7 Tips for an Effective Voice of the Customer Program

First things first - what is a voice of the customer (VoC) program and why should you have one?

A VoC program is the way a company gathers, analyzes, and acts on customer feedback to create a customer-centric culture. A successful voice of the customer program puts your customers’ needs center stage, and ultimately drives brand, product, and service improvements for an unbeatable customer experience.

When most companies want to improve their customer experience with a VoC program, they often start with just one customer survey type—usually a net promoter score (NPS) or customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey. However, for a voice of the customer program to reach its full potential, you’ll need an understanding of how your entire audience feels at every stage of the customer experience lifecycle.

If you’re capturing feedback from the right people, at the right time, through the right channel, you’ll be able to make meaningful improvements to your customer experience that will differentiate you from your competitors and lead to revenue growth. In fact, when the Temkin Group calculated the ROI of customer experience, they found that a moderate increase in customer experience can lead to an industry average of $775 million dollars in revenue growth over 3 years for a typical billion dollar company.

Here are 7 tips for designing an effective VoC program that ensures you’ll get actionable feedback for improving your customer experience.

1. Ensure your VoC program is set up for success

A strong VoC program includes customer feedback collection and analysis, which results in a list of actionable, prioritized insights that can be implemented across your organization. Constant monitoring of your customer experience metrics will let you know whether the changes you’re making are moving the needle.

If you’re embarking on surveying thousands of people with different survey types, make sure you’re following survey design best practices. Using a dedicated voice of the customer platform is also an option. VoC platforms generally include proven CX survey templates, and can help you manage and analyze all of the incoming feedback.

2. Use both relationship and transactional surveys

Customer experience surveys fall into one of two buckets: relationship or transactional. A relationship survey measures how your customers feel about your overall brand experience, while transactional surveys get feedback for a specific interaction (i.e. transaction).

Think of a relationship survey as the big picture benchmark, and the transactional survey as the nitty gritty tactic that helps you accomplish your overarching customer experience goals. Of the customer experience survey types, net promoter score (NPS) surveys tend to be used as relationship surveys, while customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer effort score (CES) surveys tend to fall into the transactional bucket.

If you’re just starting your voice of the customer program, run a relational NPS survey to get a feel for how customers perceive your overall brand experience. When you have identified some trends in your feedback, say a product issue that keeps cropping up, or a fulfillment delay that everyone’s complaining about, use a transactional survey to dig into the details.

3. Consider your customer experience lifecycle and the teams responsible for each stage

Document your customer experience lifecycle to help you understand all of your customer touchpoints, and identify milestones where transactional feedback would help you improve a specific experience.

Sample B2B Customer Experience Lifecycle Milestones for Transactional Feedback

For example, in the Adoption phase immediately post-purchase, would the customer success team like feedback specific to the onboarding process via a CSAT survey? For support ticket feedback, would the customer service team like to benchmark their performance with a CES survey?

Your customer experience survey type, distribution channel, and survey timing can all be customized for a particular touchpoint. With the right CX platform integrations, you can easily trigger surveys to send based on an interaction and funnel feedback directly to the teams who can follow up with customers.

4. Collect feedback based on customer segmentation

Your company’s user personas can also influence how your gather feedback. For B2B and SaaS companies, the account owner who makes the purchase decision can likely provide different feedback from the everyday users who are in and out of your platform on a daily basis.

For B2B2C companies, gather insights from both your direct consumers as well as your partners. Customizing your surveys for each audience will help you determine how to make your service stickier for your entire customer base.

5. Survey your employees as well as your customers

Your direct customers aren’t the only people who can provide feedback on your product and business—your employees can, too.

As studies have increasingly found that a positive employee experience leads to a stronger customer experience, gathering employee feedback through an employee NPS (ENPS) survey has become just as necessary as getting feedback from customers.

You can easily customize a Delighted NPS survey to ask the ENPS question, “How likely are you to recommend working here to a friend or family member?” to surface employee insights and start improving employee engagement.

6. Catalog your customer interaction channels

Depending on your business, there are likely multiple ways for a customer to interact with you.

Do you run an ecommerce website as well as a brick-and-mortar location? Do you meet with customers at a yearly conference? Leverage web intercept surveys, link surveys for printed marketing materials, or a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey as an event survey to gather feedback from customers at any or all of these touchpoints.

7. Build reporting and customer follow-up into your plan

While the ability to gather feedback at will is enticing, make sure there are clear goals in mind for each of the surveys you plan to send out. When you’re choosing a voice of the customer platform, look for one that can easily manage multiple survey projects for your entire organization.

It is also important to make sure the impacted teams are set up to take in and act on that feedback. Delighted’s Reports and Integrations help broadcast actionable insights wherever you need them to go, so that the teams that can make a difference know what they need to do.

If you take all of 7 of these tips into account when designing your VoC program, you’ll be able to surface experience gaps in every stage of the customer journey, and track impact over time.

Get your VoC program off the ground with a Delighted free trial and send 250 surveys for free.

Introducing Projects: Run multiple survey projects from one Delighted account

Most of our customers start their customer experience journey with Delighted tracking a single metric like NPS or CSAT. As they experience the power of customer feedback to drive actionable insights and improvement, they often want to expand to understand other parts of their customer journey.

Today, we are launching Projects so that you can expand beyond a single customer experience (CX) metric. Now, you have the power to layer in other survey types for new touchpoints, different teams, and more. And all of this with the ease and simplicity you expect from Delighted.

Using Projects

We’ve redesigned our main navigation to bring Projects to life and make it easy to switch between projects, manage existing projects, and create new projects. Plus, if you only have a single project, the experience will be nearly identical to before.

The project menu is conveniently located at the top left of all signed in pages. So you are always just a few clicks away from switching to the project you are interested in.

Managing Users

We’ve built Projects so it’s clear to account owners and admins who has access to which projects, and so that it’s easy to invite new team members to the right projects. You’ll have complete control over granting access, increasing permissions, or removing folks from survey projects.

Billing

Billing is fully transparent with Projects, so you can always know how many surveys you have available in your account along with other plan-specific features and limits. Your subscription capabilities are shared across all of your projects. For instance, if your plan allows for 10,000 surveys per month, you would be able to survey 5,000 people in your NPS project and 5,000 people in your CSAT project.

Navigation updates

As part of this refresh, we have elevated Integrations to the main navigation, and the Settings menu is now the Account menu. All of the features that were under Settings now have a new home elsewhere in the platform. If you are looking for a specific feature and can’t find it, this help doc outlines all of the changes.

Start using Projects

Our currently available $249/month plans and higher include up to five projects.

If you are interested in using Projects, head here to upgrade your plan.

The 7 Customer Survey Types for a World-Class CX Program

Creating a great customer experience (CX) is important—but where do you start?

At their core, customer experience programs uncover how customers interact with your brand, product, or service. The best CX programs ask the right questions in the right way at the right time to the right audience.

Luckily, there are several tried and true methods of collecting and analyzing customer data. In this post, we’ll walk you through 7 customer survey types that can be leveraged to contextualize your customer feedback and dramatically improve your CX program.

Launching a Customer Experience Program

So, let’s start with the basics. A customer experience program refers to the processes and methods relating to understanding a customer’s interactions with a given product or service.

According to a recent Ecoconsultancy and Adobe survey, the 3 areas of focus for organizations when it comes to their customers are: (1) making their experience as valuable as possible, (2) making their experience personalized, and (3) making their experience easy to understand.

This being said, most organizations aren’t sure how to get from where they are to a personalized, easy CX program. The success of a CX program often depends on a company’s ability to effectively capture customer data, so choosing your method of capture is the first and most important step. Customer data could come from interactions with the product (user metrics) or conversations with employees, such as salespeople and customer support staff (anecdotal evidence).

Some of the most important CX data comes from surveys.

Surveys can take the form of market research surveys, where surveyors are looking to better understand a buyer’s persona and characteristics. Customer surveys, by contrast, are used by companies to ask targeted questions to existing customers.

A well-crafted survey can provide a wealth of insights around how customers think about your market, product, or service, and enable you to better solve customer problems, reduce the risk of them leaving, and accelerate your business’s growth.

Customer Experience Survey Types

There are a variety of customer experience surveys that can be employed to collect customer feedback. Each survey type provides a different customer insight and should be used at a specific point in the customer experience lifecycle, so choose wisely!

In this post, we will help you understand and effectively use the following surveys:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys

What is NPS?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a method for understanding customer satisfaction and loyalty. Created in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Company, the NPS system has been widely-adopted across all industries.

The score is a derived from asking customers a single question: How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend or colleague?

This initial question is followed by an optional freeform follow-up question, so your customers can explain why they chose that rating.

In a nutshell, NPS is used to assess overall brand, product, or service satisfaction from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.

How is NPS calculated?

Respondents are asked to select a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being “not likely at all” to recommend and 10 being “very likely”.

Those who select 1-6 are considered “Detractors”, while those who select 7-8 are “Passives”. Ideally, you have a large number of results coming in the 9-10 range, the “Promoters” of your product or service.

To calculate your NPS, you want to subtract the percent of Detractors away from your percent of Promoters. For example, if 60% of responses were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your Net Promoter Score would be 45.

Note: NPS is expressed as a number, not a percentage. The lower bound for NPS is -100 (all Detractors) and the upper bound is 100 (all Promoters).

Why does it matter?

NPS provides a convenient benchmark for your product’s success. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix have Net Promoter Scores in the 60-70 range.

Net Promoter Score also provides a snapshot of customers who have problems (Detractors) and who love your product (Promoters). Answers to the open-ended follow-up question explain what you need to improve to turn your Detractors into Promoters.

Because NPS is easy to report, it becomes a powerful benchmark. Executive teams can set a quarterly NPS goal and track whether that goal is met or not – a great first step in making your CX program data-driven.

How to best leverage NPS surveys?

Industry-leading organizations, from Southwest and USAA to Zappos and Amazon, utilize NPS. Moreover, NPS is a key metric for anyone looking to discover how their product or service is performing in the market.

Brick-and-mortar stores measure NPS to understand how well their store experience is working, from the store layout to the customer service. Meanwhile, fast-growing startups can use NPS surveys to better segment customers and understand how their product can be refined to drive more growth.

How to best create and deliver NPS surveys?

Net Promoter Score surveys are quick and painless surveys, both for the company and the customer. The best way to create an NPS survey is to use an online service that specializes in NPS customer surveys.

While Net Promoter Score surveys can be used anytime in the customer lifecycle, the best way to start your NPS survey program is to send it to customers who have had time to experience your product, and then follow up on a monthly to quarterly basis to assess your brand as a whole.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

Once Net Promoter Score data is collected, it’s important to know why users selected the answers they did.

Analyzing NPS survey results includes understanding the three cohorts: Promoters, Neutrals, and Detractors. This information can be used to personalize outreach to respondents, more effectively utilize their feedback, and improve their overall experience.

Once you understand who the Detractors are, you can create specific marketing or customer support programs (like 1-on-1 calls) to help them be successful. These campaigns can reduce churn and help save existing accounts.

Companies can also turn Promoters into advocates – asking Promoters to provide testimonials or referrals. Promoters are also great candidates for upselling and cross-selling because they clearly understand your value proposition.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys

What is CSAT?

Customer Satisfaction, abbreviated CSAT, is a measure of a customer’s contentment with a specific situation. A CSAT survey has two parts, a question and an open-ended response.

A CSAT survey asks: How satisfied were you with this product or interaction? Respondents can choose options 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied).

CSAT surveys are used to understand contentment with a specific feature, interaction, or transaction.

How do you calculate CSAT?

Respondents who select 4 or 5 are considered “Satisfied Responses,” and the formula for CSAT is:

CSAT = (Total Number of Satisfied Responses / Total Number of Responses) x 100

When calculating CSAT, be sure to round final results to the nearest whole number.

Why does it matter?

Unlike other survey types, CSAT offers granular insights into a specific customer interaction. This provides a detailed view of how a particular digital or in-person experience exceeds, meets, or misses a customer’s expectation.

Customer satisfaction surveys should be utilized throughout the product lifecycle in order to dissect how different aspects of the product are performing, such as signup, onboarding, and after using core features.

How to best leverage CSAT surveys?

CSAT surveys are used by any organization looking to analyze specific customer interactions. Customer satisfaction surveys are ideal for business leaders looking to understand sentiment at a single point in time.

In other words, the value of CSAT is its ability to quickly assess how satisfied your customers are with your offering. Organizations should follow up within 24 hours of an interaction.

Common use cases for CSAT surveys include:

  • Right after a customer support conversation
  • Following a product demo with sales
  • After a visit to a service center or retail store
  • Once an introductory course or onboarding is completed

How to best create and deliver CSAT surveys?

The best way to create CSAT surveys is to use an online survey tool. This allows your team to focus on getting the survey out quickly, instead of working on writing and formatting the survey.

CSAT surveys are also a flexible survey type, being able to be delivered by email, text message, and pop-ups on websites and in apps.

It is best practice to send the survey in the channel where your customers would normally interact with you or your product. For example, if you have an ecommerce store, you can have a link to fill out a CSAT survey after checkout or in a follow-up email.

How to analyze and act on feedback?

Customer Satisfaction surveys provide a high-level view into your interactions with customers. While looking at the summary data may be helpful, it should be a jumping off point to segment and analyze the data.

Popular segmentation methods include evaluating CSAT by department (sales vs. customer support), by region (North America vs. Europe), by use case (mobile app vs. website), and by product offering (Subscription A vs. Subscription B).

Customer Effort Score (CES) Surveys

What is CES?

A Customer Effort Score (CES) is a measure of how much effort was required for a customer to complete a specific action. CES surveys break apart the end result (which may be satisfying) with the process of getting to the result (the effort).

CES surveys are a great way to understand how seamless a particular process or flow is in your product or service.

How do you calculate CES?

Start off by sorting your responses into ranges. For example, disagree would be all responses between 1 and 2, neutral is 3, and agree would be 4 and 5. Customer Effort Score focuses on the “agree” range. To find your CES take the number of responses in the agree range (4 and 5) and then divide by the total number of respondents.

For example, let’s say you have 10 customers who marked 4 or 5, with 20 total customers who completed the survey. This means that 50% of respondents fell into the agree range, giving you a CES score of 50. The higher your score, the more effortless your experience.

Why does an “effortless experience” for customers matter?

Today, customers are conditioned to expect instant gratification.

Closely tracking the amount of effort required to reach an intended result can provide key insights – with the goal of having a seamless experience that fosters user happiness and retention.

Companies looking to improve funnel metrics and conversion rates would particularly benefit from CES surveys.

How to best leverage CES surveys?

Customer Effort Score is a powerful survey for people evaluating how users reached the intended result.

There are particular sections of the customer journey, such as onboarding or checkout, that are good targets for CES. If you anticipate roadblocks, you can trigger a CES survey and see how customers faired.

How to best create and deliver CES surveys?

The best way to create a Customer Effort Score survey is using existing survey software, which has CES built-in. This method allows you to select CES survey and quickly get surveys out to respondents.

CES surveys can be delivered across a number of channels, including website, in-app, email, and text message. Given that effort is related to a particular interaction, sending a follow-up email with a survey link is the best practice.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

CES is a powerful tool because of its specificity.

Companies use CES surveys to understand where their product or service is meeting customer expectations, and where things are confusing, slow, and laborious.

The results of a CES survey can be utilized to make changes to marketing, sales, pricing, customer support, and more. CES survey results also make great candidates for A/B tests (to see which variant leads to lower customer effort).

Graphic (Star, Smiley, Thumbs Up) Surveys

Graphic or emoji surveys refer to surveys that allow customers to interact with a graphic rather than select a number or provide a written response. Graphic surveys are intuitive, fast, and visually impactful.

There are three main graphic survey types:

  • Star Surveys
  • Smiley Surveys
  • Thumbs Up Surveys

Why choose a graphic survey?

Graphic surveys provide a seamless way for customers to provide feedback. Instead of offering a long written survey, a 30-second graphic survey can provide insights into how a current experience is going.

How to best leverage graphic surveys?

Star surveys are best used after a specific service is offered, such as a hotel stay or ridesharing trip. These situations are nuanced and the 5-star method allows for a good level of customization.

Smiley surveys are best leveraged in follow-up messages to better understand customer or employee satisfaction.

Specifically, smiley faces are intuitive, as well as language agnostic and great for websites or services that have multi-lingual customers.

Thumbs up surveys capture raw customer feedback since customers only have two answer options - “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Common use cases include:

  • Directly following a support conversation
  • In-product after a specific feature is used
  • To quickly gauge if customers are enjoying your new app
  • At the bottom of a webpage to capture its effectiveness

How to best create and deliver graphic surveys?

Graphic surveys are best created using a survey solution that comes out-of-the-box with support for 5-star surveys, smiley face surveys, and thumbs up surveys.

When crafting graphic surveys, be sure that the question you’re asking makes sense with the graphic survey scale. For example, in a star survey, ensure that 1 star means “poor” and 5 star means “great”.

The best delivery method for a graphic survey is the one that allows for users to answer in an organic way. If you have an online product, look into providing a quick thumbs up or down survey on the website.

If the experience was more complex (like a hotel stay, flight, or ride), then provide a follow-up survey 24 hours after the fact.

When using a smiley survey, keep the message short and focused on satisfaction. The message below is easy to read and does not lead the respondent into feeling a certain way about your brand, product, or service.

Keep a thumbs up survey specific. Ask a direct question about an experience or a recommendation provided by your service.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

Graphic surveys are a quick way to gather large amounts of customer data. They also serve as a starting point to launching more detailed customer experience programs, like follow-up surveys or customer calls.

The best way to analyze graphic survey results is to segment users into buckets, and create a plan-of-action for each group.

Custom Surveys with Additional Questions

What are the benefits of a custom survey?

A custom survey is a survey type that includes targeted questions, specific to your market, product, or service. Custom surveys uncover details about the customer experience not otherwise possible.

For instance, your team can ask follow-up questions to expand on what survey respondents previously mentioned.

When should you use custom surveys?

Custom surveys are the best fit for understanding why a customer experience exceeded, met, or fell short of expectations. For instance, ask customers what part of the experience was lackluster (NPS or CSAT) or particularly difficult (CES).

How to best create and deliver custom surveys?

It’s important to partner with the right survey solution. Specifically, a company that allows for flexibility in generating custom surveys and sending via multiple channels.

You can also use conditional logic to guide survey takers down a particular path, saving them time and ensuring you get the best quality responses.

How to best analyze and act on feedback?

When you receive custom survey feedback, break down responses into three sections: Fix Now, Fix Later, and Fine As Is.

This filter will help your team prioritize what can be improved now, increasing the customer experience. Don’t get bogged down in having too much information and being unable to act!

Summary

Successful CX programs rely on knowing how, when, and why to survey customers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys provide a great assessment of your brand’s appeal and competitive differentiators. Similarly, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys uncover valuable information about a customer’s overall satisfaction with your product or service.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys are best deployed to understand a specific roadblock or frustration that users may face. CES is an aide for all companies looking to build seamless experiences.

Graphic surveys are the most visual and quickest survey types to fill out. Use star surveys, smiley surveys, and thumbs up surveys to gauge customer sentiment in the “here and now”.

Finally, for a deeper understanding of your customers’ experience with your brand, use custom surveys with additional questions.

Now that you understand how to appropriately use the 7 customer survey types, you are one step closer to launching a world-class customer experience program.

Get started today with 250 free surveys from Delighted.

Announcing Reports: Survey results analysis and reporting made simple

When you’re juggling feedback from multiple sources and various customer segments, customer experience survey data analysis can get very overwhelming, very fast.

That’s why today, we’re very excited to introduce the much-requested Reports section of the Delighted platform, which is made up of three features: Snapshot, Over Time, and Pivot Table. With Snapshot and Over Time, you’ll be able to visualize your survey results in presentation-ready charts instantly. Using Pivot Table, you can summarize your survey data in one user-friendly, interactive table. You can also use it to see the most frequently used keywords from your open-ended feedback to surface unexpected trends.

Reports works with every survey type (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-star, Smileys, and Thumbs), and makes it easier than ever to evangelize your customer experience program across the company on a regular basis.

Use Snapshot and Over Time for CX survey reports

With Snapshot and Over Time, your team can understand how they’re doing at a glance. The built-in chart graphics make the quarterly and yearly reporting process easy.

Because Snapshot includes both quantitative (donut chart, histogram, table) and qualitative (sample feedback) data, you get a comprehensive understanding of your overall performance, all in one place. Delighted intelligently shows the most meaningful comments based on length and key terms in your Snapshot Report.

Filter the data by time frame and Trends or Properties to drill down to the exact segments you care about.

Over Time shows how the makeup of your score changes on a monthly or quarterly basis in a column chart and corresponding table, so you can immediately identify upward or downward trends and get ahead of them.

Once you segment the results with Properties or Trends, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact product or service changes that have affected your customer experience scores (for better or for worse). Use Over Time to be proactive about potential problems before they get out of control, or bring positive changes to light.

Both Snapshot and Over Time can be filtered by time period, and by the Properties and Trends that you have set up to segment your survey data.

Learn more about Snapshot and Over Time in our Help Center.

Use Pivot Table for survey results analysis

Pivot Table summarizes all of your survey data for analysis, so you can dive into how your Properties and Trends correlate to feedback scores.

For quick comparison, use just one filter to see how a Property segment (e.g. Agents, Locations, Products, Purchase Experience, etc.) performs.

For deeper analysis, use two filters to drill down into different Groups, Trends, Properties, or Additional Questions. Analyzing the data this way helps you understand how important certain aspects of your customer experience may be to overall customer satisfaction, so you can prioritize working on the areas that will actually move the needle.

Pivot Table also has a bonus feature: Keywords. Keywords are a filter you can use to surface the most commonly used words in your open-ended feedback. That means you no longer need to read through all of your feedback to find patterns - Pivot Table automatically does it for you.

Discover which words are most commonly associated with positive or negative feedback, and then turn those words into a Trend to monitor how those scores change over time.

Learn more about the different ways to use Pivot Table here.

Reports is available at 2 tiers: Standard and Premium. Standard Reports includes Snapshot and Over Time. Premium Reports includes Snapshot, Over Time, and Pivot Table.

If you don’t have Reports yet, upgrade your plan here.

Expand your customer experience program with Smileys, Thumbs, and Link surveys

In support of our mission to be a turnkey customer experience platform, we’re excited to announce three new features to help you grow your customer experience program:

  1. Smileys surveys for intuitive customer satisfaction feedback
  2. Thumbs surveys for simple yes/no feedback collection
  3. Link surveys for feedback in any customer interaction channel


These three new additions complement our existing survey types, so you can have a holistic feedback program that covers your entire customer journey.

Let’s dive into each of these new features!

Smileys and Thumbs

With our brand new Smileys and Thumbs surveys you now have access to the most intuitive, universal, and fun way to gather quick feedback. And they are both available on all of our platforms immediately – Email, Web, SMS, and Link.

A fun alternative to the traditional Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey, the Smileys survey is best for satisfaction-oriented questions. It uses five distinctive faces that range from very unhappy to very happy, so it’s obvious which end of the scale is positive or negative. Read this article to learn more about best practices for Smileys surveys.

With Thumbs surveys, customers have two options: thumbs up, or thumbs down. Customers can love it or hate it; agree or disagree. Simplifying the decision process makes it easier to respond, increasing response rates. The binary nature of the survey also ensures you receive the most essential feedback – the good and the bad.

Common scenarios for using the Thumbs survey would be if you need to understand whether an article is useful or how a customer feels about a customer support interaction. After determining what a high-level issue may be, you can dive deeper with Additional Questions or a survey type that allows for more layers of nuance. Head over to our Help center for more information on Thumbs survey best practices.

Similar to our existing Net Promoter Score (NPS), CSAT, Customer Effort Score (CES), and 5-star surveys, Smileys and Thumbs surveys are fully customizable and allow customers to provide an open-ended comment for additional context.

To start using Smileys or Thumbs:

  1. Select either Smileys or Thumbs as your survey type.
  2. Choose your distribution method (Email, Web, SMS, or Link).
  3. Customize the question and branding of your survey.
  4. Send the surveys out and wait for the feedback to roll back in.

Link surveys

Link surveys turn all of your customer touchpoints into an opportunity to gather feedback. Whether you want to embed them in email signatures, post them on social media, use them in chat windows, or print them onto receipts, your avenues for feedback collection are now limitless.

To start using the new Link platform:

  1. Choose your survey type (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-star, Smileys, or Thumbs).
  2. Select Link as your distribution method.
  3. Customize your branding and question.
  4. Share or embed your link anywhere you want.


Visit our Help center to learn more about Link surveys.

To expand your existing Delighted customer experience program with Link, Smileys, and Thumbs, reach out to our Concierge Team to ask about enabling these features in your account.

Introducing Delighted for iOS

Today, we’re launching Delighted for iOS to give you access to all of your Delighted feedback anywhere and everywhere. With Delighted for iOS, all your customer feedback is just a tap away on your iPhone or iPad.

Download Delighted for iOS from the App Store today

Making customer feedback readily available and actionable has always been at the heart of what we do at Delighted. What good is customer feedback that’s trapped in a spreadsheet? Delighted for iOS extends this goal by bringing all of your feedback to your iPhone or iPad. Now, no matter if you are traveling and don’t have access to your work machine, or want to quickly check your latest feedback in between meetings, Delighted for iOS makes that possible.

With our initial release, we have focused on providing the most important elements of the Delighted Dashboard – analyzing survey results in the real-time stream of feedback, and taking action to optimize your customers’ experience.

Analyze Results

After you sign in, all your feedback will be available and as new feedback is received the app will stream in new responses instantly. In addition, you can tap any response to reveal a detail view, so you can see any properties associated with the response.

Take Action

While it’s helpful to know the overall health of your customers, taking immediate action to resolve a customer issue or acknowledge positive feedback may be the difference between a brand champion and a lost customer. Delighted’s iOS app enables you to view the details of any survey response, leave a note for other members of the team, or share the customer feedback to take action. Your mobile updates automatically sync with the Delighted web app to ensure everyone has access to the latest customer data.

We are excited to bring the Delighted experience to iOS for the first time, and we have big plans for its future. Our goal is to make it the perfect way to ensure everyone in your company has access to customer feedback to continually improve your business on behalf of customers.

Download Delighted for iOS from the App Store today

Upgrade customer experience surveys with Additional Questions

Great companies continually strive to deliver more perfect customer experiences. This starts by better understanding the experience of each individual customer. Gaining the insight you need to deeply understand your customers and appropriately take action comes down to the questions you ask and how you ask them.

Delighted’s mission is to empower companies to achieve these goals. With Delighted, you can easily create and deliver NPS, CES, CSAT, and 5-star surveys. Each survey asks one question, allow responders to provide a rating answer and elaborate on their answer with a written verbatim comment.

We continually optimize the creation and delivery of these surveys so you can provide the absolute best survey experience for your customers. This results in more survey responses, but it is also important to us to help companies gain more insight on those survey responses so they can more deeply understand their customers and improve customer experiences.

This is why today we are launching a new feature called Additional Questions – allowing you to add specific follow-up questions to customer experience surveys based on the initial survey rating response.

Here’s how Additional Questions works:

By adding contextual follow-up questions, your customers can expand on their earlier survey rating and provide crucial feedback to help you decide on how to positively impact their experience moving forward.

With Additional Questions, you can ask up to 10 fully customizable questions after your default survey question and comment page.

The 4 question types include:

  • Free response
  • Scale
  • Select one option
  • Select many options

The questions asked can be contextual to the survey rating response using conditional logic. When creating a new question, simply select “Who should see this question?”. The targeting options are based on the survey rating types (e.g., for NPS that would be Promoters, Passives, and Detractors).

For example, after a negative survey response, you can ask a multiple-choice question that provides a pre-defined list of potential issues the customer encountered to help them provide context (and help your team identify high priority areas to improve).

For a positive response, you may want to follow up with a more direct question and allow a free response answer so the customer can provide detail on their positive experience with your company. This is a great way to source customer testimonials and opportunities to strengthen the customer relationship further.

The added flexibility Additional Questions provides enables you to create fully custom customer experience surveys to meet your needs and deliver deep insight on your customer’s experiences.

Setting up Additional Questions and creating powerful custom surveys is just as easy as the rest of Delighted. And unlike other general purpose survey tools, customer experience best practices are built in to help ensure you still have a great survey response rate. No new expertise or skill set is required to build and scale a powerful customer experience program using Additional Questions.

You can learn more about setting up Additional Questions in our help center.

Currently, Additional Questions is available in surveys delivered through Delighted’s Email platform. Support for Web and SMS delivery is on our roadmap.

Additional Questions is now available in price plans at $249/month or higher ($224/month with an annual commitment). Learn more about plans here.

Delighted + Qualtrics

We’re excited to announce that Delighted has been acquired by Qualtrics, the world leader in enterprise customer experience management.

Qualtrics serves many of the largest, most sophisticated global organizations. Joining forces will allow Qualtrics and Delighted to serve organizations of all shapes and sizes, from the newly founded company to the Fortune 50.

Please know that Delighted is here to stay. Our mission remains the same: to make every customer experience perfect by bringing the power of world-class customer experience to every organization. The pace of product innovation will accelerate as we expand the Delighted team with incredible talent, leveraging the resources and expertise of Qualtrics.

We are excited to continue helping you make every customer interaction a powerful one.

You can learn more about the acquisition here.

Playing it safe is risky

Large companies with massive head counts, mountains of cash, and endless expertise, are rarely successful in creating truly differentiated experiences. Paradoxically, it’s the smaller companies with just a handful of employees and very little capital who are able to deliver the highest quality and most differentiated customer experiences.

But why?

There are many factors that restrict the ability for large companies to create differentiated experiences, but it usually boils down to one thing: the larger you get, the higher the stakes.

As a company grows, appetite for risk diminishes and a rational decision making process of risk mitigation takes hold. The more you have at stake, the more you’re compelled to focus on reducing risk instead of maximizing the potential upside that differentiated experiences can enable.

The music and film industries are notorious for this sort of dynamic.

Producing and promoting an album is expensive and time consuming. Like any hit driven industry, just a handful of artists generate the majority of all earnings. But there’s a ceiling on the number of albums a single artist can produce. As such, it’s in the interest of the label to do everything they can to ensure that new albums are successful.

It only makes sense that they’d rely on safe bets: songwriters who have written hit songs, producers who have produced hit songs, backing bands who have recorded hit songs, and sounds that are currently trending in hit songs. In an effort to reduce the risk of a flop, they’re forced to play it safe and create albums optimized to sell, not break new ground.

If it’s ground breaking music you seek, look to indie artists. Unlike their publicly traded, corporate-backed counterparts with demanding shareholders, these artists have nothing to lose. Producing songs with the same formulas used by larger labels, without the marketing war chests to back them, will inevitably lead to them being lost in the shuffle. Indie artists need to cut through the clutter by producing work that is special and unique.

In the film industry, where a single release can cost upwards of $350,000,000 to produce, simply breaking even is critical. Anything less could jeopardize the health of the company, and at the very least, be career-ending for the executives involved. The stakes are astronomically high. As such, there is a strong incentive to do everything possible to ensure that every film is as broad-reaching and palatable as possible. This leaves very little room for untested, original ideas. These films lean on safe building blocks: franchises with built-in fan bases, tried-and-true stories, recognizable actors, gratuitous special effects, and battle-worn directors.

Independent film makers, by contrast, rely on raw creativity, unique storytelling, and a healthy dose of luck. The Blair Witch Project was a $250,000,000 worldwide phenomenon that had a budget of only $60,000. Having absolutely no resources for marketing or advertising, the filmmakers’ only option was to generate as much buzz as possible – and buzz comes from great experiences that people want to talk about.

When you are starting a company, you have nothing to lose – no money, no customers, no revenue, no product, no fan base. While this may feel daunting, it’s your biggest advantage. It affords you the freedom to take big swings – something for which larger incumbents won’t have the stomach.

If you want to avoid mediocrity as you grow, it’s important to focus on making something special and unique. Don’t let capital investments drive how you make decisions about the resulting experience. Sometimes this may even mean investing less. Constraints breed creativity and can help you and your team feel more comfortable with failure. And not fearing failure can often be the key to success.

10 ways to do more with your promoters

We’ve previously written about why you should be following up with detractors. This is standard practice for anyone running a successful NPS program. But we often see companies overlook the massive upside of leveraging promoters to their advantage. Promoters are your biggest fans, and they’re willing to go to work for you! They can amplify your strengths, drive referrals, coach new users, and even help guide the product roadmap.

We’ve put together 10 ideas from our customers to leverage the power of promoters.

1. Reach out to them

Loyal customers like to be acknowledged. Chefs and managers of the world’s best restaurants make it a point to forge personal relationships with their customers, especially their regulars. You can apply this same philosophy to your business. Have an executive on your team reach out to promoters with a personal note, thanking them for being a customer. The simple act of writing a personal note will go a long way towards deepening the relationship a customer has with your company.

2. Provide a way for promoters to promote

Once a promoter has recounted their positive experience verbatim, this is the perfect time to provide them with a low friction way to promote your company. The experience is fresh in their minds, and they rarely need more than a nudge to share that experience with the world. Provide them with a pre-filled tweet, Facebook post, or link to your “refer-a-friend” program.

3. Solicit feedback on upcoming products

Promoters tend to know your product better than anyone else, and will often have great insight into where the product could go in the future. These are the people for whom your product perfectly addresses the problem they are trying to solve. Not only can they help you build better products, they are often excited about any opportunity to shape the future of the product they love.

4. Give them exclusive access to limited edition products

Some of our ecommerce customers grant promoters early access to limited stock products – typically items that will see a larger public release in the future. Promoters are thrilled to be among the first to try out a new product, and the company can test reception of the product before a wider rollout. Promoters who are active on social media can generate buzz for the new product, priming demand for the release.

5. Give them exclusive access to beta features

As you develop new features for your product, you’ll often want to test them with real users before releasing them into the wild. Promoters are perfectly suited for this sort of role. As we’ve noted above, promoters are often more than willing to help shape the product they know and love. They are also less likely to be sensitive to rough edges. They’ll often provide rich actionable feedback and criticism that comes from a supportive and knowledgeable place.

6. Ask for a review

Online review sites can be an important factor in the buying process for prospective customers. Reviews on sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, G2Crowd, or StackShare can make or break a customer’s willingness to try your product. Politely asking promoters for a review can lead to significant increases in the quantity and quality of reviews. However, avoid asking for reviews too often as this can negatively affect the relationship.

7. Hold round table discussions

The conversational nature of round table discussions can bubble up insights that don’t often reveal themselves in one-on-one feedback sessions. Customers love sharing tips and tricks with other people in their field. Great starting topics include: how they were solving the problem before they were a customer, unique tips or processes they have in place to maximize value, and a deep dive into specific features they love. These discussions can generate great content for guides, FAQs, blog posts, and more. They can take the shape of a simple video conference, a visit to your office, or even a nice dinner in a nearby city.

8. Have them participate in a case study

Do you have a customer with a particularly interesting story? Consider asking them to participate in a case study. Use the case study to dig into the challenges they were having before using your product, how they’re currently using your product, and the value they are seeing as a result. Case studies provide social proof and instill trust in prospective customers. Companies often welcome an opportunity for positive exposure and are eager to tout their focus on customer experience to their customers. These profiles are most common in the B2B world, but even companies like Apple will do interviews and produce video testimonials highlighting how people use their products.

9. Be a customer reference

In the B2B world, prospective customers, especially in the enterprise space, often want to speak with existing customers about their experience before selecting a solution. Your promoters are a great source for these conversations. Reach out to a few of your promoters in different industries and see if they’d be open to occasionally speaking with prospective customers. Promoters know how to maximize the value of your product, and are uniquely positioned to enlighten others on how to do the same.

10. Hire them

Training a new hire to be as deeply familiar with your product as you takes a long time. When you find someone who already has a high level of familiarity with your product, you can save months of onboarding time. Not only are promoters typically highly familiar with your product, that familiarity comes from actual time spent using the product. This sort of deep, real world immersion can be a huge asset, and is rarely achievable by the people creating the product.

It’s easy to focus all of your attention on detractors. After all, promoters are happy customers. And as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” But promoters can be immensely valuable in ways beyond simply spreading the word about your product. Let them help you – you’ll likely find that they’re eager to do it.

Good isn’t good enough

When is it safe for a company to let up on the gas when it comes to improving customer experience? This is a question we hear a lot at Delighted. Should you continue to invest in customer experience if your customers are satisfied with the current experience? It’s common for a company to create a unique experience, gain early traction in their market, then shift their energy from improving that experience, to scaling and driving efficiencies. After all, why invest in increasing the quality of your customer experience if your NPS is already 10 points higher than your competition?

While it’s important to know where you stand against your competition we caution against letting competitors define your investment in customer experience. It’s always better to benchmark against yourself, and continuously take advantage of opportunities to increase the quality of your customer experience. Put another way, you should be focused on improving your experience to protect against future competitors that may not exist yet, but will almost certainly crop up in the future.

There is always an appetite for a better experience – be it a service experience, a quality experience, or a product experience. Because of this, the best experiences today will be table stakes tomorrow. Once a level of customer experience becomes the norm, people will look for newer, higher quality experiences. And the most discerning customers – those willing to pay a premium for a better experience – are the first to seek greener pastures.

This opens the door for competition.

This is the critical junction – when an experience begins to reach normalcy and stagnate – where new players enter an industry. They’ll peel off early adopters, leaving customers who are less willing to pay for differentiated experiences. The incumbent is forced to adjust to their new reality of lower revenues and profits, by cutting costs and corners. This further widens the gap between the old experience and the new, more desirable one.

Coffee shops are a great example of this phenomenon. Starbucks realized there was an opportunity to create a much better experience around the daily ritual of coffee. They created an experience that recreated the atmosphere and sophisticated drink selections of Italian cafes. They were able to steal the most valuable segment of the coffee drinking market, by providing a experience people were eager to pay a premium for. But over time, as Starbucks grew more and more ubiquitous, their core coffee experience stagnated. As a result, the same early adopters of the Starbucks experience were ready for something new.

Enter the artisanal roasters/shops.

Companies like Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and many others, have picked up where Starbucks left off. They’ve begun to court the discerning coffee drinkers for whom Starbucks is no longer appealing, by offering an even better atmosphere, more skilled baristas, and higher quality coffee – often using ultra fresh beans roasted in-house. For instance, Blue Bottle has invested heavily in the quality of their coffee, and never sells beans (brewed or bagged) that are older than 2 days from the roast date.

Another example industry is fast food. In a market dominated by McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell, companies like Chipotle, Sweetgreen, Lyfe Kitchen, and others, have recognized an opportunity for something better than traditional fast food, but less formal than traditional “sit down” restaurants. They’ve begun to chip away at fast food restaurants’ market share by attracting customers who want higher quality food, a more welcoming atmosphere, and healthier menu choices – and they’re willing to pay for it.

The car industry in the United States changed dramatically during the 1980’s. Japanese competitors Honda and Toyota began to gain market share in an environment where customers were looking for higher quality vehicles (not to mention smaller and less expensive) – the sort of vehicles that GM, Ford, and Chrysler were ill equipped to produce. U.S. automakers were slow to respond and consequently lost market share year after year. The U.S. automakers went from nearly 80% market share in the late 1970’s to 45% market share by 2010. Honda and Toyota raised the bar for quality to such a degree that they were able to leverage their early success in small cars to larger cars and SUVs over time – the most profitable and highest volume segments of the market.

The appetite for better experiences is insatiable. There are always customers who will pay for a better experience. It’s this constant search for the best that provides a foothold for new companies to exist and grow. By definition, new companies exist because they provide an experience that their customers can’t get elsewhere. When deciding when your experience is “good enough” it’s important to remember that to stay relevant over the long term, you’ll need to invest in improving your experience.

The best coffee cart coffee in 1970 is nothing like the pour over you can get at Blue Bottle today. The cheeseburger from McDonalds in 2000 hasn’t improved much at all, yet tastes have become more sophisticated. And the best selling Ford in 1980 would be a complete flop if released today. Customers will always demand better experiences, and they will find the companies that can provide them. To stay relevant focus on continually improving your own experience so customers continue to choose you in their quest for the best.

When to send your NPS survey

Selecting the precise moment in which to solicit feedback from your customers can have a huge impact on both the quality and quantity of the feedback you receive. Survey too early and your customers may not have a full story to tell. Survey too late, and you lose the raw emotion felt during the experience, as well as those critical details that tend to fade away over time.

The key to running a successful NPS program is your ability to maximize the number of people who provide feedback, as well as the completeness of that feedback. Survey timing affects both of these simultaneously. With a bit of careful planning, you can vastly improve the quality and quantity of feedback you receive.

The old way

Many companies conduct their feedback programs on an annual or quarterly basis. They typically involve long and complex surveys sent to nearly all of their customers, past or current, in one large blast. Administering feedback programs in this manner is time consuming and complex. Companies rarely want to go through that pain more often than is absolutely necessary. And sadly, the results typically don’t scale with the effort put forth.

Customers are asked for feedback at seemingly random times and often cannot recollect the finer details of their experience. Requesting too much information at the wrong time is a recipe for disaster in the world of feedback. Companies who survey in this manner typically see only single digit percentages of customer participation, usually with very little verbatim feedback.

A better way

With modern feedback platforms like Delighted, you have the flexibility to survey customers at the most optimal moment in their journey. That moment varies by business type, but is always centered around the point where a customer has experienced enough of your product or service to be able to confidently recommend it, or not.

We’ve put together a few guidelines on how to identify the right moment to survey your customers:

Retail and E-commerce

When a physical good is involved, survey timing is relatively straightforward. You can typically pinpoint the optimal survey point by starting with the delivery date and adding just enough time for the customer to fully experience the product.

In the case of a consumable like food, that point would be soon after delivery. In the case of products with longer evaluation windows, like mattresses, you may want to wait a few weeks from the delivery date to survey customers, as the evaluation of a mattress typically doesn’t happen overnight.

Men’s clothier Bonobos surveys customers a few days after their new clothes arrive, giving customers time to try them on, while allowing a little extra time for customers who don’t open the package the day it is delivered. Another approach is to stagger surveying, asking some customers for feedback shortly after the product has been delivered, and others a few weeks later. This can give you a wide angle view on the customer experience.

Surveying doesn’t have to be limited to first-time buyers. However, the tempo of surveying should track with the relative uniqueness of each order. The more unique each order is from the last, the more often you should ask for feedback – within reason. If each order is totally unique, surveying folks every couple months is reasonable. If your product does not change, you probably don’t want to survey your customers more than once a quarter to 6 months, just frequent enough to make sure you’re maintaining the experience you’ve been delivering.

B2B and SaaS

The buying process for business customers can take much longer than it does for consumer customers. This can make deciding on the right moment to ask for feedback a bit tricky. It can be helpful to break the customer journey into two phases: the early phase, and the on-going phase.

In the early phase, you’ll ask for feedback once a customer has successfully onboarded and has started to get value from your product. Many SaaS companies will ask for feedback a few weeks to a month after a customer subscribes to a paid plan, while service-oriented companies will typically survey shortly after completing a job or project for a client.

For on-going relationships, you can ask for feedback on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. The time period you choose should be aligned with the stability of your delivered experience. If your service rarely changes, you’ll want to pick a longer time period – a short time period could result in duplicative feedback. If you are a young software startup with a product and support team that is changing rapidly, quarterly surveying may be more appropriate.

On-Demand

For companies that deliver an experience or product at the push of a button, survey timing is critical – but the same general principles still apply. Rental car company Silvercar surveys customers shortly after they return the vehicle. At this point they’ve experienced the entire service lifecycle including booking, pickup, driving, and returning.

HotelTonight sends their surveys the day after a guest checks out of a hotel. HotelTonight cares about both the booking experience in their app, as well as the complete guest experience at the hotel. Neither of these companies will survey customers again for a few months. This blackout period ensures that they’ll be able to collect feedback from these customers in the future.

Consumer Products

Companies that produce physical products should start with a similar approach to retail and e-commerce – giving customers enough time to experience the product they’ve purchased.

One recent trend is the increasing use of companion web services and mobile apps in conjunction with physical products. Customers will often have to register or activate the product on the manufacturers website or mobile app. This can enable a much better understanding of product usage patterns, as well as provide a direct method of communicating with the customer who may have purchased the product from a 3rd party retailer.

As with retail and e-commerce, the optimal point to solicit feedback will vary with the type of product. While some products allow for snap judgement, others will require the customer to more deeply integrate the product into their lifestyle before they can form an opinion – like a new smart thermostat or home audio system. In those cases, if you were to survey the customer when the product was registered or activated, you’d miss the key insights that can only be gleaned after weeks of use. Even worse, customers who are surveyed before they’ve fully evaluated a product, are likely to give you a low NPS score, even if they go on to eventually become a loyal promoter. People typically won’t feel comfortable recommending something they have not yet fully vetted.

Summary

As we’ve discussed, choosing the right moment to survey can have a profound effect on the quality and quantity of the feedback you receive. While the specifics around when to survey vary with different business models, the core principle remains: think about when a customer will have had a complete experience with you, and survey shortly after that. With a bit of simple planning, you can dramatically improve the value of your customer feedback program.

What is a good NPS score?

One of the most common questions we hear from companies first embarking into NPS is “How do I know if my NPS is good?” There are two methods you can use to help contextualize your score – the absolute method and the relative method. The absolute method involves comparing your score to a loosely agreed upon standard for what a good score is, across all industries. The relative method involves comparing your score to other companies within your industry.

We’ll go into both methods below, but for the relative method, we’ve created a simple tool that allows you to compare your NPS with others in your industry. Simply enter your NPS score, select your industry, and we’ll show you how you stack up. You can also get a bird’s eye view across all industries and see how they compare with each other.

The absolute method

The official NPS specification deems anything above 0 a good score. This means you have more promoters than passives and detractors. Anything under 0 means that you have more detractors and passives than promoters. But while 0 is considered a positive NPS, companies with scores of 0 aren’t actually providing a good experience in absolute terms. Here’s a breakdown that can help you approximate how well you’re doing:

-100-0: The majority of people experiencing your product or brand are having a bad experience and are spreading the word that you should be avoided.

1-30: This an acceptable range to be in, but there is a lot of opportunity to improve.

31-50: This is where most companies tend to live. A company in this range places value on a quality customer experience and are generally delivering it.

50-70: These companies are doubling down in customer experience and it shows. Some of the most beloved brands have an NPS in this range.

71-100: This is the Holy Grail of NPS, and rarely attainable. The range is reserved for the absolute best companies in the world.

The relative method

The second way to know if your NPS is good or not is to compare your score relative to industry benchmarks. Average scores vary widely across industries.

Some industries are notorious for providing less than stellar customer experiences, but they continue to thrive in spite of their low scores. This can happen when a company provides a critical service, or has very little competition – think utilities, cable providers, etc.

Other industries live and die by their NPS and could not exist without delivering a high-quality differentiated experience. These companies are either in highly competitive markets and must compete on a differentiated experience, or their core product is inherently experiential – think luxury consumer products, hotels, etc.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest and lowest average industry scores. To provide more context, we’ve also included the range of scores observed.

Here are some industries with the highest average NPS scores:

Auto dealers

GM, BMW, Honda, Cadillac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Nissan, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Audi, Chrysler, Subaru, Jeep, Kia, Dodge, Toyota, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus

Software

Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Intuit, Sony, McAfee, Activision, Apple, Symantec, Blackboard

Computers & tablets

Lenovo, Sony, Compaq, Gateway, Dell, eMachines, Barnes & Noble, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Amazon, Apple

Here are some industries with the lowest average NPS scores:

Health plans

Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Coventry Health Care, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Highmark, CIGNA, Medicare, United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Medicaid, TriCare

Internet service

AOL, AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications

TV service

Comcast, DirecTV, AT&T, Cablevision Optimum, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Verizon, Dish Network, Cox Communications

A word of caution about benchmarks

NPS industry benchmark comparisons are great for knowing how you stack up against your competition, and can help you understand the amount of incremental investment you should be making into improving the customer experience. However, anchoring on your competitors’ scores will place an artificial ceiling on your potential.

Breakthrough companies often compete on a differentiated experience, allowing them to grow through word of mouth while stealing market share. If you stop improving your customer experience, a competitor will inevitably seize the opportunity to surpass you. Just because customers have tolerated a poor experience to date, doesn’t mean they will forever.

No matter your industry, we believe it is worth striving to deliver a perfect experience to every customer, turning them into avid promoters of your company. The best companies focus on continually improving their own customer experiences – benchmarking against themselves vs. peers or industry standards.

12 reasons to follow up with detractors

Running a successful NPS program is more than simply asking your customers for feedback. It’s about using that feedback to fundamentally improve your product or service. But an often under valued aspect of doing NPS well is rigorously following up with detractors – folks who didn’t have a great experience and wouldn’t recommend you. We’ve worked with thousands of companies who have seen the power of following up with detractors and we’ve compiled the top 12 reasons you should follow up with your detractors.

1. Convert detractors into promoters

The audacious goal of any customer focussed company is to deliver a perfect experience to every customer, every time. A lofty goal for sure, and it’s unrealistic to expect you’ll be able to meet this level of experience each time. Knowing that you’re almost guaranteed to miss the mark sometimes, then you should view detractors as gift not to be squandered. You’ve successfully unearthed a tangible opportunity to right a wrong (or series of wrongs). It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll likely find that some of your most loyal customers are former detractors. A detractor’s expectations are already low, which means they have high upside. Simply showing them that you care is often enough to turn them around.

2. Hold you and the team accountable for each customers’ experience

As your company and customer base grows, it’s all too easy to drift into thinking about the customer experience in numerical terms, instead of real human experiences. You begin to say things like: “1% of customers experienced a late shipment”, or “3% of customers were affected by this bug”. This sort of thinking leads to a disconnect between what you deliver, and what your customers actually experience. When you follow up with folks who didn’t have a great experience, it’s impossible to escape the fact that you let a real person down. Having a one-on-one conversation with a customer, forces you to own the decisions you’ve made. You can either stand behind them, and risk losing the customer, or you can fix them. Whatever you choose, these one-on-one conversations serve as a mirror for the experience you actually deliver.

3. Fill in the blanks when a detractor does not leave a comment

Detractors may not always leave a comment with their score. And if they do, they may not share the whole story. When you close the loop with them, you have the chance to learn more about their entire experience. What caused the issue? What were they expecting? Were they told something that wasn’t true? This is invaluable for both helping the customer in the moment, as well as providing your team with a complete picture of where you can improve.

4. Connect with people who may never have contacted support

Many issues, like a slightly late package, or a couple small bugs in a piece of software, don’t usually warrant an email to customer support. But these experiences add up! And they will slowly turn people into detractors. If you’re not actively looking for detractors, you may never know they exist. Only a small percentage of your total customer base will ever contact customer support, but a much larger percentage will happily share their experience with you when asked in a simple way.

5. Stop issues from becoming unsolvable

As stated above, people don’t typically start out as detractors. They come into the relationship hopeful that your company will help them solve their problem. Sometimes there’s an acute issue that triggers someone into becoming a detractor overnight, but the more common scenario is an accumulation of small issues – each one amplified by the last. Annoyance turns to frustration, and frustration turns to rage. Following up with detractors as soon as you identify them can help stave off negative snowballing of irreparable harm.

6. Open a line of communication for any future issues

Once you’ve turned a detractor around, they will remember that positive experience. If they should encounter any new issues, they’ll feel comfortable knowing they can reach out to a real person on your team who cares. This is incredibly valuable. It gives you the opportunity to head off any future problems before they have chance to sour the relationship.

7. Show you care and that you are listening

Providing feedback to a company is much like tossing a penny into a fountain – you hope something good will come from it, but don’t expect much. When you follow up with a detractor, you’re sending a very clear signal that your company actively reads and responds to feedback. Even if you’re simply apologizing for a minor annoyance, this is far beyond what most companies are willing to do. When customers feel under appreciated, they adopt a less forgiving posture. Issues are met with hostility and fervor. People have been trained that this sort of reaction is the only way to get the attention of a company. Responding to detractors in a timely fashion can disarm them, and pave the way for a much more constructive conversation.

8. Solve problems proactively

Detractors are often upset about things that can be solved relatively quickly by your support team. Maybe they can’t find their tracking number, or they want to return something but missed the window by a day. Maybe they’re requesting a product feature that you happen to have in private beta. Many of these acute issues can be resolved by your support team instantly. They can respond with the customer’s tracking number and info about when it will arrive. They can grant an extension on the return policy and include a free return shipping label. They can invite the customer into a preview of a feature that has yet to be launched. There’s nothing more rewarding than realizing that you already have a solution for a customer. These customers are often the easiest to convert to promoters.

9. Share upcoming improvements

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to address the issues of your detractors immediately. But some feedback will illuminate “soft” areas of your product or service for which there is no quick fix. These typically surface when an otherwise happy customer happens upon a blind spot, or takes a path outside of your finely optimized core experience. While you may not be able to fix these issues immediately, it’s still good practice to acknowledge the pain the customer is feeling, and share any upcoming improvements that could address their concerns. The key here is to open a channel of communication that you can use to inform them of any new developments, and give yourself more chances to retain them.

10. Find the root cause

You may find that a seemingly innocuous piece of feedback actually speaks to a much larger systemic problem within your organization. As you follow up with detractors, you’ll have the opportunity to dig deeper into each particular experience, and uncover details that would rarely be shared in customer feedback. While these problems are trickier to identify, they typically solve an entire class of issues for people once they are resolved. For instance, you may find that many first-time customers don’t buy again or are confused about policies around returns. As you dig in, you may come to learn they are unsure of the quality of your products and are nervous about your return policy. This may lead you to create a whole campaign about how you offer a 100% happiness guarantee.

11. Minimize fallout

Some detractors are more vocal about their negative experiences than others. They leave feedback on review sites, forums, and other channels where word-of-mouth testimonials can carry a lot of weight. Reaching out to your detractors as soon as they leave feedback can help you nip any potential fallout in the bud. Once they know you actually care and are working to fix their issue, they’ll be far less likely to share their initially bad experience with others. Better still, they may share the positive interaction they’ve had with you.

12. Get a better grasp on churn risk

Detractors carry higher churn/attrition rates than passives and promoters. However, not all detractors are equal. Some may have just tipped into being detractors, while others maybe be on the verge of calling it quits. Following up with detractors can help you prioritize your efforts, focussing first on the most at-risk customers.

Following up with detractors is a critical step towards improving your NPS and providing a world-class experience for your customers. It’s easy to be excited when the feedback is flowing in and you are working to improve the experience behind the scenes. But as we’ve covered, there are many great reasons to follow-up with detractors the moment they reveal themselves. It will certainly take extra energy, but the benefits are multi-dimensional. You’ll speak with more of your customers, learn more from them, convert many into loyal promoters, give them a great reason to stick around, and better prioritize product improvements – all leading to more revenue and growth.

Remember me?

You walk into your favorite coffee shop – you’ve been here dozens of times before. You order your typical cappuccino, and wait for the barista to ask for your name. You’re not quite sure if they remember you. This is when some baristas will simply ask, “What’s your name?”. Some will soften it a bit and ask, “What name should we use?” – a minor adjustment that avoids the full concession that they don’t recognize you. After all, maybe you have a nickname you sometimes use, or a name you use when ordering where there could be potential conflicts.

But there’s a better alternative. One that draws you in and makes you feel as though they know you, but are simply having a momentary memory lapse…

“Remind me of your name again…”

It’s a subtle difference, but it matters. And it’s a great example of the holistic thinking that produces outstanding customer experiences.

Of course, the ideal situation is that they actually remember you and your name. Bonus points if they pre-empt your order and ask, “Your regular cappuccino to go?”.

But not every barista will remember every regular customer, let alone a customer who’s only visited once or twice before. The interesting question is, how could you make the customer feel like a regular, regardless of how often they buy from you? “Remind me…” phrasing bridges the gap between feeling like a totally anonymous customer and being recognized and known by name. It allows the barista who recognizes the customer, but can’t recall their name, to engage them in a more personal way.

Now, we certainly wouldn’t find it thoughtful or endearing if we knew that the person asking us was a new employee who couldn’t possibly have helped us before. It can’t be used as a trick. But when used appropriately it’s quite a nice enhancement to the experience. Especially in response to such a common and mundane exchange.

The best companies think about customer experience from end-to-end. And they understand that new and repeat customers are different, each deserving of a tailored experience. The hospitality industry has always led the way here. Four Seasons kept index cards (before computers) with guest preferences – from pillow fluffiness, to preferred brands to stock in the mini bar. All in service of making the guest feel more comfortable and taken care of during their next stay.

Where in your business is there opportunity to turn a mundane interaction into something more thoughtful and endearing? Where could you acknowledge your loyal customers more and make them feel recognized?

The microwave curse

A microwave oven is supposed to be a convenient way to heat up a meal, pop some popcorn, warm some milk, or myriad other simple cooking tasks. It’s a welcome alternative to much slower options like an oven or stove.

First introduced as a device to save time for specific cooking tasks, the microwave is now an appliance that aims to perform every cooking task. You’ll often find highly specific settings for things like cooking a turkey or adjusting the power level in individual percentage point increments. It’s not uncommon for the modern microwave to have more than 30 buttons. It’s gotten out of control.

The modern microwave is a case study for a product that has continually added new features and capability without reconsidering the holistic experience and the usage patterns of customers. While each individual addition may have sold an incremental microwave, they weren’t later held accountable for the complexity they brought to the whole.

How many of the features added to microwaves in the past 40 years are used by the majority of microwave users? Are people really cooking a turkey in their microwave? If they are, is it more than once per year? Do they really need to be able to set the power level to 43%?

Not only are the additions likely underutilized, they complicate the process of using a microwave for the everyday use cases. When you try to address every use case, you end up not solving any of them well.

What if your microwave only had 3 buttons – one to add 30 seconds, one to remove 15 seconds, and one to cancel? That might seem extreme, but it would likely get closer to how people actually use these appliances instead of trying to solve every possible use case.

Even well-intentioned additions to a product or experience, that give people more options or capability, will eventually lead to a complex, unfocused product if not reconsidered and pruned from time to time.

Don’t ask your customers if you already know the answer

Haphazardly crafted surveys are everywhere. It’s an epidemic. Surveys can suffer from a variety of issues, and they all result in the cardinal sin of squandering customers’ precious attention. One of the most notorious time wasters is when a company asks for information they already have.

Consider this all too common scenario:

You book a flight to Maui for a long overdue vacation. You land, check your email while taxiing to the gate, and find a customer feedback survey from your airline waiting in your inbox.

Here are the first 3 questions:

What is your email address?
What was your flight number?
Which airport did you depart from?

Right off the bat, you’re asked 3 things that the airline certainly already knows. They sent you the survey via email, so they have your email address. They knew when to send the survey – after you landed – so they know your flight number. And if they know your flight number, they know your departure airport.

Why are they wasting time collecting information they already have? Customer feedback is a gift, not a right. Don’t squander that gift by asking superfluous questions. At best it’s a missed opportunity – at worst it’s offensive.

So why does this happen? To be fair, the likely reason is that the people administering the survey simply can’t muster the engineering resources required to build a survey that is deeply integrated with existing customer data. As a result they fall back on a hodgepodge of antiquated tools that makes correlation to customer data virtually impossible. While unfortunate, that’s no excuse! Customers don’t care about office politics or the deficiencies of your tools. That’s your problem.

The easiest way to avoid this sort of mistake, is to move away from hand-crafted surveys, and incorporate a modern customer feedback product into your arsenal. These allow you to attach any amount of customer data to surveys upfront, so you’re not hoisting the responsibility onto your customers. Even better, the best products allow you to deliver surveys directly from the place where your customer data lives, by integrating with CRM tools like Salesforce, or payment processors like Stripe.

Respecting your customers’ time is the key to running effective customer feedback programs. Removing superfluous survey questions leads to increased completion rates, happier customers, and higher quality feedback.

What’s the secret to growing your business 240%?

Silvercar is a premium rental car service operating in 15 markets in the United States. We spoke with them about how they got started, lessons learned along the way and how Delighted has contributed to their growth.

Silvercar was founded in 2012 when the founders got stuck renting a white minivan for a golf weekend. They realized there was an opportunity to remove the hassles of the typical car rental experience so they created a premium car rental experience with silver Audi A4 cars and other amenities. “It’s not just about renting a car and having the process not suck,” says Allen Darnell, chief technology officer at Silvercar. “It’s about how we use technology to fix that process and deliver a great experience.”

Delighted is one of the technologies that has spurred Silvercar’s growth because of the immediate access to actionable customer feedback. This allows the Silvercar team to connect with customers, address pain points, share best practices across all locations, and constantly improve.

Read the case study to see how Delighted helps Silvercar continually increase customer loyalty as the company grows, drive industry change, and maintain an NPS of 80–85.

4 case studies to prove the value of Net Promoter Score

Many organizations that are new to Net Promoter Score® and are considering putting a program in place want to understand how such a simple question can lead to real business results. They want to know if promoters really help them grow and are loyal to the brand. There are countless reasons why listening to customers and improving based on their feedback is important, but when it gets down to it, does improving NPS lead to more repeat customers, more referrals, and overall growth? We’ve put together 4 case studies, from companies of different sizes and industries and their results with NPS.

NPS boosts American Express shareholder value

In 2005, American Express needed a customer service overhaul. When Jim Bush began as Managing Director he felt a more interactive conversation with customers would be a game changer, so he tested his hypothesis by transforming customer conversations with call center operatives from structured and often hurried experiences into relaxed and engaging experiences. While his competitors maintained their transaction-oriented customer service, Jim implemented conversational customer service and began to appraise service reps with NPS. Acting on the insights received from NPS led to increased revenue with increased customer spending and reduced customer churn.

In a 2012 interview with Fortune magazine, Bush noted that spending by promoters who are fiercely loyal to the American Express brand went up by 10–15% and customer retention increased four to five times. “We’ve been able to show that increased satisfaction drives increased engagement with American Express products, and that drives shareholder value. Great service is great business.” In 2012, American Express had an NPS of 43 and between 2012 and 2015 American Express grew their NPS by 16 points.

Airbnb connects higher NPS to more referrals and rebookings

Worldwide accommodations leader, Airbnb started using NPS towards the end of 2013. Airbnb wanted to see how Net Promoter Score could add value to their feedback program and establish if there really was a link between NPS score and the likelihood that the guest would return to book another stay, tell family and friends about the unique service, and resist attractive deals and offers from the competition.

The research involved feedback from 600,000 guests who booked a stay with Airbnb between January and April of 2014. Two-thirds of guests, who submitted feedback were promoters – over 300,000 of them awarded Airbnb a score of 10 and just 2% of guests were detractors.

Airbnb found that guests who were promoters were statistically more likely to both book another stay and refer a friend or family member (via their invite a friend feature). Interestingly they also discovered that while a guest may not have been satisfied with a particular stay, 26% were still promoters of Airbnb, reinforcing the need to go beyond just CSAT on a per transaction or booking level.

British Gas Services reports 30% growth per year

A few years ago, British Gas Services (BGS) had issues with its home heating installation unit. The leading gas supplier in the United Kingdom had the goal of making this business unit profitable as it was losing money. BGS introduced NPS and drove the process by instituting a thorough feedback process, which involved a daily NPS rating for each individual installer and sales adviser in all of its 75 districts. The results? Their NPS increased to 75 in just two years (from a baseline of an NPS of 45). In addition, customer complaints were reduced by 75%, bad debts went down more than 90%, profit margins improved greatly, and the service grew 30%. As of 2015 British Gas Services had an NPS of 70.

Temkin Group research on customer loyalty and NPS

In 2016 the Temkin Group published research that found a strong link between NPS and customer loyalty. After analyzing 291 companies in 20 industries such as – grocery, delivery services, health, finance, fast food, technology – the study established the long held value of NPS. The research showed that promoters are a business’ greatest asset and are:

  • Likely to recommend an organization to at least 3.5 people
  • 5 times more likely to purchase more goods or services
  • 7 times more likely to forgive brands for errors
  • 9 times more likely to try new product offers from businesses they love

NPS helps businesses make smart, informed decisions. However, as we’ve stated before, NPS is just a calculation of how you are doing today in the minds of customers. The key to NPS success starts with ensuring that everyone in your company has access to customer feedback, you implement processes to address customer feedback, and you continually close the loop with your customers to let them know how you have implemented their feedback.

Sign up for our free 7 day trial to start your own NPS program. Your success story is just a click away!

4 ways Net Promoter Score can boost your business

We started Delighted just over 3 years ago and we’ve seen growing interest in Net Promoter Score® (NPS). The interest has ranged from those who are very familiar with the methodology to those who are looking to build a business case to start using it, to those that have no familiarity with NPS at all. Even though NPS has been around for over 10 years, there is still a limited amount of helpful information on how to get started with NPS. We decided to create a primer and provide examples of how the NPS methodology can help any type and size of business.

What is Net Promoter Score and how does NPS work?

NPS is used to measure customer loyalty, a critical metric for business success. Bain & Company introduced NPS in 2003. It’s become widely accepted since then, with businesses using it as a standard for tracking customer loyalty and satisfaction. NPS helps you measure customer loyalty by asking a simple question:

How likely is it that you would recommend Company X/Product Y/Service Z to a friend or colleague?

Customers leave a score from 0 to 10. Based on the score they provide they are bucketed into three groups: promoters, passives and detractors. Promoters are customers that give a 9 or 10 score, passives a score of 7 or 8, and detractors a score of 0 to 6.

In addition to the rating question, the NPS asks a follow up question where customers share the reason for their score, in their own words. It is this open ended feedback that represents the voice of the customer and provides invaluable feedback for any business.

A bit about the three groupings: promoters, passives, and detractors. Promoters are fiercely loyal to a brand and willingly recommend it to friends and family. Passives have neutral feelings or experiences with a brand. They’re not likely to harm a business with negative word-of-mouth, nor are they likely to recommend the business. They’re just unenthusiastic and may switch to a competitor who offers something new or more interesting. Detractors are not happy with the company and are likely to share their negative experience online and with friends and family.

Once you have collected responses from your customers you are ready to calculate your NPS. The NPS calculation is simple – you subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. NPS scores differ from industry to industry but generally speaking a score of 50 or higher is a good score.

NPS fuels business growth

Implementing NPS across your customer base ensures your team gets a varied and steady flow of feedback – both positive and negative. Positive recommendations are crucial to growing your business. In the original Net Promoter study, Fred Reichheld found that the response to the “willingness to recommend question” had the strongest link to customer behaviors that boost repeat purchases or referrals. Word of mouth from your best customers (i.e. promoters) have a powerful influence on purchasing decisions. In 2011, Harvard Business review reported that a referred customer is 18 percent more loyal than a customer acquired through other channels; a referred customer also generates 16 percent more in profits.

An NPS program will help you identify your promoters whom you can connect with using a variety of marketing programs. Your promoters can create a ‘referral engine’ for your business by recommending your business to their family and friends, thereby bringing new customers to your business with a stronger sense of loyalty at a lower cost of acquisition. Conversely an NPS program will help you identify your detractors and give you the opportunity to turn them into passives (which is a worthwhile effort because they are less likely to damage your brand) or promoters (which is the ideal scenario because they are ambassadors for your business).

NPS delivers valuable, unfiltered customer feedback

In terms of customer feedback, long, complicated surveys typically don’t accomplish much. In Scoring Success, a paper by David Whitlark and Gary Rhoads, the professors discuss the benefits of including open-ended questions so respondents can freely express their opinion of your business. The open ended follow up after the initial scoring question is key to the success of an NPS program. Customers are empowered to speak their mind, and it’s these comments that allow you to improve your business processes in order to continue to build loyalty amongst your customers.

In 2013 Munchery, a food delivery service, underwent one of the riskiest processes for any business: a complete overhaul of its brand. Using NPS, Munchery monitored the reaction to the changes in real time. Based on customer feedback, Munchery decided to move to biodegradable packaging. The feedback helped ensure the re-brand was smooth and integrated the feedback customers had been sharing.

NPS can improve your product development process

Used correctly, customer feedback can have a tremendously positive impact on your product development process. In many organizations, product development teams are not exposed to direct customer feedback – the feedback is either sanitized or summarized by another department before it reaches the development team, or worse, the feedback never even makes it to the product team. By implementing insights gleaned from NPS, you will uncover opportunities for new features, changes to your policies, deeper understanding of how your product impacts customers, and help your team better empathize with your customers. Every company wants to be customer focused and NPS provides a reliable way to actually be customer focused day in and day out.

NPS offers practical business insights to improve customer experience

In 2006 Phillips, the global electronics manufacturer, started using NPS. Soon enough, Phillips discovered the need to have support for customers on weekends. The team found a way to offer support on the weekends and customers have been thrilled.

While Phillips has been using NPS for over a decade, Tuft & Needle, whose mattress is rated five stars on Amazon, started using NPS more recently. Started in 2013, Tuft & Needle was inspired by a poor mattress buying experience, and the founders wanted to ensure that their customers had a dramatically better experience. Tuft & Needle was receiving feedback that the mattress setup process was good, but not great. The team was able to discover that customers were opening the mattress boxes in their living room – where there’s space – and then moving the mattress to the bedroom. So Tuft & Needle added strong handles to the mattress sides and also added more information to let customers know they should open the box in their bedroom.

Whether you’ve been using NPS for years, or are new to NPS, both these examples illustrate that companies of all sizes, and in all industries, can use the NPS methodology to improve internal processes and create an experience that customers love.

There’s no point to NPS without action

While NPS delivers valuable feedback, your business must be committed to act on the feedback. NPS has the power to deliver great insights, but there’s no point to the insight without action. A Bain study discovered that organizations that deliver consistent customer value grow at more than twice the rate of the competition.

If you don’t yet have an NPS program sign up for our 7 day free trial. If you’re new to NPS start small. Begin by launching NPS in one department. This way you won’t become overwhelmed with feedback, or overwhelmed by any changes in your processes that may be required to address the feedback. Once you have seen initial success it will be easy to use NPS to make an impact across your organization.

Introducing Web and SMS – two new ways to gather feedback with Delighted

We started Delighted to help businesses deliver great experiences based on feedback. Customers want to share their experiences with businesses, and in turn, businesses want to use customer feedback to improve. Before we started Delighted we noticed a problem; the feedback experience was often frustrating – poorly timed surveys that were far too long, contained irrelevant questions and were hard to use on mobile devices. We wanted to fix this, so we set out to create the best possible experience for providing feedback.

We focused on email first. Businesses like Uber, Bonobos, Blue Bottle Coffee, Slack, Cisco, HotelTonight and countless others use Delighted, delivered via email, to gather actionable feedback from their customers.

But email is just one of many ways businesses and their customers connect and communicate. And we want to ensure that sharing feedback can happen anywhere and anytime.

That’s why today we are launching Web and SMS – allowing you to gather feedback directly on your website and from customers instantly via text message. Now, you can gather feedback across the three major platforms of email, web, and SMS all within a single, unified, easy to use product.

Let’s dig in to each new experience:

Delighted Web makes it simple and easy to gather feedback directly on your website or in your web application. You can gather feedback from visitors even if you don’t know their email address, opening up a whole new group of customers and potential customers who can now share feedback about their experience. With Delighted Web setup is easy, with a simple JS snippet you add to your page, and you’ll be collecting feedback immediately. Plus you can rest assured that folks won’t be over surveyed with our Adaptive Sampling and Throttling features. Whether you’re a B2B SaaS company that wants to gather feedback from everyone inside your product, or an ecommerce site that wants to gather feedback at the end of the buying process Delighted Web can help.

Delighted SMS is the instant way to gather feedback. If you already communicate with customers via SMS it’s the perfect fit. Plus it works across all mobile devices – from flip phones to smart phones. It’s tailor built for SMS with a conversational experience so customers simply reply with their score and then share their feedback; emojis and all. And we’ve created Smart Scheduling so you won’t be accidentally annoying customers at 2am by buzzing their phone with a request for feedback (we automatically schedule the texts to send during the day).

Delighted Web and SMS are available right now, all you need to do is sign up or sign in to your account and click “Survey people”. Pricing is simple, and we offer plans for either a single or all three platforms and usage is based on how many people you survey each month, just as it has been with Email.

We’re excited to launch these new experiences for gathering feedback and can’t wait to hear how you’re using them. Sign up for your free trial today!

Good or familiar?

As creators we are surrounded by work that influences how we perceive our own: admired work of respected peers, work aligned with current trends, or simply well-executed instances of well-worn patterns. But the work around us has gravity, and it pulls us towards similar solutions, and clouds our ability to assess our work on the basis of its own merit.

Creators don’t set out to emulate, but they can drift towards familiar and recognizable options in the vast sea of possibility. The familiar is comforting. When we successfully emulate aspects of work around us, however inadvertently, our minds fool us into thinking we’ve created something good, when in fact we’ve simply created something familiar. It feels correct. We’re lulled into accepting the recognizable.

But this is when we should push further.

It’s a lonely and scary place to be, creating something new. There’s nothing with which to compare the work – no shelter of the familiar. But this untethered feeling precedes breakthrough. New work by definition won’t be familiar. It demands a leap of faith. No great work came from someone playing it safe.

Join us

We believe small teams can accomplish great things. We’ve focused on building Delighted with a concentrated and efficient team. Since day one, we’ve been a team of three. Now we’re ready to add a fourth member.

We’re looking for the right person to help accelerate our engineering efforts and make Delighted even more useful for our customers.

If you’re looking to do your best work on a team dedicated to great customer experiences we’d love to chat.

Read more

Thanks,
The Delighted Team

We’ve launched

Delighted is out of private beta and officially open to the public!

We’ve spent the last year working closely with customers like Design Within Reach, Bonobos, Eventbrite, Goodreads, TaskRabbit, HotelTonight, Munchery, and many more, to create an extraordinarily useful tool.

Delighted is built around the simple truth that great products come from companies who deeply understand their customers. We want to help companies form that level of understanding, and use it to make great decisions every single day.

If you’re already a Delighted customer, we’d be grateful if you’d tell anyone you think we could help. If not, it’s a great time to give Delighted a try.

Thanks,
The Delighted Team

Perks

These days it’s common practice for tech employers to tout lavish perks in their recruiting efforts. A top spec Mac, huge displays, free drinks, snacks, laundry services, in-house barista, etc. You name it. It’s all been done.

As supplementary support for people doing extraordinary work, these things can be very helpful. But when perks become the primary focus of recruiting and retention discussions, that may be a sign you’re lacking the environment great talent is actually seeking out.

Great talent isn’t looking for free snacks. They’re looking for meaningful work, clearly defined (and matching) values, brilliant peers, and an environment where they can do the best work of their lives. They want to be operating at their highest level of performance possible, free from distraction and friction.

The right environment reduces friction.

While perks can alleviate the very top level of friction, the deeper sources of friction are much more debilitating. Things like fuzzy goals, conflicting values and directives, picking up the slack for poor performing peers, and distracting office politics. No amount of perks can make these tolerable. Furthermore, if you do manage to land a great candidate, you’re not likely to retain them for long in this sort of environment.

Finding great talent is hard. And while many great companies offer impressive perks, the causation must not be confused. Offering perks isn’t a shortcut to attracting great talent, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg.

Rules

Businesses often create frustrating rules when customers behave in unexpected ways. Here are a couple examples:

It goes like this: The business feels pain from an unanticipated customer behavior. But instead of taking responsibility – addressing the mismatch on their end – they pass the pain down to the customer by way of a rule. Often expressed in a contemptible manner, these rules preemptively scold all future customers regardless of whether or not they exhibit the offending behavior.

They create friction.

The best businesses aim to eliminate friction. They set aside blame, and seek to go with the grain, creating a path of minimal resistance for customers. They believe that their customers shouldn’t be subjected to the complexities of merchant account fees, or how laundry is sorted behind the scenes of a hotel.

Great businesses realize that frustrating rules are merely band-aid solutions for localized problems. They often only apply to a small group, yet chip away at the integrity of the overall experience for everyone. In short, these frustrating rules benefit the business at the expense of customers.

The team is the product

Every product is a reflection of the team behind it. Just as user interfaces are the conduit between humans and the functionality of products, products are the conduit between customers and the team of people solving a particular problem.

There are no good or bad products, only good or bad teams making products. The product is an extension of the team. Each delightful detail or frustrating interaction is the direct result of decisions made by the team.

The age of shrink-wrapped software is over. It used to be that when a product did what the customer wanted, they could use it unchanged, indefinitely. The point of view of the team behind the product mattered very little. If the shoe fit, you wore it.

But these days, software products are living, evolving organisms. Now, the customer rides shotgun on the road trip of a product’s development. This shifts the focus away from the present state of the product, and towards future iterations. Where will the team take the product next? How will they make the hard prioritization decisions? Will core workflows change? Customers are at the mercy of the team.

Customers are no longer buying static products, they are buying into the point of view and values of the team behind it. They now must trust that the team deeply understands the problem at hand, and will not leave them high and dry with unexpected curve balls and poor prioritization. The line between product and team is blurring, and now, more than ever, the quality of the team is just as important as the quality of the product.

Care

Truly great products and experiences come from people who care. It’s that simple.

When people don’t care, it’s evident. Products are confused and lack a point of view. Customer service representatives are more interested in going home than helping you. Good enough, becomes good enough.

You must push beyond what’s considered a rational amount of effort or time if you intend to make something great. This comes at great emotional and monetary expense. But money alone is not enough. Money won’t magically motivate people to care about making something great. Caring can’t be bought.

People who care are a scarce resource. This is commonly why the largest companies in the world often struggle to create great things, even when they have deep pockets, global reach, and well-paid teams. The people who care, ultimately leave to work with others who care as much as they do.

Creating something great requires that you surround yourself with people who will do whatever it takes to get it right. It’s an obsession, and it’s fueled by caring. Finding these people is hard, but they are supremely worth it. When people who care attack a problem, magical things tend to happen.

The right way

There’s no shortage of advice on how to build a company. With so many pitfalls and challenges, it’s tempting to seek out the “right” way. When advice comes from someone with some form of success, it’s easy to assume their advice must be right.

The truth is, good advice can be the wrong advice for your company. More specifically, the right way depends entirely on the type of company you are building.

What does success look like for you? What do you value? What are you good at? What do you want to be doing on a daily basis? What impact are you looking to make? How long do you have to get there?

The answers to these questions are different for everyone. Yet they are the key to understanding if a given piece of advice is one you should heed or disregard. Just because it’s worked for someone else before doesn’t mean it will square with your values and goals for the company.

When you know who you want to be as a company, you’ll be in a much better position to select advice that gets you where you’re trying to go. Follow someone else’s map, and you may not like the destination.

Simple

There’s a little sandwich shop in Palo Alto, CA called Simply Sandwiches. We like their sandwiches and what they stand for.

The shop is postage stamp tiny and is run by a husband and wife. They’re open four hours a day, Monday through Friday. They’re closed weekends. They do one thing – sell sandwiches at lunch time.

A basic sandwich is $5. You can get a fancier one (with things like bacon or avocado) for $6.65. No salads, no wraps, no hot dishes. Only items you can fit in a small paper lunch bag.

They lovingly prepare every sandwich – one at a time. Every weekday, at lunchtime, there is a line out the door.

They’ve been around for 28 years, they’ve sold over 750,000 sandwiches, and are smiling every time we see them. They know who they are.

Low-hanging fruit

Low-hanging fruit is a phrase tossed around in meetings when someone wants to do something they believe to be obviously high leverage.

The problem is, the use of this phrase is an insidious method of concealing two critical assumptions: that the best solution to the problem is obvious, and that it will be quick to implement. Neither of which are necessarily true. It’s a trick. A trick that not-so-subtly disrespects the process of building something great.

Building great things is hard, and there’s always a certain level of diligence required to unearth the optimal solution. It’s intellectually dishonest to label something as low-hanging fruit with the intent of short circuiting the typical rigor you’d bring to bear on solving a problem.

There are no shortcuts along the path to great things. If you want something great, you must be willing to explore the paths others lacked the will to travel.

Pursue perfection

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

— Voltaire

It has become fashionable to deem perfection a dirty word. The argument goes, if you strive for perfection you’ll never ship anything. But like all platitudes, the truth is much more nuanced.

Move one rung down from perfection on the quality ladder and you find “good enough”. “Good enough” sets a quality bar, and a quality bar quickly becomes a quality ceiling. Over time, doing anything above the bar is considered “a waste of time”. It’s easy to see how this mindset spirals into mediocrity.

If you really want to do something great, aim to do it the best. Every time. Anything less, and the gravity of familiarity and compromise drag it into the realm of sameness.

Shooting for perfection has the funny consequence of causing you to continually improve each micro decision. Compromises that would typically be allowed, that drag an experience from stellar to average, are not tolerated. Everyone on the team is focused on doing their best work and can’t imagine letting the team down by giving anything less.

Perfection isn’t an end-state, but an ideal. An ideal that inspires continual improvement by posing the question, “How can this be better?”. An ideal we believe is worth pursuing.

Bloat

We’ve all heard the advice to simplify, simplify, simplify. Yet, many products are bloated and confused. Why does this happen? What’s the disconnect between the stated goal of a streamlined product and the reality of overstuffing it?

In a word, fear. The team is afraid of what might happen if they don’t offer X or Y. This leads to rationalizing the bloat.

Teams that don’t understand who they’re building for, and why, are prone to make bloated products. They can always imagine situations where someone might need a given option. Each possible product choice becomes a lengthy debate, and inevitably they cave to adding more. They can’t make the trade-offs.

It feels safer to keep as many options as possible; more options, they reason, equal more chances to be happy. Unfortunately this dilutes an otherwise good product. It foists all those additional options onto the customer, who ends up doing the hard work of editing the product for themselves.

It’s one thing to say you want a simple, uncluttered product and something entirely different to actually make one. When a team understands who they’re building for, they have a much better chance of delivering on that goal.

The choice to leave out an option is never an easy one to make, but it’s easier if your team shares common values. And what’s more, it’s your job. You need to make the hard choices for your customers. They’ll thank you for it.

Brick walls

“The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

— Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

When creating a product, you’ll likely encounter obstacles that require an extraordinary amount of time, energy, or tenacity to overcome. When you truly understand the problem and know the game you’re playing, these can be opportunities in disguise.

Obstacles are a chance to gain a meaningful advantage over those who yield to them. Companies that lack strong priorities can’t separate the obstacles that are worth overcoming, from those that aren’t. They’ll say “It can’t be done,” when what they actually mean is “We’re not sure it’s worth it.”

Choose your battles carefully, then embrace them wholeheartedly.

The compromise trap

Compromise is a widely used method of reaching consensus around two differing viewpoints. But in a design process, compromise between stakeholders when defining intentions almost always results in a suboptimal user experience.

Playing tug-of-war with design intentions will ultimately result in solutions that are neither here nor there. Splitting the difference is a trap.

The best way to avoid a compromised design is to commit to an intention and see it all the way through, even if there are hesitations amongst team members. If you find the intention was wrong, try the other one. Never mix intentions. Not only will this result in a much more appropriate design, but you’ll also have a much clearer idea as to why. And in design, learning is king.

Understand the problem

Design is about solving problems. And great design solves problems elegantly – utilizing as few, highly leveraged elements as possible.

The catch is, for everything you keep, there are far more things you must give up. You can’t have it all. Trade offs must be made, and embedded in each is a choice. A choice about something being more important than something else. So, how do you know what’s important and what isn’t?

You must understand the problem. Deeply and completely. Who is this for? Why do they need it? How are they doing this today? What can’t they live without? This is where the most amount of energy and time should be spent, yet this is where assumptions and dogma tend to trump exploration and deconstruction.

Glossing over this part of the process is dangerous. You’ll build on a foundation of assumptions. This leads to solutions that, while possibly well executed, miss the mark. In contrast, when you dig deep and break down the problem to its most essential, you can then build from bedrock. And build what’s actually necessary. All your energy is focused on improving the small set of things that actually matter. Creating the opportunity for an experience that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s no surprise elegant designs are often simple. When you deeply understand the problem you build what is absolutely critical. It turns out, what’s critical is often quite a small set of things.

Start with values

Enduring companies are capable of adapting to a changing external environment. We believe this capacity, to excel through continuous change, is rooted in a deep base of shared values.

Many interesting companies come and go either because the market opportunity evaporated, the team dynamic broke down, or the technology matured into a commodity.

Values are timeless. They are the bedrock of a company and don’t change even when everything else does.

We founded Delighted because of the values we share. They are the starting point for everything we do – from the products we build, to the people we hire, to the customers we seek out. Everything is shaped by our shared values.

Play your own game

It’s commonplace for companies to use sports strategy and metaphor when discussing competitors. Some think of competitors in the gladiatorial sense – an opponent they must destroy in order to win the customer. Such zero-sum thinking is common. Competition in sports is well understood – someone wins and someone loses. It’s simple and satisfying.

However, this framing leads to the false belief that in business there is a sole winner and that winning requires being stronger, faster, and better than a competitor. But business isn’t like sports at all. There is no single winner. Only companies that are attracting customers and making them happy and those that are not.

There’s no limit on the number of companies that can be successful, because there isn’t a universal definition of success. Some companies strive for the lowest prices, others to provide the most jobs, some to be the most efficient, and some strive for the highest possible quality. There are endless possible combinations. And that is a great thing to be celebrated.

A company needn’t model its behavior on what other companies do, because it doesn’t have to attract the same customers or value the same things. It isn’t as simple as declaring an enemy and beating them.

At Delighted we believe our passion for great design and empathetic software will attract those that share our passion, allowing us to serve them long into the future. We don’t particularly care what others choose to do, because we know the game we are playing – and we quite enjoy it.

Introducing Delighted

Every customer has a unique experience, but only a small fraction of those stories have the chance to be shared, and fewer still are heard. We want to change that.

Delighted is a new company that helps businesses connect with their customers – to learn, improve, and delight. We know the profound effects of asking customers to share their experiences, their frustrations, and their wishes. We are building thoughtful tools to help businesses get closer to their customers.

We believe businesses deserve great products and experiences. We believe everyone wants to be heard. We believe companies who truly listen will win.

Thanks, Caleb, Mark & Mike