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by Alain Hunkins

In a recent NY Times article, reporter Steve Lohr shares the lessons learned by those who worked closely with Steve Jobs. The first lesson:

Do Whatever It Takes to Delight Customers

What company doesn’t promise “Customer Satisfaction”?  Everyone who wants to stay in business.

But there’s a big gap between what’s promised and what’s delivered.  In this day and age, satisfied may not be enough.

Satisfied is a rational decision.

Delighted is an emotional decision.

If you go to the online etymology dictionary, you’ll find the origin of delight comes from “pleasure, sexual desire”. If that’s not an emotional, visceral response, I don’t know what is.

In Rohr’s article, he describes how 6 weeks before the release of the iPhone, Jobs ordered a crucial design change.

The iPhone was planned to have a plastic face.  Plastic is less fragile than glass, and easier to make.   It’s cheaper, too.  Logically, it made business sense.

However, plastic had one big flaw:  it could scratch.  The scratches would annoy customers and make the iPhone seem like a cheap, inferior product.

Jobs knew what needed to be done:  make the change to glass.

It wasn’t that simple.  To create a scratch-proof iPhone was going to take more than just a design change.  At this late date, the entire production supply chain (design, sourcing materials, tooling up the production line of the factory, etc.) had to be changed. But they went ahead and did it.

Cutting corners and delight don’t go together.

In the midst of all you have to do to accomplish your objectives, it’s easy to step out of the customer’s frame of reference.  You may be tired, overworked, and stressed out about meeting your deadlines. Frankly, the customer doesn’t care.  It’s not about you. It’s about how your product or service makes life more delightful for your customer.

Satisfaction may get you one sale.  Delight will get you raving fans….just think about the scores of people that left tributes to Steve Jobs all over the world outside of Apple stores after his death.

Those are raving fans.

Which kind of customers do you want to have?

Alain Hunkins leads personal and professional development trainings for individuals, teams and organizations. Over the last two decades, Alain has facilitated for over a thousand groups, ranging from at-risk youth to Fortune 500 executives. He moves between the educational, artistic, not-for-profit, government and corporate worlds. Alain sharpened his facilitation skills as an Educational Consultant in New York City, developing programs on many subjects, including Conflict Resolution, Networking, Customer Service, Communication, and Leadership.
Alain earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee Professional Theater Training Program. He is a certified Leadership Challenge & MBTI facilitator, as well as a certified co-leader for ManKind Project International, whose mission is to help men lead missions of service in their families, communities, and workplaces. Alain completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 1995.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.