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10.17.16 | blog

Surprise and Delight Me

I met with a client recently who talked about surprising and delighting their customers and it made me think, when is the last time I was surprised or delighted by an interaction with a company? The following weekend, I visited the cinema with my wife, and they gave us free popcorn! The counter assistant told me she could choose ten customers a day, and we were chosen. I was surprised and delighted!

In service industries across the globe and all verticals, cost pressure and increased competition from niche operators has put service differentiation back to the heart of the consumer’s buying decision. This mantra of surprise and delight could well be a winning strategy and best tested when things go wrong.

I recently returned from a holiday. I am not a complainer by nature but when something irks me, I am not one to hide my opinion. I was woken up by hotel staff vacuuming the room above mine … at 3 a.m. Surprised but not delighted. I called reception and was told a) that I must be wrong and it’s probably guests, b) it is hotel cleaning staff but they won’t be long and c) they have to do it because a Director told them to. Again, surprised but not delighted. Needless to say, I had a somewhat confrontational discussion with the Duty Manager the next morning. 

Compare that with another experience during the same holiday. I reserved a room through a channel partner, who asked me to review the reservation post check-in.  We did so, noting a perfectly satisfactory score but with a comment that said that the check-in process took a long time. That same night, we had dinner in a restaurant on the property and the reservation was missing, we had to wait for a table, and then had poor service. Literally the first thing the next morning, we took a call in our room from the hotel itself, with the advisor concerned and apologetic about our review comment. We explained it was no big issue, but then went on to mention the restaurant experience, which had nothing to do with the hotel itself.  Within minutes, the super helpful advisor (unprompted I might add) credited the full cost of the meal! Totally surprised and delighted!

Reflecting on these experiences, it strikes me that, often, these gestures can go unrecognized by the customer. Do we just expect them? Should we? What really highlighted them to me was not the gesture or the result, but the way in which they were handled by the person I dealt with. The cheerful lady at the cinema, the empathy bypass I experienced at Hotel 1, or the incredible way that the gentleman at Hotel 2 took control of an issue that had little to do with him.

Arise has long evangelized the power of the technology that gives corporations access to a network of virtual call centers with the right people talking to your customers. Matching interests, life experiences or product/service/brand affinities. Motivating them to have engaging interactions and empowering advisors and agents to make decisions and do what is right for the customer. Having access to a virtual network, unlimited by geography, allows companies to engage call centers and their agents who can surprise and delight the customers they speak to on behalf of your company.


About the Author 

Keir Greenwood is the Vice President & General Manager of Arise EMEA, and is responsible for the implementation, operational delivery and relationship management of prospect, new and existing Clients in the European portfolio. Keir leads a talented Management Team, all of whom work from home, to facilitate the delivery of virtual BPO services to market leading brands through the Arise platform. Keir joined Arise in 2009, has a background in staffing solutions and currently resides in the north west of the UK.

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