Neon sign of a hand capturing a diamond representing the brilliant basics

Earn the right to excite and delight

Here’s the cold hard truth: Your customers don’t set out to become raving fans of your business.

They didn’t wake up this morning thinking they need a more personal and emotional connection with a brand. They just want to get on with their day, and ideally make it better than yesterday.

Businesses are told they should “excite and delight” their customers.

Too often, they interpret this to mean the equivalent of fireworks and a marching band, encased in fancy tech. Digital transformation! All-in-one apps! $20m ad campaign thanking customers!

They jump straight to the fun stuff without working on the boring basics first: the foundations of good solid operations, communication, collaboration, breaking down silos, culture change - the really valuable work.

Services that don’t serve anyone

Largely, my job is explaining to business leaders that their processes, systems or services don’t work that well for customers and that this is where a lot of our improvements are focussed. It’s the boring bit for businesses, but actually, the exciting part for customers is when they receive a seamless omnichannel experience.

Repair before renovate

It’s similar to when you want to renovate your house to make it the best on the street. You have visions of the stunning entertaining deck; the gleaming kitchen, the swimming pool. When actually you need to first fix the dry rot, change the plumbing to get rid of the damp under the house, and spend much more of your budget than you hoped for on repairing your old roof first.

What you want vs what they want

Any successful business will tell you that their aim is to create and keep happy customers. But often the importance of the brilliant basics is overlooked.

Most businesses don’t want boring. They want to use their CX to stand out and create an extraordinary experience as part of their brand differentiation.

They want to feature as a success story in the annual conference or industry publication as having the most spectacular customer service, or the most cutting-edge technology. It’s cool, it’s visionary - it gets attention.

But that’s what the business wants, not necessarily what the customer wants.

So what does the customer want?

Well, we can’t answer that in one blog, because it’s hugely complex, and varies at each point in their customer journey and from one customer segment to another.

But, in general, customers want damn good service that makes their life easier. They want it to work. They want to get what they’ve bought in a timely and efficient way.

Their version of “delight” is a product or service that works, every time. It’s a warm smile from the rep who has all their details and can solve their problem on the spot. It’s being guided through setting up a new account in a way that’s easy and welcoming. It’s receiving a bill that is correct and easy to understand.

If they’re frustrated about your service levels, then no amount of advertising, experiential marketing or social media influencing will make them love you. This will only aggravate their pain – “Why are they telling me how important I am to them through aggressive marketing when they can’t get the basics right.”

You need to get back to basics. The brilliant basics. No fireworks: just damn good customer service. And then you’ve earned the right to excite. Get the must-haves right, then perform well, and then delight.

What do you think? Can a brand invest in excite and delight before they’ve embedded solid good service? Comment, email us on or call us on 02 8001 6119.

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