As a business or brand in a competitive market, what can you do to set yourself apart from your competitors and make consumers choose you every time?; be it for a first time purchase or for repeated purchases. Every successful business recognises the importance of healthy, long-lasting customer relationships, of not only converting prospects to customers but turning those customers into strong advocates.

It doesn’t matter whether your business is operating successfully, without capturing consumers on an emotional level, your brand would always only be second best. To connect with consumers on an emotional level, you need to shift your focus from customer satisfaction to customer delight.

According to Ipsos Loyalty Report, delighted customers are five times more likely to make a new purchase than satisfied customers. A satisfied customer may be happy with the service received but may not decide to make another purchase. A customer is satisfied when his expectations are met. This happens when the brand or business delivers on the promises it has made to its customers.

On the other hand, a customer is delighted when the brand or business delivers over and above expectations. This could be described as a “wow” factor. It could be in the form something as little as a simple gesture on the part of the business. Customer delight ultimately leads to loyalty, advocacy, and increased lifetime value. Customer satisfaction is a thing of the past; the way of the future is customer delight!

Here is how:

1. Increased competitive advantage:

There are several levels of satisfaction, with delight being at the top of the pyramid. Since consumers tend to make their purchase decisions on an emotional level, it is essential to focus on getting to the top of the satisfaction pyramid, which is customer delight. Once you can achieve this, your business will gain a competitive advantage. A delighted customer is less likely to make a purchase elsewhere. A satisfied customer, on the other hand, may be indifferent as to where he takes his business as long as he is getting the same value of product or service.

2. Loyalty

A delighted customer would always decide to come back for a new purchase just to relive the emotional experience that was previously received. This means that there is more than a fair chance that a delighted customer would come back each time with renewed expectations when your business has made a habit of shooting for customer delight. Customer loyalty, therefore, creates an increased lifetime value.

3. Advocacy

Although businesses with an online presence often make provisions for satisfied customers to post testimonials, customer delight takes the process to a whole new level. There are several channels through which information about a particular business could be spread. Delighted customers can create a large sphere of influence through social media, word of mouth, etc. The overall sentiment built around your business can spread rather quickly, with excellent benefits ensuing from the positive vibe.

There is no unique formula for achieving customer delight. What it takes is a combination of different factors that will help shape customer experience. Some of these factors include personalised offers, empathy, satisfactory employee-customer relationship, and consistency.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.