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Thread: Is it necessary to "delight" your customers?

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Is it necessary to "delight" your customers?

    I got involved in a looong debate about this subject elsewhere. Very enjoyable, and the discussion is still ongoing. To summarise briefly, one guy was wedded to the mantra that business success depends on delighting your customers. I didn't agree. What about the 80-20 rule, where it might be more profitable to fire some of your clients or customers? Surprisingly, very few people agreed with this "delight" concept. There again, most of the people who joined in are or had been successful in business, and the others just kept out of the debate because it was getting a bit deep about business concepts and strategy.

    I wondered what you guys would think about it all. Do you try to delight your customers or are you like one of the participants in the other debate who said he sacked half of his clients and now spends less time working and makes more money?
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    More like 95-5 for us, I think. We've given up trying to delight a woman in California who bought three pairs of espadrilles then asked Paypal to cancel her payment. She never contacted us, nor has she replied to either emails or phone calls, (or returned the goods, of course) but Paypal arbitration came down on her side, without any explanation for their decison. You just have to live with that kind of thing and hope you don't get many.

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    More like 95-5 for us, I think.
    Chabrenas, either you may have misunderstood my point or I didn't understand yours. The 80-20 rule is about the Pareto principle. Translated into business terms it means that (as a rule of thumb) 20% of your best customers result in 80% of your profit. The flip side is that the 20% of your worst customers cause 80% of the work. That's what the debate was about - on the one hand you had the guy advocating that a business should delight all its customers, and on the other hand you had some of us saying it's more profitable and less hassle to ditch the worst ones.

    Are you saying that you've only got 5% of unprofitable and painful customers? If so, lucky you! Please tell me how you achieved it. Maybe you've already got rid of the dross. I blogged recently about getting rid of the bottom 20%. My argument was that you should put your resources (time, effort, money) into the areas where you see some reward for it.
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    Yes, I'd say that only about 5% cost more effort than they're worth. However, for return on effort the Pareto principle applies - we have a small number of returning customers.

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    I'm a big believer in 80/20 principles when it comes to business. I got into online business to make more money and work less so I could do what I wanted to do. When it comes to online business, there is simply too much to do, if you're a one man show, not to have sort of system in place for streamlining and automating everything you do. Which means I do not "delight my customers." I tell them truthfully, and completely, what they are getting for their money, and I deliver it. My refund rate is well below 1%. When I deliver my books, it goes out the door with tracking. Every single action can be tracked by a third party. My refund policy states they have to return the book is good condition. Everything is set up on third-party services, so no one has to take my word for anything. I've lost disputes with paypal, but it is rare. They can't claim non-delivery when I have their signature. Paypal no longer automatically deducts money out of my account when there is a dispute. Not even when it is a credit card charge back.They only do it if I lose. That is how often I DON'T win a dispute. In other words, I win 98% of the time.

    With hard to please customers, it is almost always a case of they didn't read the sales page or the order page where I hold nothing back. If I simply can't please them, I tell them myself to open a dispute with PayPal and give them the URL. So I don't "delight" my customers. I treat them fairly and honestly. I make every effort to deliver, and follow up. I reply to any concerns within minutes. If that doesn't work, I boot them out the door and ban them from website and never do business with them again. If it involves an eBook, I give them an immediate refund and disable their book. What I DON'T do, is let them suck massive amounts of time out of my day. Nor do I let them ruin it. I shut them down. Quick.

    I also treat the freebie seekers and freeloaders the same way. I point them to my free content. If they want more info than that I tell them my consulting rates and point them to Paypal URL to purchase it.

    As a side note: Perry Marshall, or the Google Adwords fame, just came out with a new book called 80/20 of sales and marketing online. Recommended.

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    Chabrenas (14 October 2013), Dave McM (6 October 2013), Kay (6 October 2013)

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Yes. I was arguing hard on the "sack the tyre-kickers and time-wasters" side, against the "delight" side. Apart from giving my own opinions, based on my experience of the subject, my next step was to find out what others elsewhere had to say about it. I also came across the Perry Marshall book, which I bought and read a couple of days ago. I'm now in the process of writing a book review about it. I read it very quickly the first time and will need to read it again in more depth to write a decent review of it. Hmm, I'm not quite as impressed with it (at this stage) as you are to be recommending it. However, I didn't ask for a refund so that's a point in its favour.

    There was enough good stuff in it for me not to want my money back and tag it "bullshit" (which I do to some books). Even so, there was a lot of stuff in it that didn't need to be there and which didn't seem particularly useful. I'll try to finish my review tomorrow, it might help anyone who is wondering whether or not to buy it. Of course, people can easily buy it themselves and get a refund if they don't think they got what they paid for, but it can save people a lot of time to get a considered review instead of having to read a book to find out what it's like.
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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Well, I'm also not going to say it revolutionizes the entire concept, or brings it to any new heights. But as an introduction to the theory, and how to implement it, it did its job. It's one thing to talk about 80/20, it's another to have concrete steps on how to determine, and implement 80/20 strategies. My feeling was he was testing the waters with a new book (basic) to see if he wanted to write more in-depth on the subject. He made it clear he has a lot more material. He is clearly someone who walks his talk, and is successful doing so. That alone makes it worth the price in my opinion. Of course, I bought it during the launch and only paid one penny for the paperback, so it's not like I can complain anyway.

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    yes - there is no substitute for great customer service and support. Its one the the 'joys' or running a business. You (and I) get to recognise the ones that don't appreciate it but they might just be having a bad day or even worse, just taken a call from some one who has rubbed them up the wrong way. You still got to do your best. I firmly believe they will remember you for it. In a time when the internet serves to do many things, including removing the personal contact, I think it remains good practice to convey something that sets you apart from others. Being polite, double checking if you think something isn't quite right with what has been ordered or even just picking up the phone to call them and thank them for there order all set you above the competition. When was the last time you had a call from a web store to thank you for your order or to check if the colour you requested is really what you want? Its priceless and yet so easy to do.

    As a business owner the best call you can take is a complaint. These are people who are actually saying I'm not happy and I want you to help me - they won't actually say that out load (it'll be an emotive out pouring), but that's what is happening. Would you rather these people went off and bad mouthed your business? This should not be a heated exchange, its a golden opportunity to show just how good and responsible you can be. I have only even taken a handful of such calls in my 15 years as MD of my company, but each and everyone of them became loyal long term customers.

    For what its worth, thats my thought on the subject. By the way I don't have any really education to speak of but I ran my business from 1994 to 2007 at which time I 'retired' from work one month before my 40th birthday. And I put my modest success down to being right with people.

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    Ian, fair enough on your view on the "delight your customer" side of things. What's your take on the 80-20 rule where some of us are saying it could be advantageous to get rid of the more problematic customers. Are you happy to spend, say, 80% of your time on the tyre kickers, when that time could be better spent on the more valuable customers? That's really what the discussion here is about. The "old" mantra that great customer service is essential versus those who want to get rid of the annoying and less profitable clients/customers.

    I'm currently researching another long-held belief to see how much that one still holds true too. I'm looking at whether a USP is really necessary. I'll start a new thread about that when I'm ready - unless someone else wants to pick up on that subject on a new thread first.
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    New Member Mentor JimWaller is a Premium Member
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    When it comes to customer service, I think both ideas come into play. Yes, there is a certain percentage of the general population that is not happy unless they are unhappy. They are the customers you want to fire. Similarly, there is a percentage of the population that for whatever reason get off on the wrong foot with you and your services so they can be a PITA to start, but they have the potential to be good, loyal customers and even raving fans.

    I've worked with a lot of restaurant servers, and they have to learn to read their guests. Some are better than others, but the most successful ones tend to approach every table like they are going to get the best tip from that table. If they don't get tipped, they let it roll off them and move positively to the next table with the same enthusiasm. If they pre-judge a table and treat them like the table is not ging to leave a tip, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because they have given poor service.

    I recently had a problem with an online transaction in which I was the customer. I bought something that was supposed to be a quantity of 100, but what was initially delivered was 84. I've had prior interactions with that company, so I knew they must have just made a mistake. i sent them a message letting them know of the error to help prevent it from happening to other customers. They responded quickly to let me know they were aware of the error, and they were sending out more to make up for the error. They sent me an additional quantity of 24 making the grand total I received 108 and I was not charged extra for the additional shipping. i was happy, and they retained a customer and inspired me to write a rave review about my interaction.

    There are a number of ways that interaction could have gone wrong if they assumed I was being part of the 20 that cause 80 percent of the work. Instead they tried delighting me to end up with a much more positive result. Additionally, I could have reacted differently and might have had a different result.
    Help bring Janice home My mother-in-law was hospitalized while on vacation (holiday) We're trying to bring her home.

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