The Key to Great CX? Balancing Delight and Ease

Delight has become a customer experience buzzword. A lot of people think that their customers will stick around if they dazzle them with perks and discounts. By contrast, some experts believe that you should forget about delighting your customers and that the best experience is the easiest one. Neither camp is wrong. We say “Do both!” The best customer experience is both easy and delightful. 

Whether you are Team Delight or Team Low Effort, we don’t think you have to choose. Who says delight and ease must be mutually exclusive? The key to great CX success is to create a balancing act between the two, offering effortless experiences to your customers whilst managing to delight them. Those who get this right are the real CX masters. Every business wants their customers to be happy. Offering effortless experiences is one piece of the puzzle. But adding elements of delight along the customer journey creates the ultimate sticking power. Loyalty improves with the combination of easy experiences and the memorable moments that wow. 

While we advocate for both delight and low effort, you should never go overboard with delight at the expense of convenience. Customer effort is a significant predictor of customer loyalty, so if adding bells and whistles makes any processes slower or less efficient, you should reconsider that strategy as annoyance will likely outweigh delight. Remember that delighting your customers will not make up for a difficult experiential process. Even if moments in their experience were positively memorable if it was a struggle to get to them, customers won’t come back.

At the same time, just because you are delivering seamless customer experiences repeatedly, doesn’t mean your customers won’t leave for a competitor. If you’ve figured out how to make your processes very low effort for your customers, your competitors can too (if they haven’t already). When done right, infusing CX with bits of delight can be a key differentiating factor that keeps your customers coming back. 

The ideal customer experience strikes a seamless balance between delight and effort. How this manifests varies depending on the type of business and where customer expectations lie. Ultimately, a brand needs to deliver on their brand promise, which in the case of a low-cost business offering may not entail moments of delight, but seamless service that requires the customer to exert low effort can also be delightful in and of itself. A luxury brand, however, where expectations are higher, must ensure that to deliver on their brand promise, they need to intertwine moments of delight with seamless, low effort experiences.

Ultimately, delight does not pay the way creating easy experiences does. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t give your customers bonuses that exceed their expectations. An easy way to delight that shouldn’t detract from ease is the introduction of freebies, perks and discounts. Many brands do this well, but these gestures cannot cover up inconveniences in service. Continue to focus on customer effort, but introduce moments delight in unexpected and memorable ways.