How to surprise and delight a customer


Here’s a surprise: a customer fulfillment notice that’s actually fun to read. After ordering a from CD Baby a copy of Ronee Blakley Live at the Mint, I expected to receive a perfunctory confirmation of my purchase shipment. Instead here’s what I found in my email in-box:

“Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day. We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as ‘Customer of the Year.’ We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Even the “From” field of the email caught my eye: “CD Baby Loves You,” which automatically made me want to open the email. And once I did, the note had me at hello. I read every word, finding myself caught up in a small moment of entertainment amid a busy day.

Every customer touch point is an opportunity to surprise and delight. When has a company surprised and delighted you lately? I’d love to hear about your CD Baby moment.

8 thoughts on “How to surprise and delight a customer

  1. A retail clerk from the Portland, OR Restoration Hardware store made my 5-yr old son (and me) experience the magic of Christmas. A beautiful glass ornament Santa had brought for him shattered when we were dismantling the tree. Together we sent \”Santa\” an email, explaining the loss and asking for a replacement, if the elves could do it. Later, when alone, I got on the phone. The Portland store was the only one still with stock on the ornament, which I ordered over the phone, telling her the story of my son\’s despair. A few days later, we arrived home to a UPS box on our doorstep, magic-markered with the words \”From the North Pole\” on every side.

  2. Great story, Kat! What\’s particularly impressive is that Restoration Hardware helped you during the busy holiday season, when I expect service standards to slip in retail.

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  4. Yes! I\’ve been using CD Baby to distribute my band\’s music for about 8 years now, and I have to say that the company is also great with musician-facing communications. A really thoughtful, great experience for everyone participating.

    A lot of things in life, including business, just come down to being thoughtful and willing to take a risk and be fun and interesting. How often that gets ignored is sad.

  5. I think that many companies don\’t understand that \”delighting a customer\” is a worthwhile objective that can deliver ongoing and unexpected competitive advantages. The last two companies to surprise and delight me, personally, are Woot and Zappos, and now Amazon owns both of them.

    I wonder if this is a corporate value – a corporate quality that can be acquired and assimilated…

    • A company certainly can inculcate \”surprise and delight\” as a corporate value, for instance, by awarding bonuses and recognition to employees who exceed customer expectations. Thanks so much for your comments, John.

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