3 Surefire Ways to Surprise and Delight Your Customers

An ocean of prospective customers awaits. It’s also full of competitors.

How is your company faring in these waters?

Some businesses drop anchor with the right “bait” needed to fill a widened net with conversions. But what happens when other competitors arrive on the scene and offer something similar? What we’re selling might not stand out anymore or, worse, could become the least attractive option.
Some teams don’t adequately respond to the needs or interests of their audience.

This is like fishing with an empty hook – or sticking a boot on there and calling it a day. And then there are the companies that sail half-heartedly into a trend without adequate preparedness, which doesn’t promote healthy, long-lasting client relationships. It’s a tenuous approach given that 67% of customers admit their standards for good experiences are higher than ever before.

How to avoid these scenarios? We can strive to surprise and delight our customers.

Below are three methods for doing this.


Surpass Expectations with Higher Quality and Service Standards

I’ve seen it time and again. A company slashes jobs, spikes their prices, skimps on quality assurance, and then has the audacity to blame employees when they don’t hit unrealistic goals. Cue tanking stocks and customers running across the street to a competitor. Sound familiar?

I’ll be frank: the “norm” we see across many industries for quality and service standards has declined. We can and should do better. Customers are surprised and delighted when we don’t price them out, when we avoid cutting corners, when we earn their continued attention and loyalty, and when we demonstrate a culture that is respectful and healthy (a company they would want to support).

Sadly, many folks anticipate subpar experiences when purchasing products or services nowadays. Let’s create a new standard – one that others will aspire to – by implementing the following:

  • Personalized customer interactions/experiences for deeper, more meaningful connections
  • Optimized core values that enable team members to elevate quality assurance/customer service
  • A healthy, happy, and well-supported team, fostering good moods and positive energy (we notice!)
  • Streamlined, hassle-free communications thoughtfully tailored to a variety of customer needs
  • Professional, considerate service that corrects errors and ensures positive outcomes
  • Prioritize build/finish quality, reliability, and experiences worth the current price to customers
  • A commitment to making each day a great one for team members and customers alike

Combined, the above strategies enable our products or services to sell itself more effectively. If what’s being offered is irresistible and surpasses expectations, we’ll likely gain leads even if on a shoestring marketing budget, because existing customers can become fans and ambassadors.


Maximize Innovation, Minimize Oscillation

Of course, we can’t always please everyone all the time. We’re human, and humans make mistakes. This isn’t a problem until our customer satisfaction charts look like the display of an oscilloscope, jittering up and down. What this indicates is a lack of consistency, and while many people enjoy a good roller coaster ride, few of us want our dining or shopping experiences to rise and fall based on any set of variables.

That’s why, whether providing support to other business owners or focusing on my own operations, innovating to produce consistent performance takes precedence especially when it produces a consistent wow for customers. This can be achieved through future-facing core values that enable happy, productive, and self-sufficient teams that deliver exceptional products and services.

Companies that oscillate tend to listen less or not respond to feedback effectively. This stifles engagement, retention, word-of-mouth marketing, and growth potential.

Companies that actively maintain a consistent, higher level of customer satisfaction are listening, learning, and applying their findings. They elevate the experience and tackle issues head-on.


Approach Each Customer Relationship as a Unique Opportunity

Have you ever shopped somewhere and felt herded in and out, or noticed a lack of compassion from the experience? Every customer relationship is a unique opportunity, even when it initially starts with a negative experience. There’s almost always a chance to turn things around. How we respond to customer frustrations matters and can be the opportunity to build a life-time relationship.

Has someone entered one of your stores or service locations for the first time? Greeting them warmly, asking how their day is going, and provide tailored assistance based on what they’re interested in can be the start to a long time customer. Getting to know them a little helps to determine which offerings will best align with their needs.

Does a loyal customer have a complaint about a defective product? Making their day by swapping it out with a brand-new replacement or offering store credit can demonstrate integrity, and express how much they are valued. Both encourage retention and brand confidence. Demanding the purchase of a warranty add-on doesn’t. I am more likely to be loyal to the brand I had a positive resolution to a bad experience than I am to the one that worked perfectly, because in the first scenario I know the brand stands behind the product and in the second I had little to no interaction with.

Healthy relationships are built on kindness and trust. It’s no wonder that 60% of consumers are willing to buy more if they feel cared for by a brand. With the right approach, we can make a positive impression, even in challenging scenarios, and grow the long-term value of a customer.

The most common barrier to a delighted and surprised customer is the business itself. These three methods can avoid avoid displeasing our customers. We can use them to build businesses we are genuinely proud of when it comes to our core values, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction.

Like a lighthouse amidst that ocean of prospective customers, we can tower and shine above the rest.



Erick Slabaugh is a Serial Entrepreneur, Board Member, Advisor. He serves as the CEO of Absco Solutions, a 40+ year market veteran in the facility security and fire-life safety industry, as well as CEO of FCP Insight, a cloud-based enterprise software solution for electrical contracting businesses. A former member of the Global Board of Directors, Erick is a long-standing member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Seattle chapter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *