delight imageI love The Meat House. The Meat House is just what it sounds like: a place that has lots of delicious meat, plus many other specialty food and drink products. It was started locally in New Hampshire and they now have franchises across the country.

I probably go to my local Meat House a couple times a month. Everytime I go to there I learn something else about how to use a marinade, how to grill a particular type of meat, where the meat originated from, and so on. 

I subscribe to their newsletters, follow them on Twitter, and regularly visit their stores and their butcher's blog. They regularly communicate with me and they use content every time they communicate with me. Most of their content is educational; only a small portion is self-serving promotional content, which usually doesn’t teach me something new or different. Seriously: Almost all of their content is very educational. Are you starting to see a theme here?

What are the businesses that you absolutely love and admire, like me and The Meat House? These are the businesses that you want to physically hug if you could. Are they excellent communicators and educators? Do they create and share content that educates and entertains you? 

There are two commonalities that The Meat House and the businesses you love possess: communication and education.

The strategies for delighting your customers are astonishingly quite simple. It’s the execution of these strategies, the consistency that has to happen across the business that is the hard part.  

Communication and education can help a business create a truly unique position in markets that are competitive and saturated. 

If businesses don't embrace those two things they will run the risk of mediocrity, or worse, closing their doors.

But how can a business execute on communication and education to achieve this unique market position?

Gather Information

To create the right communication cadence and the right educational content, businesses need to gather information about each customer. Information gathering actually starts before a customer is a customer.

Businesses should use information, along with communication and education, to personalize the experience through the customer’s lifecycle.

The information a business collects is invaluable. Being able to easily collect and study the information is essential. Most importantly, businesses must be able to take action with the information.

Transform Information into Action

The Meat House probably has collected some information on me. But how much action can they really create? Most likely can’t take much action from it. The information collection is probably inconsistent and the information is probably not all connected in a central location.

But what if they created a customer delight program?

The primary purpose of such a program would be to continuously enhance and support each customer’s experience. The Meat House would then be able take action on the information they collect.

The result would be more personalized communications by email, at the store, or when I visit their blog. The education would be much more tailored to my needs. The content used to educate me would be the right content to align with my behaviors and my communication preferences. It would motivate to me buy more products.

I LOVE their chicken wings and steak tips. Their marinades are out of bounds and they tumble their tips. Their products are the best you’ll find anywhere. Keep in mind that a bad product will trump communication and education as the key ingredient to delighting customers. A bad product simply won’t delight anyone.

If The Meat House had a customer program they would know that and a whole lot more about my behaviors. They would know I like to get their email newsletter twice a month, which stores I visit most often, what products I buy, or that I read their blog every week. They would know I purchase their chicken wings and steak steps the most often.

If they collected and analyzed my information they would be able to understand how big of an advocate. Just like how marketing and sales uses lead scoring to understand the value of a lead.

Furthermore, the information could be used to map my behavior patterns.

Educate & Communicate

Imagine them being able to send me emails about new marinades and different techniques to grilling the wings and steak tips. Imagine me receiving special deals on steak tips straight from the butcher at my local store. Imagine them being able to understand at the register that I was a very big advocate. Or, how about before I even get to the register?

I give them my member number (like a gym) or they swipe my card (like a grocery store) as soon as I enter the store. The butcher would have all the information they would need to better educate me and recommend new things to try, such as a rack of lamb.

Why a rack of lamb? Well because the butcher noticed that I liked their recent rack of lamb photo and recipe on Facebook a few days ago.

After I enjoyed the delicious rack of lamb they could follow up by email to see how I enjoyed it. Better yet, ask me on my next visit.

The Meat House would literally have thousands of ways they could delight me at their disposal.  

Any business could do this if they had the right tools to collect the information. And more importantly, they’d be able to take action with that information. Action that would span the customer lifecycle, and that would occur at different locations and intervals.

This would create a state of marketing nirvana for the business, and most importantly each customer. But businesses don’t need to wait and shouldn’t wait for the silver bullet to arrive to create nirvana. Businesses should leverage communication and education to delight customers right now. Information will multiply over time and using that information to create marketing nirvana would eventually be the norm.

Come visit me at INBOUND. I want to hear your customer delight stories.

Originally published Jun 21, 2013 7:00:00 AM, updated December 16 2013