You've had a full-on day. Traffic has been awful, one of your employees has called in sick so you've been running understaffed, and now you're late to pick up your kids from school.
On the way home, you swing by your favourite store that sells locally-made artisanal foods to pick up an online order. It's the only way you can do your shopping these days. Once home and unpacking your order you spy a chocolate bar at the top of the bag. You don't remember ordering this online, but there's a small note attached; "Thanks for supporting us! Have a great day!"
It's only a small gesture, especially considering the value of your shop - but this unexpected surprise leaves you with a sense of feeling valued and rewarded as a customer.
The use of "Surprise and Delight" can be a powerful way to not only build loyalty in your existing customer base, but also attract new customers and drive trials. Either way, think of it more as
genuinely engaging with your customers and surprising them with a positive experience above and beyond their expectations - and with no strings attached!
Asking a customer to transact or leave positive feedback in order to get something in return is not an example of surprise and delight - that's just another marketing ploy!
Surprise and Delight doesn’t need to be a big burden to your financial accounts, nor does it need to be physical "gifts" that you need to procure for your customers. So step back from channelling your inner Oprah.
Have a bit of a think about what your business has to offer that may not impact your books too much, but your customers would perceive as high in value simply from the unexpected surprise. This could be as simple as writing a nice message on a coffee cup, offering an additional service, or even giving away old stock as freebies that would otherwise be gathering dust - or worse - thrown out.
Just make sure to keep changing it up! The moment your approach becomes predictable, it will no longer be surprise and delight and instead shift and lock in customer's new expectations. Find new ways to get your customers engaged or even involve the public by asking them to make nominations. The key is that you don't necessarily need to change what you're surprising and delighting customers with, but how you do it.
In today's world and particularly with digitisation, businesses can engage with their customers in many different ways instead of face to face. In doing so, it can be easy to have your blinkers on and think of your customers as consumers only, rather than the complex humans that they actually are.
Get to know your customers and build a picture of who they are. Start with just their name by personalising wherever possible. Celebrate known milestones with your customers such as birthdays or business anniversaries. You could also choose to brighten someone's day instead if you know your customer is going through a bit of a bad time.
Most importantly, be empathetic! Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and picture how you would like to be treated and what small actions might have big impacts in their situation.
Successful surprise and delight initiatives should feel like you're effortlessly adding value for a customer at that moment in time. Customers can interact with your business through one of many touchpoints, so there are multiple ways to surprise and delight them.
For a larger business, the dishing out of rewards shouldn't be limited to being done by just one person.
Empower your team to recognise opportunities where they could do something nice for a customer and give them the freedom to surprise and delight at their own discretion.
Consider all your channels as well. Do you have any social media platforms or regular email communications that involve two-way interaction with your customers? Use your channels to either push out a special treat, or react in the moment when a customer engages with you.
There's no hard and fast rule with surprise and delight. But we reckon just try being in the moment and let things happen naturally. You might be surprised yourself!