Have you ever noticed that some colossal brands don’t need to market? Tesla. Disneyland. Zappos. These companies have invested vigorously in creating memorable and unique experiences around their products and through this, have made their customers into their sales and marketing engines. These brands are not simply meeting customer needs. Far from it. They are seeking to massively over deliver from what people are used to, and through that, create customer delight. It is that customer delight that created viral word of mouth growth and helped businesses like Zappos grow to become multi-billion dollar superstars.
Zappos began humbly in 1999, trying to get into the online shoe sales market, establishing a new brand identity from scratch and without VC funding. Zappos decided that they would have an intense focus on customer delight and culture. Here are some of the things they did according to Inc.:
- Order at midnight and receive your shoes the next morning
- Free returns and refunds. For a year.
- If they don’t have your size they will call three of their competitors and get you connected with one of them to get the shoe you want
It is things like that last point above that show a true dedication to customer delight.
At first glance, someone might think that Zappos would get no direct benefit from calling competitors if they didn’t have the right shoe. But the magic is that it’s such an unexpected and customer centric thing to do, it breeds incredible good will and many of those customers will come back and buy more from Zappos. In fact, they have one of the highest repeat traffic numbers in the business, with a whopping 70% of revenues coming from repeat buyers.
The word of mouth from these experiences spreads like wildfire. Referrals and people sharing on social media were huge drivers for Zappos’s meteoric rise.
What are ways that you, as a business owner, can create this viral customer delight? Here are some tips:
- Think like a customer: If you need to return something, what is the least stressful way a company can facilitate that? For one company I bought a piece of clothing from but got the wrong color, they didn’t even make me return the item! They just sent me a new one right away. Wow! I once ordered a daily vitamin and they included another free supplement with it for free! It made for a pleasant surprise! Put yourself in your customers shoes and ask yourself, “What kind of experience is going to be exceptional enough, that people tell their friends”
- Fault is irrelevant. Just solve their problem: I love this example I heard about from Disneyland. A woman is visiting the park with her family and loses her purse. It has all her money, IDs… everything. She is distraught. Clearly it is not Disneylands fault that this woman lost her purse but what do they do? They pull out all the stops. They give her free food vouchers for the day, whatever she wants at no charge. They give her park tickets for the following days AND they send a handful of employees out to find the purse (which they eventually do). She shares on social media and they get a ton of PR for going above and beyond.
So often companies get caught up in whose fault things are or if they are going to be exploited for their good will. While there will always be people who try and take advantage of things, the positive impact of going above and beyond will be far greater than the one or two bad seeds. Remember that as a brand you are not just responsible for a product or service, you are responsible for an experience.
- Embrace the Purple Cow: A famous marketer, Seth Godin wrote a book where he talks about the phenomenon of a purple cow. Essentially he states that if you were driving down the street and you saw a cow, you wouldn’t think much of it. But if you saw a purple cow, you would stop and stare, take pictures, tell people… This principle also applies to customer delight. If you go above and beyond to create amazing experiences, people will share them! Imagine if you bought an album from your favorite band and the drummer sent you a personal video thanking you for your support. You would be mind blown! So get personal, write letters, send gifts, send video emails. Make your customers experience with your brand noteworthy.
By focusing and investing on your customer’s delight, you will create a powerful engine for growth. Harvard Business Review put it well where they stated:
“Operational skill used to confer long-term advantage. If you had leaner manufacturing, made higher-quality products, or had superior distribution, you could outrun competitors. But today those capabilities are table stakes. The new source of competitive advantage is customer centricity: deeply understanding your customers’ needs and fulfilling them better than anyone else.”
We have seen this reality unfold time and time again. The companies with the deepest dedication to customer centricity create ravings fans, those raving fans become advocates of the product and that advocacy creates real and sustainable business growth.
In this video, a panel of brand strategists talk about positioning and how brands should approach marketing during COVID:
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How do you approach brand strategy and positioning in your organisation?
At Bonjoro, we help brands deliver customer delight through personalized video emails. Fast growing startups such as YMCA, CURE international, ConvertKit, Sothesby’s and Compass, have increased their open rates above 70% and email CTR beyond 50%, resulting in higher conversion and LTV through our personalised video content. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will show you how it works.
Here’s how Promoter.io SaaS solution is nurturing their sales leads with Bonjoro: