What a Hairdresser can Teach You About Designing to Delight

Delight is increasingly becoming one of those rarely experienced customer emotions. And yet delight is one of the best triggers for active, positive word-of-mouth marketing.

So what is going on?

What is Delight?

It appears that novelty is being confused with delight. By novelty I mean entertaining, creating wonder and amusement, like those websites where the buttons and menu items are hidden in an animated design on the page so it becomes a game to see if you can work out how to contact the business. Great fun the first time you see it and highly likely to be inconvenient every other time you go to the website.

Surprisingly, delight, it turns out is mostly experienced in easily identifiable situations.

Usability Professional, Giles Colborne found that for many people a delightful customer experience came about when the person first experienced anxiety or stress which was then resolved almost effortlessly for them.

An example that Giles used to explain how we can identify opportunities to delight (during his presentation at UPA 2010) was told to him by his hairdresser.

His hairdresser described to him his experience of booking a flight with EasyJet through the company's website. Just as he clicked on the "Buy" button something went horribly wrong and resulted in him ending up with 2 tickets instead of just the one ticket he intended purchasing.

Angered by what had happened he rang EasyJet ready for a showdown and rather than having to argue and fight with the Customer Support person was told "No problem. One of your tickets cost more than the other. I'll refund you the more expensive one." Obviously he was delighted, saying "That's the best Customer Service I've ever had!"

In addition to Giles recounting this story, he also explained that during the hairdressers telling of his story, Giles recognised genuine pleasure and enthusiasm in his hairdressers demeanour; seeing his eyes brighten, him smiling a lot and becoming very animated.

A memorable testimonial and recommendation for EasyJet from a delighted customer/raving fan.

How to Design for Delight

To create delight for your customers you must first find the points of pain - where stress and anxiety can occur.

You are looking to find points in your processes and systems where things can breakdown, as well as for situtations where misunderstandings can occur.

An example of when a misunderstanding may occur is when you click on a print button and sit waiting, expecting something to print straight away when instead you get a new web browser window that opens with a Print Friendly version.

In this situation nothing is actually broken, the customer may just be expecting a different outcome and so experiences anxiety.

Once you've worked out where anxiety could occur, you devise suitable solutions. By devise I mean to plan out and design what you're going to do at these pain points and how you're going to do it.

Your solutions could be as simple as adding an extra bit of instruction on what to do or you may choose to change a process and system all together so the anxiety doesn't occur.

Whatever you choose to do, consider how much extra effort you're asking your customers to put in and keep it to as little as possible. Because for delight to be experienced, the way you solve their problem has to seem effortless for your customers.

To sum up -

Anxiety + Effortless Resolution = Delight

And you want delight because -

Delight = Raving Fans = Word-of-Mouth Marketing

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