There’s a lot of talk about ‘customer delight’ but I find few deliver on it. Perhaps you’ve read or heard the phrase used at a conference or on a blog recently – it’s the idea that we shouldn’t just satisfy customers, we should delight them – particularly pertinent because customer satisfaction isn’t hard to come by these days what with everything we want within a few clicks or a stroll through our local city centre.

Unfortunately, this idea of delighting people is a mystery to most, painted as a very soft and intangible concept that is hard to gauge and even harder to create. I’ve certainly heard the phrase ‘customer delight’ used a lot over the past 18 months, but I’m yet to hear anyone tell us how we do.

Well, except for the guys at 1000heads.

How 1000heads do it

When James Whatley posted this beautiful info graphic on “#WhatIsWom” over the summer, I chomped at the bit to get my hands on one for myself. Sure enough, as promised, it came:

There’s two lessons here that I’ve learnt from James and Molly Flatt and the other guys at 1000heads. The first is the fact that they delivered on the promise in the first place. I’m writing this post right now because James made good on a promise to send me my very own #WhatIsWom poster. You can’t underestimate the power of doing what you say you’ll do.

The second thing that they taught me is to disrupt expectations. I didn’t just get the poster as I was expecting, I got a beautiful hand written note to me, which now sits proudly next to my poster over looking my desk as a fond reminder to go the extra mile.

Now Do It Yourself

I wrote a while back on expectation management, in which I presented a framework that helps you go from what we call ‘customer sacrifice‘ (where the customer doesn’t get what they expect), then ‘customer satisfaction‘ (where the customer gets what they expect), through to ‘customer surprise‘ (where the customer gets more than they expect), and even through to ‘customer suspense‘ (where the customer can’t wait to see what they get next.)

To get a beautiful diagram and framework to help you do this, check out The Basics of Expectation Management. But don’t forget the core two points above: do what you say you’ll do, and then go the extra mile.

And I’d say that to do those two, you have to ultimately and passionately care about people. That’s what 1000heads do.

Your Leading Thoughts

  1. What is going the extra mile for you and what you’re doing right now? If you run a business, how can you exceed expectations (and profitably). If you run a church, how you can deliver more value to the congregation than they expect? If you’re blogging away, how can your blog go the extra mile?
  2. I boil this down to passionately caring for people. When you passionately care, you do your best to value and bless people. Do you see the same correlation in passion care = go the extra mile?

Archived Comments

  • Robin Dickinson

    In my business, there is only the extra mile. It’s where there’s the least competition, the most opportunity for differentiation and hence the most margin, which in turn funds my ability to innovate and deliver unprecedented value to decision makers, which in turn drives word-of-mouth recommendation (so zero sales/marketing costs).Yes, I genuinely care about people, but my driver for the above ‘golden circle’ is commercial – and my execution comes from a comprehensive understanding of buyer value-priorities. Again, a value-based model.Best, Robin :)

  • James Whatley

    There’s a note next to my desk which says:

    “IMPORTANT: ‘Personal’ and ‘Personalised’ are two different things”

    Do you see? :)

    In fact, your post just reminded me to blog about it.
    I also owe you an email…

    *runs off to inbox*

  • / Scott Gould

    “There is only the extra mile” – very good!

    As James would testify, the whole point of exceeding expectations is that it creates this word of mouth you’re talking about. Probably the next chapter to unfold, as you say, is to deeply understand the buyer’s value priorities. It’s no use exceeding an expectation that doesn’t matter to them.


  • / Scott Gould

    I like that!

    There is a lot of talk about personal. Your blog post would be very useful to begin unfolding all that…

    Scott :-)

  • Codispodnik

    Hi Scott –

    Sorry I’ve been away. I got a job doing marketing in-house for a local home for the elderly. Let me tell you, there is no better object lesson in going the extra mile, managing expectations and truly serving your customer than dealing with the infirmed and their families, day to day.

    Part of my mission is to improve morale and teamwork among our caregivers and I think these very basic concepts “doing what you say you’ll do” and “going the extra mile” are key. How do I integrate this into the daily consciousness of people that don’t think they have anything to do with “marketing” – that is my next challenge.

    Thanks for another timely message! ~ Codi

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Codi

    How is the job going? Love to hear more about it.

    Integrating this mindset of delight into others – hmm – I would guess it would start by getting them to experience a delightful event, and an awful one!