Customer DelightThe last time I had a problem with my phone service, it didn’t end well. Months prior I’d “liked” AT&T’s Facebook page. Shortly after my bad experience I saw their post on my Facebook timeline touting their great service. I said, “Humph!” and left a comment (i.e. if they’d like to know about a major problem with their customer service, I’d be glad to give them the 411).

That got some attention from AT&T’s social peeps, and soon my Facebook inbox had a message from an AT&T representative.

They called me, and I told them my sad story and explained what was broke at AT&T – actually told about three people. They listened nicely, but I never got far enough up the AT&T food chain to really get anyone to truly hear me. In the end, though I was treated well and listened to, I was still an unhappy camper. After three times relating the same story, they wore me out and I just gave up.

So, what did I, their customer, really want out of my customer service experience? What would have delighted me? That’s critically important, since there is a huge difference between customer satisfaction and customer delight. A delighted customer is twice as likely to repurchase.


I wanted a positive outcome. That’s really it. I didn’t want friendly voices, helpful attitudes, or a caring heart. My positive outcome would have been talking to someone who could have said that they:

  • Understood my problem
  • Saw why I was upset
  • Would take action to fix the problem (as I suspect my problem is one that thousands of AT&T customers have)

So, how do you measure customer delight? In order of importance, the focus is:

  1. Outcome – did you get what you want?
  2. Experiential – how were you treated?
  3. Influential – will it affect future decisions?

Note that each of these builds on the one before, and outcome is the foundation and driver for the others. If you didn’t get the desired outcome, you don’t care so much how nice or caring a person is. If you’re unhappy, the influence will be negative (you won’t buy, you won’t return). On the reverse, when you get resolution, the experiential cements that foundation The icing is the influence the positive outcome will have on future decisions.

Hitting all three of these factors is the key to customer delight. When we measure customer delight online through our survey index tool, our questions are strongly geared toward outcome first, and experiential second. We know that the icing will come because a delighted website visitor will naturally become a satisfied, return customer.

Graphics: Stock Exchange, J. D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions