Is your company really making your customers happy?

Recently I was asked to give a talk on ‘customer journey’. This concept maps the ‘journey’ that a customer takes through a store, web shop or organization. Followers of this concept emphasize that all phases of this journey should connect seamlessly. After this streamlined customer journey the customer should be content for a little while. That’s why the cashier in the grocery store says goodbye to you with an upbeat phrase like ‘have a nice day!’: the obligatory final part of the customer journey.

A well thought out customer journey is the foundation of  your company. It has to click. Unfortunately I have noticed that customer journey often becomes a goal in itself. Managers implement lots of instructions and they must be followed to the letter, or else the customer journey will be disrupted. In my opinion, a business shouldn’t lose itself in minor details like that. That the customer journey is in place and is logical, is sufficient.

You won’t find the road to success by serving your customer correct, via customer journey. Success  springs from raising the bar to customer delight: to making your customer happy.

From one of the Young Ladies at my Businesses Academy I know that luxury hotels budget up to a 1000 euro per room for customer delight. That money goes towards trying to make the customer happy, for example by giving them an expensive bottle of wine with a personalized label. The intentions are good. But as a savvy businesses woman I wonder how much warmth that bottle spreads. Does it really bring happiness? I don’t think so. That hotel just wasted a 1000 euro.

What should we do instead?

I’m not saying that I have all the answers. But I do know that Jan Doets was already striving for customer delight long before this concept crossed the pond from America. What I would recommend, based on years of experience, is to break free from the straight-jacket of faking and mandatory smiling. Go for something playful, surprising even yourself!

For example one time we went to a tulip grower for the naming of a special Jan Doets tulip. Not the most exciting event, you might think. But by bringing golf clubs, baseball bats, New York Yankee caps and soccer balls we got the customers excited to try their hands at it in the tulip fields. They worked up a sweat wanting to score that hole in one, home run or goal. Tough guys struggled and and shy guys shone. The most important thing to me: they couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards. That is what I call customer delight.

Too many businesses forget that the customer is a human being, not a robot.