Customers are delighted when you exceed their expectations. . To do so, you need to always be one step ahead of them, understand and anticipate their needs. But the current COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly made it easy for us to have all the answers to wow our customers. It’s safe to say that no one was prepared for this pandemic – not our clients, not us, nor our competitors. But that doesn’t mean that we should let ourselves be sitting ducks.
As a company that understands and uses data, we know that data never lies. And that’s the beauty of it. So, how do we know when consumer behaviour has changed? And how do we know when a new trend emerges? We look to numbers to tell us the way forward. And moving the needle on outcomes contributes greatly to keeping our clients happy.
No one ever delighted a customer by being ‘good enough’ – Ron Kaufman, New York Times Bestselling Author and Customer Experience & Service Culture Expert
Data is the best storyteller
There are hundreds of reports on changing consumer behaviour published by management consultancies and research firms. A BCG report published on May 6, 2020 tells us the world’s digital usage has (unsurprisingly) increased. For instance, in Australia, COVID-19 has prompted many baby-boomers to make their very first online purchase. Similarly, McKinsey reports consumers in the US, Germany and Asia-Pacific plan to shop more online across key categories such as home entertainment and groceries. Which goes to show that much of our spending has now shifted to the digital world.
There are also clear winning and losing categories. More than 20% of respondents stated that they plan to spend more in these categories: in-home entertainment, groceries, preventive health care and household care products. While more than 20% of them reported unsurprisingly, spending less on travel, out-of-home entertainment and dining out. These findings were unanimous across regions.
Have a game plan and take the initiative
These reports and numbers got us thinking. What about our clients? Did their customers follow the same industry trends? We started looking at our client’s data: their customer portfolios and spends in different categories. We looked for tell-tale signs that reflected the same trends that we saw outside. But more importantly, we looked for patterns and trends that might have been overlooked – that’s where we could offer new insights and solutions.
Analyze the problem, then synthesize a solution
After analyzing our client’s data, we identified gaps and started to brainstorm on how we could plug them. For example, we know that based on past years’ spends pattern by card holders in the Middle East:
- End March and early April, which coincides with spring break in schools, is a period where families go on holidays
- the end of Ramadan, brings about a second flurry of travelers, which usually happens in May or June.
With unclear global travel rules and regulations, consumers are looking for ways to appease their wanderlust with alternatives. Coupled with the news of countries coming out of lockdown, consumers will soon be excited to start spending on travel again. We knew that it was critical to propose strategies to increase spending in the upcoming ‘travel’ period, be it in local staycations, or dining deals. With this information, we are formulating proposals that included the analysis of the problem/opportunity (the problem), and personalized campaigns using maya.ai to make the most out of it (the solution).
Empower your team members
Delighting your client ultimately comes down to your client delivery and/or customer success teams. When they feel good about themselves and the work they do, they will naturally excel and deliver results for your customers. Don’t take it only from me though. Devaki Gopalan, with over 18 years in the IT industry and 13 of those years in people and project management also says,
“You must make them [your team members] feel like they are contributing to the overall solution. That the outcome of what they are doing has an impact on the customer’s side; how their piece of work fits into the overall puzzle. [Only that] will give them a sense of purpose which drives them to do their job well.”
In May, we received a requirement from a client with an extremely tight turnaround time. 4 days to be precise. The requirements came in on Friday and we were expected to present a solution the following Monday. The delivery team worked tirelessly over the weekend to develop the solution. When the product was presented to our client, they marveled at our speed and the quality of our work. And thanked us for a solution which positively impacted their employee’s productivity immediately. Our team who worked on the project felt an immense sense of fulfilment knowing their hard work had made a difference to the client.
Move beyond being ‘consultative’ to become ‘prescriptive’
In summary, a world-class delivery team needs to do three things to delight customers:
Take the initiative to approach your client with a game plan. Start looking at the data/information you have about your client. If they have to ask you for your help, then that’s too late!
Give your client a cure to the problem. Instead of being a consultant to your client, strive to become a doctor. Be prescriptive with their pain points. Tell them exactly what has gone wrong, what can be done, and how their problem can be solved.
Empower your people with purpose. Involve your team members in client conversations so they know who they are delivering the solution to and what their impact is.
Crayon has continuously pushed the envelope in client delight by being one step ahead and providing solutions to problems they have not even anticipated. As with many things in life, the first step is usually the most difficult. So, spend some time in your client’s shoes to think of what would surprise them. More often than not, you only need to look a few steps beyond the current scope of work, to find plenty of opportunities to exceed their expectations.