language over Hindi and English.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so”- Mahatma Gandhi.