Customer Delight, A big risk

Customer Delight is the buzz word in almost all the companies today. Customer Delight is sometimes confused with good quality process and products. There are hundreds of books written on how to delight your customer, go that extra miles to make her happy. I have though a contrary view. Customer delight is good when it is done in a controlled fashion. However , if not controlled, it can lead to disastrous consequences that can kill your organization's reputation. Here are the reasons why?
  1. Customer delight can lead to raised expectations
  2. If you have a constant habit of delighting customers, be prepared for a raised expectation. Let us say your company provides a courier service that is mostly on time. By sudden turn of event, you decided to deliver at least thirty minutes earlier because it leads to customer delight. By doing this , you have raised the customer expectation. Now anything later than the time that you have start delivering, will be counted by customer as a negative point against you.
  3. Customer delight has a cost
  4. If you decide to change delivery to delight your customer, provide more features and do that little "extra" for the customers, beware you are adding the cost to your delivery. Customer delight is an activity and every activity has to be done by a resource(man or machine) and it has a cost. If your venture does not take that into account, you are surely missing something with cost accounting.
  5. Customer delight may have undesirable consequences
  6. I once heard from a project manager, that one of his team member decided to introduce a small change in the project to delight the customer. Of course the customer was delighted initially. Later on when the application started behaving strange, cause was identified to that team member's change. It took the whole team a lot of pain and trouble to determine the source of error. In the end customer asked the team not to delight them in such a way again.
  7. Uncontrolled Customer delight takes the focus away from essential tasks
  8. If your whole team is busy delighting your customer , I am pretty sure that they are cutting corners somewhere else. In an eagerness to prove themselves to customers, your team members must be either not creating the product right or they are not testing it enough.
  9. Customer delight may reduce overall quality of the product
  10. In the finite time that your team has , if the customer delight is the major focus, then you are essentially deviating from what is to be delivered. It might be of positive consequence in the short term, but you would see your resources and timelines stretched undesirably.
Nowhere I would like to suggest that your company should never delight customer. However, it should be done in as controlled manner as possible so that your delivery schedules, product features are not compromised. After all a customer will be delighted only if the product works well.