The Power of Surprise and Delight


One of our employees recently shared this story: “A couple months before my wedding, I was shopping for a pair of budget-friendly shoes to match my dress. I found a pair on Zappos, but they were $10 more expensive than on Amazon. Via live chat, a support rep agreed to price-match the shoes and congratulated me on my engagement. A few days after receiving my shoes, another box appeared at my doorstep. In it was a plush blanket and a handwritten note wishing my fiancé and me some relaxation time among the stress of wedding planning.”

This is just one of many examples of what’s known as a genuine “surprise and delight” moment.

Surprise and delight is the desired outcome when a representative adds value to a customer’s experience by delivering beyond the usual service. At their best, these gestures are thoughtful, creative, and meaningful for the customer. Most importantly, these moments should be consumer-centric, tailored to meet the unique needs of a specific individual.

Although unique to the customer, one thing successful surprise and delight experiences share is a strong link to the customer service team. It’s essential to bear these factors in mind when incorporating “surprise and delight” into your approach.

Involve your customer support team. Often, surprise and delight strategies will be initiated by the marketing team, but involving the customer support team is key to success! If your frontline team is aware of the core objectives, they’ll be able to identify unique situations that can be transformed into wow moments. Ultimately, delivering great experiences is about understanding your customers and their needs, which is exactly what your engagement team will be doing on each and every interaction. Trust the customer service team to be an active participant in the wider process, identifying and fostering opportunities to surprise and delight.

Be open to the magic. Sometimes it’s not possible to plan authentic surprise and delight moments in advance. Often, their strength is in their spontaneity. Because a surprise and delight opportunity could come from diverse situations, it’s important to stay open to possibilities to go above and beyond for customers, especially in ways that fall outside of your usual remit or service area.

Create spaces to spread the word. In order for a surprise and delight moment to be memorable and authentic, it’s essential that the customer experience is the number-one priority. That said, there is tremendous potential to leverage the positive story in such a way that improves brand loyalty and awareness. In order to capture this feedback in a meaningful way, brands should encourage their community to share their experiences. This could be via brand community forums, social media platforms, brand hashtags, or review sites. Once the feel-good story of surprise and delight reaches a wider audience, the 1:1 interaction develops a 1:many impact.

Surprise and delight has the power to improve someone’s day, which in turn has the potential to increase their brand loyalty for life. Imagine delivering a standard of service whereby every support provider is searching for opportunities to make the ordinary extraordinary. It is within this space where true magic is made.