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May 29, 2014 // 7:00 PM

Go Beyond Good Enough: How to Delight Your Customers

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delight_inbound_methodologyIf you’ve ever seen the inbound methodology, read this blog, or done pretty much anything inbound-related, chances are you’re at least a little bit familiar with the phrase “attract, convert, close, delight.” These four actions describe everything inbound organizations must do to create an inbound experience that serves potential, current, and future customers.

At its core, an inbound experience is a customer-focused way of doing business that is centered on helping people and solving their problems in the ways they want them to be solved. The “attract” and “convert” parts are what you as a marketer are responsible for, while your salespeople help “close,” and your customer service representatives are in charge of “delight” … right?

Well, not quite. In a truly successful inbound organization, customer “delight” is everyone’s responsibility -- not just those people your customers may come into contact with after buying something from you.

At this point, you may be saying something like “Wait, what? How can I delight customers if they’re not my customers yet!?” And you’d be right! By definition, we can’t delight customers if they’re not customers. But the concept of delight -- providing a remarkable experience to users that focuses on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand -- isn’t just limited to customers. Great inbound companies focus on delighting potential and existing customers from each their very first interaction with the organization -- and you should, too.

Marketers Need to Delight, Too

It’s time to stop thinking of deligh as a responsibility for onlycustomer service reps. Why? Because every single interaction a user has with you, your co-workers, your website, and your content feeds into their overall experience -- and overall impression of your organization as a whole. The better that experience is, the happier your customers are, and the more likely they are to stick around and tell their friends about the great experience your brand provides.

The goal in providing and accumulating these positive interactions throughout a customer’s lifecycle will help you stand out from your competitors and improve your bottom line. Creating an inbound experience whose goal is both pre- and post-sale delight can make a big impact on your organization’s bottom line and serve as a hefty competitive advantage: happy customers stick around longer than those who have a neutral or negative experience.

In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses 6-7x more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But despite that fact, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations (Source: ECHO and American Express). The writing is on the wall: Successful inbound organizations don’t just focus on attracting qualified visitors, converting them into leads, and closing them into customers. Instead, they aim to provide an all-encompassing remarkable inbound experience for potential and current customers.

But how does one actually go about creating this experience in the first place -- and how can you translate the importance of both pre- and post-sale delight into your own organization? Below are three quick, simple gut checks to use when interacting with prospects and customers to ensure your business is doing everything it can to delight.

Are You Delighting People? Ask Yourself These Questions

1) Are you solving peoples’ problems?

The first (and perhaps most important) thing your organization needs to do is solve the problems your potential and current customers bring your way. Offering your customers a solution to the problem they face or a way to achieve the goal they’re working towards is, after all, why they’ve come to you in the first place -- so don’t leave them hanging! Offer your customers the solutions that most align with their individual wishes, needs, and preferences.

Even though they aren’t paying customers just yet, it’s also important to solve your prospects’ problems. The reasoning here is multifold and gets back to the golden rule: help people and they’ll help you. If you can prove to your prospects that you’re trustworthy and effective when they’re not yet even paying, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with your organization down the road. All that goodwill generated pre-sale goes a long way towards easily transforming customers into promoters post-sale.

2) Are you providing recommendations and being helpful?

I'm sure you've heared the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It's one of our favorite adages here at HubSpot that's also applicable to customer delight. Solving your prospects’ and customers’ problems is great in the short term, but what will happen next time they encounter a similar problem or are looking to accomplish a related goal? Going beyond just solving peoples’ problem and handing over information helps them deal with similar challenges down the road.

Empowering both potential and existing customers with education, making recommendations, and helping them succeed are essential to building an inbound experience at your organization. The benefits of enabling people to reach their goals and solve their problems instead of just arming them with facts are far reaching for both your organization and the individual themselves. If your prospects and customers get a constant, positive reminder of your company each time they use your advice and recommendations, your company will become known as a helpful, remarkable organization that customers want to do business with. 

3) Are you enthusiastic, warm, and fun?

Do you enjoy reading the dictionary? What about the encyclopedia? Surely you'd like to hunker down with a thesaurus in your free time?

… Chances are, your answer is a resounding no.

While these massive tomes contain a plethora of facts and figures that would undoubtedly be helpful and solve your problems, they’re more than a little dry and devoid of enthusiasm. The idea of sitting down and flipping through the encyclopedia to learn more about lead generation tactics seems pretty boring and off-putting -- so chances are, it isn’t your first choice when it comes to strategy development.

As marketers, there’s a lot we can learn from these massive volumes -- and not just in their pages of data. No one gets excited about reading the dictionary because it’s boring, dry, and sometimes, obtuse -- so if we want potential and current customers to come to us as a source of knowledge and assistance, we shouldn’t be, either. Make sure that in every interaction with potential and current customers, your company’s voice is enthusiastic, fun, and welcoming. Precisely what ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘fun’ mean for your organization depends on your particular business and industry, but the take-home message is this: if you want to create an inbound experience that truly delights, don’t be a dictionary -- instead, provide a real, warm, personalized, human interaction that respects your user’s time and leaves them happy, satisfied, and educated.

Keep in mind that each gut check above refers not only to the people at your organization who may be interacting with prospects and customers; it applies to the entire external face of your business -- from blog posts to social media messages. Not sure if a particular blog post helps supports your own company’s inbound experience? Run it through these gut checks. Listening in on a sales call and looking for areas to improve? Launching a new marketing campaign you’re not sure is on-target? You guessed it -- do a gut check. Ensure everything your business does delights and contributes to building your own inbound experience.

Want to learn more about specific strategies for delighting both pre- and post-sale? Check out HubSpot’s free Inbound Certification and learn how to cultivate an inbound experience at your company.

hubspot academy inbound certification

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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