Delighted Customers are to be Feared Not Revered


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Do your customers say they are “delighted” with the services or products from your company? Caution Caution Caution! They are using a code word that your company must translate.

Residential real estate agents have learned how to write coded words to describe the properties they represent. “Cozy” usually means the home has unusually small rooms. “Delightful” means without upgrades or high quality standards. “Handyman’s dream” is a wreck.

They have chosen words that sound wonderful on the surface and also help the buyer conjure up a positive image. As home buyers, we have had to recognize the coded language in order to be realistic about our expectations.

So too must businesses understand how to decode the words their customers use about their customer experience.

From the thousands of customer interviews I have executed over the years, the term “delightful” came up only when a customer was less than thrilled. Their level of customer satisfaction with the company is less than solid even though the word “delightful” sounds positive, especially when the customer says it with a nice warm smile.

Customers use the word delightful when they cannot in full honesty declare complete loyalty. It may mean the company has done nothing wrong yet the customer is not necessarily going to commit to a steady relationship.

Is your company listening to the code words your customers are using? What words do you already know about that are bonafide code words that may sound like customer loyalty but indeed is not?

I may write a book about those words some day.

Darcie Davis
A career focused on finding the factors that inspire customer/client retention was shaped from, often naively, relentlessly asking questions. I am the founder of HUDDLE Sessions for Women which offer pop-up advisory boards.


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