Why your employees aren't exactly delighted by the idea of "customer delight"

On Friday, I met a friend of a friend whose new CEO is big on “customer delight”. This friend of a friend didn’t seem wholly convinced by the idea – and you can kind of see his point. Do customers really expect to be delighted these days? Are they disappointed when merely satisfied?

And how can you turn them from satisfied customers to delighted ones anyway? Do you begin each phone call with “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you’re looking lovely today”? Or provide an energising aromatherapy candle with every product, perhaps?

But a bigger problem with the idea of “customer delight” is, I think, the unfortunate associations of the name itself. I just can’t help grouping “customer delight” with three other “delights”:

Angel Delight

This was the bright pink mousse-in-a-packet that my brother and I used to beg my mum to make for us in the 70s, and which the thought of now makes me want to vomit.

I gather it’s still going strong. In fact, only a few days ago it made the headlines when a woman tried to poison her family by serving it with anti-freeze (the Propane-1, 2-dial esters of fatty acids and disodium phosphate that are listed among its ingredients not having any lethal effect, apparently).

Sunny Delight

In terms of its effect on children, Sunny Delight was the 90s equivalent of Angel Delight – lurid, addictive and somewhat questionably marketed as “healthy” by its manufacturer.

Note to Sunny Delight’s lawyers: all comments refer to the unreconstructed Sunny Delight – i.e. before you relaunched it (minus additives) because it had turned some poor toddler bright orange.

Note to Sunny Delight’s marketing team: you should bring back the original Sunny Delight and push it as a drink for grown-ups. Those kids you turned orange in the 90s are now young clubbers who I’m sure would jump at the chance to be seen with something that has both retro-ironic and danger appeal. Let me know if you need any help with the Facebook campaign.

Afternoon Delight

Let’s not forget the sexually suggestive 70s hit by the Starland Vocal Band, recently resurrected by Will Ferrell’s cheesy newsreader Ron Burgundy in the film Anchor Man.

With all the above in mind, I’ve prepared the Powerpoint slide below for any internal communicator who's been asked to promote the idea of customer delight in their own organisation. Feel free to "leverage"!