The Power of Delight

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The Power of Delight

What if we were doing it all wrong?

According to my genius friend and founder of Riddle & Co. (recently acquired by Retargeter), Jeff Riddle, businesses are going about growth all wrong. They spend every waking hour and huge line items in their budgets on customer acquisition. Then, once a prospect becomes a customer, they all but forget about them. The common ethic, in fact, is to do the minimum necessary to keep an existing customer from leaving. That’s where the “sad state of affairs” bar has been set.

How messed up is that?

Not just from a feeling good about what you’re doing and how you’re treating others standpoint, but according to Jeff, it’s horrible for the bottom line, too. Analyzing large volumes of data, he was able to determine that 70-80% of new customers were generated not by formal acquisition and marketing initiatives, but by word of mouth from the 5% of existing customers who were most delighted with the product or service.

Newsflash – when you blow peoples’ minds in unexpected ways on a consistent basis, give them more than they expected and – check this out…actually treat them like you’d want your mom (assuming you love your moms) treated, guess what happens? They can’t shut up about you! And when they tell someone exactly what you’d say in an advertisement, it carries about 1,000% more credibility.

I’ve taken this approach in business over and over, it’s extraordinary how well it works. And how much more fun it is building a business based not just on the drive to acquire, but on the quest to delight. In my recently launched venture, Good Life Project, I have a line-item in my budget for delight. And I have a Director of Delight. Serve, solve and delight, in fact are among the core ethics in the culture I’m helping to cultivate, and it’s also one of the 10 Commandments of Epic Business.

But, here’s the thing, this isn’t just about business, it’s about LIFE! YOUR LIFE!!!

When we look at the key relationships in our lives, we often do the exact same thing. We spend all of our time, energy and money on acquisition, then once we’ve converted someone we shift into “minimum maintenance mode”…and wonder why everything falls apart.

Think about it. When you’re single, you really take care of yourself, you go to the gym, exercise, eat better, dress better, engage in activities that make you come alive. You leave little notes, text sweet messages, create surprise meetups, try things you’d never try in the name of finding new ways to connect, make time for dates, walks, hand holding and more.

You are in full metal relationship acquisition mode and you do everything you can to create the best marketing impression possible.

You start to attract interesting “prospects” and eventually “convert” one to boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, spouse or partner. You keep the same high level of engagement up for a bit, but then what starts to happen? You start to feel a little too secure. You take the relationship for granted. You stop thinking about how to attract and delight that person any more and just work on the assumption that everything’s pretty much locked and loaded.

Except, it isn’t.

Nobody likes being treated like a foregone conclusion.

We thrive on knowing that the person with whom we’ve chosen to dance WANTS us in their lives, thinks about us all the time, loves to be with us, cares about us and loves seeing us delighted. And not because we demand it, but because they light inside at the thought of making us light up inside.

So, what might happen if you respositioned “relationship acquisition” not as an end, but an invitation.

An opportunity to consistently surprise and delight the person with whom you’ve connected? In ways they’d never see coming? Even the smallest ones, just enough to let them know “I’m thinking of you, you matter to me, I appreciate you!”

In business, your marketing, sales and acquisition costs would plummet. In life, the quality, depth and duration of your relationships would take off.

And, rather than spending all your time trying to figure out how to get peoples’ attention, you get to spend your time plotting and scheming ways to blow their minds. And inspiring your teams and tribes to do the same. What do you think would happen to employee turn-over when the single overriding purpose of every person on your team is to serve, solve and delight?

Sounds cool, right?

But what about the habituation situation?

The what?

Habituation. Our stunning ability to absorb good and bad into a new equilibrium.

Picture this…

It’s a Friday night and the spouse brings home flowers unexpectedly. Wow, what a delight.

Same thing next week on cue, how lovely.

Same thing next week, nice color.

Same thing next week, whatevs, put ‘em in a vase.

What began as a delight has been demoted to an expectation.

Human beings have a remarkable ability to habituate both up and down. What elevates us in the beginning becomes baseline over time. So if we’re striving to always delight, doesn’t this create a bit of a hedonic delight treadmill, where we’ve got to keep raising the bar higher and higher to deliver the same hit?

And if so, how do we stop that from happening?

CAN we stop if from happening or do we have to just work with funny little quirk of human nature?

How can we make this all work in business and in life?

As always, I’ve got some thoughts on this, but I’m keen to hear yours, too. Both on grappling with delight habituation and on the whole concept of building substantially more unexpected delight into relationships in business and life.

Share your thoughts in the comments below…

 

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72 responses

72 Responses to “The Power of Delight”

  1. Jonathan~You’re spot-on. I’ve been thinking about some of these very matters – delighting existing clients, tripping up habituation.

    Mail. That’s one way. For the holidays, I wrote on handmade paper a personal note of what each client had given his or her best self during the year; folded and tied the note with string, placed it in a tiny handmade paper box made of seeds; and mailed it.

    I do similar things for my wife and my little girl.
    And for my own best self. I’m off for an in-house 3-day writing retreat right now. Off to take my best self for a walk in the woods.

    Genuine gestures with surprise. Unscripted.

    Being a delight-maker changes everything. I’d love to hear some specifics of what you do.

    • AJ Leon says:

      Jeffrey, I’m absolutely taking a que from you there. Fabulous.

    • Jarod Online says:

      I like this idea. This is a really great way to keep an amazing relationship with your clients going strong. But of course, this isn’t the exact idea I’ll apply. So I’ll jazz it up a little more with maybe colored mail paper, and some soft, warm cologne on it (like beauty magazines do with the new perfumes).

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Love it, J!

      I’m starting to make it a much more deliberate part of both personal and professional lives as well. It’s just sooo much more fun to play on that level.

  2. AJ Leon says:

    Fabulous post, brother. I was just having this conversation this morning with a coffee shop owner in here in England being jerked around by Orange after having been a loyal customer for 17 years! Director of Delight … that is f*cking genius. :)

  3. Jackie says:

    I think the answer lies in flexibility and innovative thinking. Channeling your efforts into the same behaviors doesn’t create any growth in the relationship. Like the flower analogy eventually withering and tossed out in the trash.

    Delivering with consistency while building on each previous touchpoint, can be a tough act to follow. But can be done with a shift off the bottom line and on to the customer’s happiness.

  4. Laura Click says:

    Really love this post and I hope businesses really take this message to heart. You can have the best marketing in the world, but if your service doesn’t deliver, it’s all for nothing.

    I talk about how to “delight and surprise” customers all the time. I think while sometimes it means being unscripted, I think that’s hard for some businesses to scale. So, I encourage clients to think about how they can do something unexpected for their customers four times a year. Then, schedule it in. For instance, I like encouraging clients to think about other occasions outside of Christmas to delight customers. Why not send something a Valentine’s Day?

    I also think the best gestures are those that are completely catered to the client or customer. Have a client who loves golf? Send them a pack of Pro V1s before they go on their next golfing trip. Or, have a customer who keeps referring business your way, send them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.

    It boils down to listening and really paying attention to your clients and doing little things that make a big difference.

  5. Since all of us take on so many different roles and serve so many different types of people (self, spouse, kids, clients, coworkers, teammates, parent) I can see where I’ve delighted in many cases, and fell far short in others.

    These are some excellent reminders, Jonathan (!!)

    Shattering habituation is key. I heard Pat Williams speak about Michael Jordan’s ridiculous work ethic when he was at the top of his game. If the Bulls’ buses were 2 hours late rolling into the hotel, he’d still head down to the gym and work out for 2 hours at 2AM.

    It sounds like the Delight Bar needs to be constantly raised to keep side-stepping people’s habituation.

    LOVE IT.

    We have an infinite capacity to Love and Be Loved. This is another great perspective on how to kick crazy amounts of Love and Service in business, and in our homes. It’s the new standard, and I’m fortunate to work for people who truly believe this. Not only believe this, but have the exponential YOY growth to prove that it’s LEGIT.

    I had a chance to talk with Jeff Riddle for a while last week, and the guy just walks it like he talks it on every level.

    We need to stay in “Full metal relationship acquisition mode”, even with the people we’re in relationships with.

    FULL METAL salute!

    kc

    • Baseline delight: We write hand written thank you notes. How can we scale this during growth? In the words of Danielle Laporte, “I will figure it out.” But I’m still open to suggestions.

      Random acts of delightness: We’ve decided that sometimes when we see people with SOLO Eyewear stickers on their laptops, we’ll randomly go up and talk to them and then give them a pair of SOLOs.

  6. Jonathan love this. So refreshing and delightful.
    The habituation issue is easily solved by mixing things up.
    Send a card one month, a small box of chocolates another time, etc.

    It sort of takes the opposite approach to systematizing everything in business, but nothing is delightful in robogenerated appreciation.

    Being human takes time, energy and creativity. That will be what separates the businesses that grind out going through the motions and those that really make a difference and a splash.

  7. Laura says:

    I agree with everything here
    And I think you not only need to put time and effort into taking care of the people who matter in your life but also time and effort into being creative about how you do it.
    We all appreciate that little bit of extra effort and I think it shows when it is real caring and not caring for the idea of personal gain. This is something that has to do with genuine love and interest. Working a little on ourselves. And yes, we need to delight ourselves as well because if we are happy we are more “delightful” to be with and to work with!
    This is a really great conversation by the way, thank you Jonathan and everyone else!

  8. Jonathan,
    I love this post! I am a milliner/ hat designer specializing in custom hats so I work closely with my clients collaborating on a design that suits their uniqueness. My policy has always been ‘Guaranteed to Delight You’. This means that the hat doesn’t walk out the door until that is reached. It evolved naturally and then after many clients made the comment ‘I’m delighted’ after seeing their hat, it became my official guarantee. It has worked really well for the 10yrs I have been making custom hats. So I say all of this to add that delighting someone in business (and in life) works! And it is definitely a feel good experience!

    Re: delighting people with marketing….wow…never thought to look at it that way!
    Wow, this makes me think that marketing and selling could actually be fun!
    What comes to mind with the issue of becoming habituated to the delight is that we must strive to stretch ourselves in both personal and business relationships. Stretching keeps us flexible, and flexibility opens us up to more possibilities which means more delightful surprises in our relationships. Think I will follow that advice and stretch to integrate the
    “Guaranteed to Delight’ policy in my marketing and sales.

    Thank you for your post today- it is delightfully insightful!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Denise – First, how cool is it being a milliner? Sounds like a very creative craft! I love the “guaranteed to delight” policy, not only good expression of what marketers cal “risk reversal,” and sets a very different tone for the relationship around the joint pursuit of delight.

  9. David Moore says:

    Jonathan,
    I thought about his issue this weekend. I’ve been dating someone for just over a year now and we are very happy. But I sense / feel the shift between aquisition and retention. I don’t want it to get to that point, but I feel myself getting into that comfort zone. But even when we recognize it, the flow continues to take us down what seems to be an inevitable path. Or is it? Thoughts?

  10. Love it Jonathan! Stop collecting “friends” and start cultivating real “friendship”. This is something I’m working on. I think what you’re really talking about is customer relationship intimacy. Which is the trust and faith that comes from depth of sustained commitment. Such a great reminder to go deep instead of wide. Great words for a Monday.

  11. You are so right on Jonathan. We have such amazing tools available so we can systemize everything, but the point of these efficiences should be to free us up to be more human, more delightful. To spend more time and effort on those things we value most.

    As for habituation, its not so much a challenge to overcome habituation with our clients, but to overcome it in ourselves. In any relationship, business or personal, making time and space to remember why we ‘love’ that person, why we value that relationship so much…it takes a conscious commitment and a willingness to explore new turf together – whether working on a common cause or doing something playful and fun together.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Wow… this is so pertinent to my marriage and my business right now. Brilliant. Thanks, Jonathan!

  13. It is pertinent to all areas of life and being genuine in your appreciation of others is key:)

  14. I love this.
    We absolutely take what we have for granted. Spouses take each other for granted. Family members and friends do the same. And, business take their customers for granted – spending more time hunting down the next conversion than they do building relationships with the people who already know and love them.

    It’s kind of crazy.
    Talk about overlooking the truth of the old “bird in the hand” metaphor!

    I think delight can be delivered in three ways:
    1. Subtle, on-going delight: This kind of delight is woven into the fabric of a brand – it presents itself in the personality of a brand, quirkiness, humor, spreading smiles via content and site experience (or whatever other digital and real world touch points a brand has). This type of delight can be part of an online experience, or a brick-and-mortar one. I adore mailchimp.com for their sense of humor and camaraderie. I love my local coffee shop for their warmth and sense of community. Both bring me delight in subtle, ever present ways.
    2. Here – I got you something delight: Special offers and treats just for customers. Make ‘em feel special. Don’t just tell them how much you value their business – show them. Walk the walk. Put your money where your mouth is.
    3. Whatever you want – you’ve got it. Like Roy Orbison said – that’s what people really want to hear. Every once in a while you get to deliver a delight “spike” – beyond the everyday or even special offer delight – into the stratosphere of giddiness. I always tell the story about how AT&T (who I’ve been with for decades as my mobile provider) wowed me with this kind of delight. I was recently divorced and without a landline – using my mobile for all kind of business and personal calls. Without realizing it, I racked up a $2000+ cell phone bill. Panicked, I called AT&T. You know what – after they understood my situation and looked at how long I’d been a customer, they ATE more than half of that bill. They didn’t have to, but they did. That’s why – even though sometimes their coverage leaves something to be desired – I am still a (raving) AT&T customer.

    Delight – it’s a good thing all around.
    :)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Wow, fantastic story about ATT, I’m thinking you may want to trade an appearance on a commercial for, say, free service for 5 years? lol

      • I’m not sure if AT&T would appreciate it as a gesture of “delighted” good will, or curse me for giving other customers the impression that a sob story will net them some free usage.
        ;)

        Either way – glad you enjoyed it.

  15. Jeff Riddle says:

    Thanks for the shout out Jonathan. Such a great post and much needed!

    I don’t usually address delight habituation because most of the time just getting businesses to focus on delight is hard enough. However, you’re right…delight over time loses it’s luster if not handled correctly.

    Two areas of delight that every company should address:

    1) Baseline Delight

    There should be basic systematic delight built into business practice. These systems are designed to build “trust” in the patrons of the business to always know what they’re getting and that the business is focused on them. Examples: customer service culture, spatial awareness in design, how a product is built… think Apple. We love Apple because we’re always systematically delighted.

    2) Random Acts of Delightness

    Exceeding expectations well beyond anything that the customer would ever consider to happen when dealing with the business. These are the gifts, random thank you notes, Apple Geniuses doing stuff for free when they don’t have to, and Zappos giving overnight shipping “just because”. These are systematic but not a regular part of interactions with the customer and thus don’t become “expected” but rather delight talking points.

    Thoughts?

  16. Matthew says:

    I’ve struggled with this very thing a few times in romantic relationships. One approach that helped me is to consciously note what I do in the beginning of a relationship and then “systematize” it later.

    An example: in the beginning I was great about writing notes and surprising my wife with them. Later on, this happens less and less often. So I make the commitment to writing and hiding a note every single day. Knowing that a note is going to be there every day can make it habitual for my wife, but not knowing where she will find it helps to keep it exciting. And sometimes I can make them really hard and then she will have to actively search and play hot/cold to find it.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Creative. Challenge I guess is to create enough of the sensation of spontaneity to keep it fresh. I wonder, too, whether if the other person knows it’s part of a system of planned random acts, that this knowledge in some way lessens the impact

  17. I absolutely love this Jonathan. It’s amazing how we’re always looking for the “new” thing/person/customer/product/etc… when we can do so much to nurture what we have already. I especially liked the personal relationship analogy with the flowers. Incredibly true!

  18. Jen Gresham says:

    I think what’s also interesting about the habituation is that two things can alter that state. Using your flower example, either the spouse brings a different gift or the receiver has something happen that “wakes them up” (like a near miss or witnessing a tragedy).

    My family and I were recently in Prague together. We were all tired and by the end of the day, I was feeling a bit snippy. Then I had a bad dream, a dream where I lost them, enough to “wake me up” crying. The next morning I showered them with affection and relished our trip up the hill to the cathedral.

    Habituation is a clear curtain we can see through if we choose to.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      great example, Jen. Experiences that wake you up can definitely provide a bit of a gratitude and habituation reset. The challenge is that the impact always fades with time, so we need to find ways to make it more of a daily practice.

  19. What a delightful post! I delight customers by sending unexpected gifts or notes in the mail. Very few people take the time to write an actual thank you note. I found out that one of my customer’s son loves to receive mail, so I sent the product addressed to the son. A week later I sent a follow up note to the boy. I always offer to double orders if a customer is unsatisfied which always turns their anger to delight.

  20. I am loving this concept. I find that the most delightful things for my people are the things that delight me the most, too. What I thought was delightful for me – sending mail – isn’t so much. I still like doing that, but it feels more like work than some of the other fun and goofy things I’m doing.

    For me, play = delight all around.

    Thanks for this!

  21. Treat yo’ clients like yo’ mamma.

    Words to do business by.

    Thanks, Jonathan.

  22. Kevin Keelan says:

    Just listen, shhh just listen…
    you’ll be amazed at what you’ll hear.

  23. Lisa Young says:

    Habituation. The “delight thermostat” is something I’ve spent the last few years measuring and tracking with my clients as well as my team.

    From a team perspective, we began with a goal of consistency over time: doing the necessary actions to achieve goals. In less than a month, our entire team performance average was up over 30% – and it continued to stay consistent over time until about six months in, when habituation reared.

    Taking a cue from our lessons learned, I turned the learning into a new experiment with clients, and in January closed my opt-ins on one of my sites. Essentially put them behind a minimal paywall ($10 one-time optin fee), and raised the bar for delight on an inconsistent basis (as Jeff mentioned above). I fully expected a 50% drop in subscribers due to list attrition, but got nothing of the sort.

    While it’s true, my list growth curbed, my open rates continue to climb, not to mention click thrus and conversions. In short, I’m getting better response from my existing customer base, and growing a list of more qualified clients.

    I half kick myself for not doing this sooner.

    Love this post, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Funny, I’ve been experimenting with similar approaches. And the psychic space it frees up for us to do the things we love to do and serve those who DO say yes makes the whole endeavor so much more fun.

  24. I draw a parallel between what you say about people and organizations, and Nature, which never fails to amaze and delight. Trouble is, too many people take the “hand-written notes” of wonder she’s always handing out and fail to open them. Thanks for stirring so much thought and feeling from so many!

  25. Thank you , Jonathan.

    You and Jeff are spot-on about this….so much so that I wish I could get back every dime I ever spent on actual acquisition advertising.

    Delighting and re-delighting longterm patients is the bread and butter (and cake and ice cream) of our bricks-and-mortar private practice. Our newest business (virtual healthcare and coaching for entrepreneurs) came out of a direct request from a long-time patient and global entrepreneur. When I pay attention to the people who pay my bills, the business does nothing but grow, even when surrounded by healthcare giants.

    And attending to the delight-o-meter is so much more interesting and energizing than mapping out a marketing campaign…just saying!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      What’s really fascinating is that the giants often can’t compete when it comes to delight, because it runs so contrary to the underlying culture and structure they’ve been built upon. Not always, but often.

  26. Mig sim mel says:

    Interesting concept, but widely used in the business world. Heard of NPS Net Promoter Score? A book called the ultimate question by Bain partner Reichfield talks about this?
    Best

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great point about NPS. Interesting thing is, from my understanding, NPS is about “measurement,” not “generation.” It’s a great tool for analysis and to provide some kind of standardized metric on more of an enterprise level. But measurement is not the same as ideation and action, which is where the real gaps and opportunities lie.

  27. Jarod Online says:

    I honestly did not feel like reading this post, but I bought your book Uncertainty, and enjoyed it a lot. So I decided to read at least the first few paragraphs, and what do I read? Something amazing AGAIN!

    I like how your perspective, of how we are when we’re single, brings a new idea to the table for customer relationships. I think another way we could make customer relationships even better is by running a contest too. I read blogs quite often, and I think of their visitors as customers sometimes. Whereas a contest brings all the clients together, allowing the blog to build a stronger relationship with its loyal readers.

  28. Anita says:

    Thank you for this brilliant post. I can totally relate to this, especially on a personal level. My marriage broke up four years ago and so much of what you have written here relevant. I’m single by choice at the moment and I’m watching this stuff go on in so many of my friends relationships. It also happens at work with our clients – we lose sight of the fact they can walk away if they feel uncared for, dismissed and in many cases irrelevant. It’s ultimately only ever about building great, respectful relationships.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      I think a lot of it is also about creating stilling practices, both in business and in life, that allow us to really see what’s going on and own the joy that comes from making others giggle without surrendering our happiness to the need to make that happen. Delicate dance indeed

  29. Evan says:

    I’m not sure how this transfers into doing. It takes time to maintain relationships – and I really don’t have time to maintain the number of relationships I would need to maintain to make enough money to live on.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Point well taken, it takes an extraordinary effort to blow people away, especially if you’re in a very high-touch profession. Which means you often need to charge substantially above-market fees in order to give yourself the time to do it on a world-class level. You may lose clients by doing so, but many times you end up with fewer clients who get far more love from you and you end up earning more because they’re willing to pay for an unmatched level of service and delight.

      • Such a great response here Jonathan and right ‘on the money’. :)

        Can I just say that it is a ‘delight’ to your fans/followers the way you engage in the conversation on your blog (many do not)? It’s not easy to make/take the time to do so, but you are pretty faithful with it…thank you!

        Such a great post!

  30. Delight = awesome + surprise.

    That’s my recipe… and now I think about it, I haven’t used it for far too long in my biz…

    *to the Batcave*

  31. Great post and of course it’s the 80/20 rule again. Much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one and when they love the experience and what you do/produce they will keep coming back. I always business is all about relationships and if you do build good relaltionships you will do good business. People want to buy/sell and work with people where there is a mutual respect and delight and even joy.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Actually, according to Jeff, it’s even more out of balance than 80/20, 70-80% of your new customers will come from your top 5% of most delighted clients IF you understand how to delight them.

      • You’re good. Your response makes perfect sense and in my business, it is certainly what happens. It also widens and deepens the trail as your customers connect with each other with their shared delight.

  32. Thank you Jonathan for this fantastic piece. Through effective treatments and high quality care I aim to delight my patients at every visit. Being an Acupuncturist , I find myself feeling really overcome with gratitude that my patients 1) trust me with their most private and intimate health issues, 2) put trust in me to stick needles in them 3) refer their friends and family. It is because of these 3 things that I want to keep each patient delighted. I find the best I can offer is a very warm and sincere thank you. I like for each person to know I value their trust in me. I tell them to their face just how glad I am to have the opportunity to work with them. Most of them look a little caught off guard I think because health care professionals rarely thank their patients. A warm smile and sincere gratitude can go a long way.

  33. Ashley Herzberger says:

    I strongly agree with this concept of delight. At the end of the day, word of mouth beats out all other types of marketing so if you can instead spend your time and money on increasing your chances of receiving high rates of word-of-mouth, you’ll be better served. I think it’s as simple as providing a high quality of work, being available and checking up from time to time, be it with a phone call or Facebook post. Treating your clients and employees like they are your friends…hmmm, there’s an idea.

  34. Aaron says:

    Hmmm…I see delight in the following equation: Delight = (Pleasure / Expectation) x Joy. When someone finds pleasure when you exceed the expectations of those receiving your product or service, and multiply that by the joy one experiences when using your product or service, you get delight!

    P.S Hard to do in health care – how do you “deliught” someone with a claim? Pay it, right?

  35. Susan says:

    Just stumbled on this article. I am “delighted” with this business plan!

  36. Hi Jonathan!
    Neuroscience plays an important role in understanding delight. (Note: I am NOT a neuroscientist and I may get this wrong…but I think I’m close :)
    Our brains are wired to pay particular attention to the unfamiliar…anything out of the ordinary. We are pattern seeking creatures and once we create habits within our environment they no longer require our full focused attention. We are now on the look out for something else that we do not recognize as normal. At first it was scared shitless of a predator that wanted to eat us.
    The unusual demands our attention at a level that is much deeper than we care to admit at times. And unusual delights have a much greater impact on our memories both long and short term. Marketers and educators alike would be wise to delight in unusual ways, if they want customers/students to learn and connect with the desired product/subject.
    Cheers!
    Brent

  37. a fellow scanner says:

    You gave the answer in your last line itself :)”building substantially more UNEXPECTED delight into relationships in business and life”. The logical answer would be to keep alive the element of surprise, like maybe a pair of sexy stilletos after 2 weeks of flowers ;)
    We also need to remember that there are a few basic and fundamental human needs that need to be met. As long as we satisfy those, more than half the battle is won, like you say maintaining customer relationships and goodwill should be the priority. Moreover, small and simple but genuinely heartfelt actions out of the blue can also touch people’s hearts. Like a small ‘love you’ note on the bathroom mirror in the 6th week :)
    I’m just guessing all of this. Do you think this is an effective solution to delight habituation?… or is there a loophole here?

  38. Jonathan,

    Delighted to read this, and so agree with your points from both a professional and personal standpoint.

    Years ago when working for a large direct selling company, we found the promotions we ran repeatedly eventually became entitlement programs – i.e. they didn’t delight anyone anymore – much less increase the bottom line – but if taken away were seen as examples of the company not caring about its representatives. Thus, our promotional strategy evolved into one of being consistently inconsistent! Not only did it work, but we didn’t have to “give away the store” or best ourselves in dollars spent with each new promotion or recognition program, either. We did need to be genuine, thoughtful, and constantly creative in our efforts to delight and appreciate the people who mattered most to the business.

    I think this is true with personal relationships as well. I love David’s comment above about the seemingly inevitable shift in relationships from an acquisition mode to one of retention. We all want to feel cherished by those we love and not taken for granted. That’s why roses on Valentine’s Day are an entitlement of sorts (sorry, it’s true), but sending me snapdragons just whenever because you know they’re my favorite flower and you want me to smile – well, that wins the day. :-)

    Great post!
    Jenifer

  39. Tom Bentley says:

    Jonathan, I love that you illustrated this post with the cappuccino shot. I occasionally have a cappuccino at an interesting bakery/restaurant in Big Sur and the barista can shake out the foam over the espresso in various ways to make designs much like the one in the photograph. It is ALWAYS delightful for me, and he obviously gets a kick out of people’s delight, though he’s been there for years.

    It’s a personal touch, an expression of art, that lagniappe or little something extra that carries a spark. Being able to transmit that genuine spark in your business (and, of course in your personal exchanges) is a compelling thing. And turning it on its head every once in a while (maybe have the customer attempt to shake out the foam art?) could keep it fresh.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Tom – So glad you picked up on why I chose that image. It’s those little things that might you smile that often make a difference.

  40. [...] Fields – The Power of Delight: ”We spend all of our time, energy and money on acquisition, then once we’ve converted [...]

  41. Jim Blake says:

    Vitruvius, ancient Roman wrote in 15 BC: Architecture should posess “commodity, firmness and delight”

    Excellent post – so important in any and all pursuits to search for the delight.

    An important element to any delight is knowing one’s audience. As an artist, something that might delight one audience might either shock or bore another. Every artist must create a conception of their audience, hopefully it is one that challenges the artist to explore and invent rather than serve a common denominator.

    Thi8s is a great subject for a book Jonathan. Get crackin’

    BTW – I found your post from my daughter Jenny Blake’s blog “Life After College”

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jim – Thanks so much for your kind words. Love the Vitruvius quote, those Romans knew a thing or two. Amazing how the scholars of that time also understood the integral connection between body, mind, spirit and intellectual/creative performance in a way that seems to have fallen away in modern society. Oh, and I agree on the book thing, evil plans ensue! And, of course you already know this, but that kid of your ROCKS!

  42. [...]  INSPIRATIONAL: The Power of Delight post by Jonathan Fields has my mind spinning this morning on both a business and personal level. [...]

  43. Rick Wolff says:

    By rights, my wife and I should get a divorce.

  44. michele says:

    Very insightful article. We should treat our family and clients well at all times. Customers, family and friends alike do not want to be forgotten.

  45. [...] marketing tool than a satisfied customer who is more than happy to spread the word for you! The Power of Delight Reply With [...]

  46. June says:

    As far as relationships go – we do have to make sure we continue to delight our partners. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I have been in a very happy relationship for the last eleven years. We do little things everyday to make each other happy. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It can be something as simple as making your partner’s favorite dinner or telling them how much they mean to you. The key is mix things up. They never know what to expect, therefore they learn to expect nothing.

  47. [...] what matters that I’ve put someone in charge of delight. (My e-pal Jonathan Fields gets the necessity of delight in business and life and has a Director of [...]

  48. [...] Please join me in reading a favorite blog, Jonathan Fields, The Power of Delight here [...]