5 ways to totally delight your customers

Delight can be seen on the face of the child who’s been allowed to stay up late, and the lottery player who’s won enough to buy a round at the pub. But can you prompt the same feeling in your own customers… without extending their bedtime or plying them with gambling opportunities?


When it comes to e-commerce, delight comes from going above and beyond what your customer expects. The chances are, your customer has a pretty good idea about how it’s going to go – browse, purchase, order confirmation, follow-up – so how can you exceed their expectations? 

Here are five suggestions to add a dash of delight to your sales process…

Handwritten notes

As long as you’ve got vaguely legible handwriting, a handwritten note can win you major brownie points. We live in a digital age, and anything handwritten immediately stands out and demonstrates that someone’s spent time thinking of you.

And if you think that’s just for smaller businesses, think again. Laura Ashley is one of the best-known names in homeware and women’s fashion, and yet they still find time to delight random customers. One such lucky person ordered some bedding, and was thrilled to find a handwritten note included, together with some comfy bed socks. The result? A delightfully cosy bedtime – and the chances are, a customer for life!

If you’ve got a thriving business, it’s impossible to write a note to each and every customer.  But set yourself a target of just a couple of notes a day, and you’ll trigger some real delight over the course of just a few weeks.



Let’s face it, everyone loves a freebie! Big ticket items should be reserved for competitions, but sending a little extra something shows thoughtfulness and generosity. 

In the UK, the coffee chain Pret a Manger is well known for occasionally giving out free coffees (although shockingly, I personally have never received one. I’m gutted, frankly – I love a good latte). Often, people are so delighted that their new haircut/bad day face/sunny disposition has been rewarded with a free coffee, they take to Twitter to tell the world.

Although be warned, there can be unexpected consequences..!

Admitting you’re wrong

It takes real skill to turn a disappointment into a moment of delight, but it’s absolutely possible.  In a world where social media means that stories of poor customer service can be spread at the speed of digital light, it’s worth putting in effort to recognize and fix the problem as soon as possible.  After that, you can go the extra mile to change the customer’s perception of you.

Think of restaurants you’ve eaten, and subsequently complained at. If your complaint was met with an apology and a free drink, you’ve often quickly forgiven them, correct?  Perhaps even told friends about how great they were in handling your complaint? The same rules apply.

Amazon is well aware of the potential for delight when there’s a crisis. When a Christmas gift ordered from them was stolen from an apartment building, they supplied a brand new PlayStation, waving the shipping charge, so that a customer could give his son a Christmas present.  An entire New York Times article was the result.  While we can’t promise this kind of coverage, regular moves like these have a tendency to result in extremely positive PR, even if it’s on a smaller scale to the New York Times.

When this Blinds.com customer received damaged blinds, not only did he get replacement shades sent quickly, this was followed up by an automated email from the CEO asking if he had any feedback about the service he received. When he replied with some suggestions, he then got a personal reply from the CEO 28 minutes later, thanking him. This is a great example of how an automated process can be combined with those personal touches, resulting in an experience that was, in the words of the customer, ‘GREAT’!

I’ve had experience with this – when I ran my own e-commerce business, any missed delivery or badly packed box used to result in me handwriting a note of apology, and popping it in the post along with a nice bar of chocolate. I was always surprised as to how these occasional apology notes used to result in a glowing email thanking me for taking the time!


An unexpected gift

You don’t have to wait for your customer to make the first move – an unexpected surprise is extra delightful! Here at Nosto, we did something like this recently – when we sent out a physical copy of our latest guide, we included a handwritten note, a tea bag, and a little something sweet, so that our customers could kick back and relax while learning all about our latest personalized shopping products.  It’s those little things that add a human touch to what could be a fairly standard marketing activity. 

And now we’ve taken it one step further – we’ve brewed our very own Nosto beer, which is on-hand whenever a customer comes by. It’s definitely delighted all that have tasted it  – it must be that unique Finnish-German-American hop blend…!

Birthday coupon

In the history of time, no one has ever uttered the words “I get too many birthday gifts”. If your customer has given you their date of birth, why not surprise them with a little something when that day rolls around? According to a recent Experian study, birthday emails see 481% higher conversion rates and 179% higher click through rates, compared to standard email marketing.  Send your customer a discount coupon to be redeemed on their next order, and you’ll get a returning customer and they’ll know you care. Everyone wins! 

Delight can be your secret weapon in differentiating you from the competition – and the possibilities really are endless. What kind of thing you offer will depend on your business, but the key is to personalize the experience in some way for your customer. And as we know – personalization is the key to successful marketing, be it Facebook advertising or handwritten notes.


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