Make a delightful day for your users

Users will forget what you say.  Users will forget what you do.  Users will remember how they feel.

So design a beautiful day for your customers.  Make it a memorable day.

Many businesses present a boring, me-too face.  Some start-ups go overboard and swamp a useful app with delightful funkiness.  Neither is likely to create real delight in your users.

All that matters is what happens when the clicking is done.  Design for the post UX UX.  What will they do?  What will they say.

Give them a delightful story about you that they will tell all their social media buddies, and maybe even real people.

If you delight your users then you can avoid the feature set war.  Users will remember how they feel after using your app more than recalling every single feature.

Surprise them.  Delighting customers is hard.  You can only delight someone when what they get far exceeds what they were expecting.  You actually have to surprise them.  The better you are, the more awesome customers expect you to be.  The harder it will be to delight them.  The higher their anticipation will be.

Since delighting customers gets harder and harder you have to be relentless.  Focused on improving.  You need to have ‘really good’ on your radar.

It helps to know someone or something that is the epitome of awesome.  They will help give you a target of where you want to be.  And if you are lucky even mentor you.  And you need the ability to push forward.

Random acts of kindness.  Sometimes delighting customers can be like dieting or exercising or giving up smoking.  You have the best intentions but fall short of your goals and fail to deliver.  No problem.  Just commit yourself to a short, quick-fire delight campaign.  Experiences are more delightful when unexpected, anyway.

Be grounded.  Delight is ephemeral.  It will fade.  You constantly need to be creating more, new and different kinds of delight.  It is hard work.  Well rewarded.

Delight brainstorming:

When was the last time you used an app or visited a website and smiled.  Or got an email back from someone that made you think ‘Wow.  That was so kind of you to do that, thank you!’  What happened that triggered your delight?

Easter eggs are tasty.  Ever searched google for Or one of their ‘special day’ google doodles.

Things of beauty delight me.  The techie in me is delighted by simple, clean HTML markup and beautiful CSS styling.  Some websites are souless creatures.  I am delighted when I see something that a developer has poured some heart into, as well as a the usual double serving of blood, sweat and maybe even tears.

Use a bit of humor.  Twitter’s infamous fail whale.  What if every now and then you switch your apps localization bundle from ‘English (US)’ to ‘Pirate (Caribbean, circa 1650)’.

What they want plus’.  In most negotiating situations someone will ask for something, and then the other side offers just a little bit less, for a bit more money.

People are so used to this that you can easily surprise and delight them by giving them what they want plus just a bit more, maybe even an extra, no cost 2 parts magic.

At we often get queries like: “If it costs less than $10 can I have another 512MB of memory on my server.”  And when we can do it we love nothing more than saying “Sure, there was some spare memory on that box, here is another GB, no extra cost.”  We even created the page to automate that.  From the twitter comments we get, even the automated page creates delight.

I bought an iPhone that arrived with a sticky volume button.  For a while I could not live without my apps (how would I know when low tide was?  how could I point my telescope or plan my astro photography sessions?).  I found out that putting fishing sinkers and an iPhone in the same pocket is not a good idea (accident; scratched screen).  I eventually RMA-ed the phone for the sticky volume button.  Apple sent me the prepaid packaging.  I did not even have to walk to a mailbox, just call a courier for a pickup.  Rather than just fix the volume button, I found that the phone was replaced (with a brand new, pristine screen) phone.  I was delighted.

See: I had a problem.  It was resolved effortless, in a way that exceeded my expectations.  I was delighted.

Flip a negative situation.  See how you can take a negative situation (an RMA, or a service problem) and completely flip it around?  Find the bits in your business that cause your users stress and anxiety.  And figure out how to flip that part into something that creates delight.  Make your solution something that seems effortless, personal to the user, and exceeds their expectations.

Radiohead have some insight into another approach.  ‘I wish I was special.’  So does everyone.  Every now and then do something special for a customer.  Something you maybe could not do for everyone, but this one time...  Free t-shirts anyone?

This post follows 2 days of inspiration at the wonderful 2012 Webstock.  It is one of a series that includes:


Image credit: johnmueller

About Peter Bryant

Peter founded RimuHosting in 2003
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