In a recent NY Times article, reporter Steve Lohr shares the lessons learned by those who worked closely with Steve Jobs. The first lesson:
Do Whatever It Takes to Delight Customers
What company doesn’t promise “Customer Satisfaction”? Everyone who wants to stay in business.
But there’s a big gap between what’s promised and what’s delivered. In this day and age, satisfied may not be enough.
Satisfied is a rational decision.
Delighted is an emotional decision.
If you go to the online etymology dictionary, you’ll find the origin of delight comes from “pleasure, sexual desire”. If that’s not an emotional, visceral response, I don’t know what is.
In Rohr’s article, he describes how 6 weeks before the release of the iPhone, Jobs ordered a crucial design change.
The iPhone was planned to have a plastic face. Plastic is less fragile than glass, and easier to make. It’s cheaper, too. Logically, it made business sense.
However, plastic had one big flaw: it could scratch. The scratches would annoy customers and make the iPhone seem like a cheap, inferior product.
Jobs knew what needed to be done: make the change to glass.
It wasn’t that simple. To create a scratch-proof iPhone was going to take more than just a design change. At this late date, the entire production supply chain (design, sourcing materials, tooling up the production line of the factory, etc.) had to be changed. But they went ahead and did it.
Cutting corners and delight don’t go together.
In the midst of all you have to do to accomplish your objectives, it’s easy to step out of the customer’s frame of reference. You may be tired, overworked, and stressed out about meeting your deadlines. Frankly, the customer doesn’t care. It’s not about you. It’s about how your product or service makes life more delightful for your customer.
Satisfaction may get you one sale. Delight will get you raving fans….just think about the scores of people that left tributes to Steve Jobs all over the world outside of Apple stores after his death.
Those are raving fans.
Which kind of customers do you want to have?