Saturday, July 2, 2011

Customer Delight

Speaking of competitive reality television....

There is a common type of "challenge" whether the theme of the reality show is cooking or interior design or dating. It revolves around creating something for someone else based on understanding that "customer's" expectations, needs, tastes, etc.

Recently, a judge on one of the shows -- I think it was Vern Yip but don't quote me on that -- made a comment which really got me thinking.   He wasn't complimenting the winner so much as explaining why the runner-up didn't win, despite the fact that he done a great job executing exactly what the "customer" had asked.

"Sometimes it's not about just giving someone what they imagine as the perfect thing. It's about going to that place where you give them something even better than anything they could have dreamed."

As you know, I enjoy relating principles which work in a successful business as well as in a successful personal life. (Thus the birth of Personal Strategic Management.)

This got me thinking about all of the training I've received over the years around Quality, TQM, Customer Delight and so forth. Throughout my professional life, I've made it a priority to build relationships and perform to a level of service that significantly exceeded what my clients had ever expected. My goal has been to go far beyond "satisfied customers."

In my previous career, this is what helped me (and my amazing team of like-minded professionals) grow a strategic accounts business from $3M to $38M in less than four years.

So, I know it's a practice which leads to professional success.

But what about in life? In my last post, I said that we are our own customers. So now I'm wondering: How well am I doing for myself and my own "customer satisfaction"?

What are my service level expectations? Am I capable of exceeding those to my own delight? Gosh - am I even meeting my basic needs, let alone anything above that?

How would you answer that question?

This question about not only meeting, but exceeding expectations, applies throughout the extended layers of our lives.  Family. Friends. Work. Local community. Globally.  

As you ask yourself and others "How can I help you today?" how great it would be to go even one step further towards creating delight.

Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe it is possible to live a life which is even better than our wildest dreams.

Carpe diem!
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Dave Thackeray said...

Hey Charlene!

This is a really thought-provoking post and it really chimed with me.

At we focus on helping businesses go beyond customer satisfaction into the realms of unexpected delight. It applies, as you say, equally to your personal as professional life.

I sight patterns forming from small and medium sized companies of this exact philosophy in action. And it's unusual that guiding principles in life and work resonate from the 'bottom up'.

Love your blog! Keep up the inspirational writing.

Dave Thackeray
Chief Inspiration Officer

Mary Ann Cicala said...

I think your post says a great deal about how women think. I once read a research study that analyzed the difference between how women aproach salary negotiations for themselves and their teams vs. men. According to this study, men tend to push just as hard for themselves and their staff. Whereas women tend to go to the wall for their staff but neglect their own best interests. This study and your post remind me that it is good practice to exceed expectations--for others...but also for myself.

Anonymous said...

Family is a prority, of course, but "one" can help many, many people if they are skilled at managing others at work. That is my personal challege - I can help everyone....who should I focus on?

Thanks for the post.

therealbobthought said...

well little lady, here in these parts, those that is successful have always gave a hand up yo thse that need it instead of a push down. sekert always been, give more of yourself and less of the bull, and the cows will find their way home.
me and bess like your affirmations too.

Kristen said...

Exceeding expectations is something that I do pride myself on attempting to do. In concordance with your thoughts, I have no desire to do something just well enough to get by.

therealbobthought said...

"You are, where you are, at any given point in your life, because, you, choose to be there."
lew tice


~Crystal~ said...

For some reason I JUST saw your comments. THANK YOU! Its nice to get a little encouragement. I like your shorter posts, I have a short attention span. But ironically have too much to say ;)

TC said...

"evil grin" says it all!! LOL

Kelley said...

I love your Blog! I think your topics are really great!

Stopping in from MBC! Feel free to check me out at! - Kelley

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

I love this post!! It rings so true!! I strive to exceed expectations and get such delight when I do!! It's as if the mere act of trying harder makes me happier!!

And . . . I have you an award!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

um, that is GAVE you an award. Pardon me and my fast fingers!

Vaisakh said...


I have a similar post in my blog. Do check out.


Aruna said...

great question about exceeding expectations for customers - but also for our own expectations for our own lives.

I've exceeded my expectations for my career by being self-employed - I love being my own boss. But it comes with some lowered expectations about earning - and taking some work to raise the bar there.

Erin said...

Hey! I am a new reader, I found you on the penguin tribe :) I love this post! I am obsessed with getting good service but how often do I treat myself that way? Or my family? It really got me thinking, thank you for that!

Feeling Fit with Dana said...

Love this post, I agree with you in always trying to do the best job possible for my customers, but then sometimes we forget about other aspects of our lives! Thanks for the reminder!

Digi Stitches said...

Sage advice! Sometimes it's hard, and it's nice to be reminded.

New follower thru Mom Owned Business Monday at SOS.

New at this blogging thing. Please come follow me at and have fun participating in the daily poll of awesome new items!

Tammy said...


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