“They may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

Anonymous

Stories abound of companies destroying the competition by investing in delighting customers. No wonder.

Happy customers buy more and more often, refer their friends and leave good reviews.

Now delighting customers requires doing special things. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be delightful. It’d be dead normal.

Do the things big companies can’t. Write those notes, make those calls.

Have the customer focus other companies consider excessive. For if you delight your customer, they’ll want to delight you too.

By focussing on customer delight, the company morale also improves. It’s just fun to make people happy, and:

Happy multiplies, often beyond your wildest expectations.

Unhappy multiplies also. Customers will trash your brand on the internet and elsewhere. You’ll clip your own wings if you disappoint instead of delight.

In this chapter I’ll explain:

  • How to win and delight your first customers.
  • How to build a customer experience that scales.
  • How to turn delighted customers into social proof.

Step 1: Win and delight your first customers

A customer only commits if he trusts your brand.

She needs to trust that:

  • You fulfill your (contractual) promises, spoken or unspoken.
  • You offer help when it’s needed, and won’t hide after the bill is paid.
  • You are in it for the long haul.

Now as you are building your brand, you need to gain this trust. You need to convince them you have their best interest in mind. And this takes time.

So before anything, you need to convince people one at the time. Since you don’t have a sales force (yet), this is often done by the founders.

Founders need to lend their personal credibility to get the first sales.

They are basically saying “you can trust me to take care of you”. This works better if said by the owner of the company instead of an employee, who has no skin in the game and could be gone tomorrow.

Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator writes:

“You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy.”

This means a lot of personal visits, thank-you cards, service calls, gifts or dinners in order to convince your customer that their well-being is important to you.

You are both the founder, the salesman and the account manager – and totally infatuated by your first customers.

This helps a lot. Graham writes: “You can delight a customer with an early, incomplete and buggy product if you make up the difference with attentiveness.”

Don’t worry about the scalability of your efforts yet.

Yes, treating your first customers like your first girlfriend (or boyfriend) costs time, money and energy. It’ll be a full-time job as the brand grows.

But now you are building something. With growth, scalability will be a champagne problem. Besides:

Delighting customers scales better than you expect.

Thank-you notes can be written in between orders, staff can be trained, things can be automated. For now:

Capture the experience of your very first customers in glowing reviews.

Explicitly ask them for it. If they were delighted, they will help. Then publish the review, including their full name, photo, title and company name/logo.

Step 2: Create a scalable customer experience

To create an experience that delights your customer,

A. List all the moments you are in contact with them.

Perhaps you can add some.

B. Then see how you can go the extra mile.

For Toby, we came up with some good ones worth sharing:

  • Add hand-written, personal thank-you notes to most
  • A chat widget on the site that was staffed around the
  • Asking customers for photos of their dog, showcasing them online and on social media as “Friends”.
  • Our CEO calls the customers themselves, and send a custom follow-up mail
  • Our veterinarian answers questions which are health-related, giving customers a free vet-on-demand.
  • A “Make Us Better” form that encourages customers to deposit their ideas on improving our product and
  • Free treats at the dog’s birthday, which often gets neglected in the household.
  • Toby-branded dog gifts and gave them away at 3, 6 and 12 months of membership, and every year after
  • Donations in customers names to a relevant charity (Animal Ambulance) and let them know with a personal
  • Our in-house veterinarian answers frequently asked questions and others with video in a lab
  • A conversational tone in all correspondence, on social media and emails.

C. Figure out the costs per idea in money and handling time for each idea.

Personalizing your welcoming emails doesn’t cost you any money, but sending gifts does. So even though I encourage you to go the extra mile, your efforts should be sustainable.

Of course, we searched for ways to unburden ourselves whilst delivering great service. Most actions were standardized, scheduled or automated.

Step 3: Turn delighted customers into social proof

Good reviews help build trust.

By giving you a good review, a customer ties their name to your brand. Their credibility is now added to yours.

The more reviews, the more trust, the easier the conversion.

For Toby, we decided to collect our reviews via Trustpilot. Two weeks after we sent our first package, our customer receives an email from Trustpilot: “Review Toby and win!”

A. Incentivize users (1) to leave reviews and (2) to be extra thankful.

For B2C, use incentives to generate (good) testimonials for your site and on review platforms like use Trustpilot, Google Reviews or similar services.

We raffle free dog food every week and users leave wonderful reviews. They somehow think that criticism won’t help their raffle.

B. Always respond to reviews, especially the critical ones.

If customers see that your business values reviews, they leave one more easily. Plus, you might be able to seduce the critical ones to reduce or drop their negativity.

C. Give people their money back when they ask for it.

If people feel they spend their money wrongly, they will bitch about you online. Most of the time, the dollars ain’t worth the negativity.

For businesses, you’ve got to pull favors.

No sane purchase manager is going to give you a glowing review for the chance to win a little dogfood. You’ve got to speak to the relationship and ask for a favor.

After they gave the review, ask for them to paste in on the platforms like Capterra, G2Crowd. If these aren’t relevant, Google Reviews will do fine.

Summary and steps for servicing your customers

Delighted customers purchase more and more often, refer their friends and leave you wonderful reviews.

Step 1: Win and delight your first customers

Step 2: Create a scalable customer experience

  1. List all the moments you are in contact with them.
  2. hen see how you can go the extra mile.
  3. Figure out the costs per idea in money and handling time.

Step 3: Turn delighted customers into social proof

  1. Incentivize users (1) to leave reviews and (2) to be extra thankful.
  2. Always respond to reviews, especially the critical ones.
  3. Give people their money back when they ask for it.