Can you afford to only delight a customer on a Tuesday?

I was at a bonfire and fireworks night at the weekend and one of the things that really struck me was how happy people looked! I mean, everybody was, even the dogs! The only thing I can compare it too is seeing your football team win a major competition.

It got me thinking…why are these people so happy? Then the first firework went off and then it hit me. The anticipation of fireworks going off and all the colours illuminating the sky was why they were smiling. Then I though to myself…

Why am I wondering why they are happy when I should be watching the fireworks and being happy myself? So I brought a toffee apple, looked up to the sky and enjoyed the show. The fireworks were delighting people but when was the last time that you delighted somebody?

This got me thinking back to when I was a waiter and having to delight customers was a daily activity. It was high pressure but, despite this, I used to love it. Why? Because I loved clearing up dishes? Of course not, I used to love delighting the customers. As a waiter you have to delight your customers. If I had a penny for every time somebody said to me…

“It’s my…(insert special occasion here)…and I’m heading out for a big night after this!”

Immediately, you are under pressure. What would happen if I gave a terrible service? You could imagine the conversation going a little like this…

“That waiter was terrible. He didn’t do anything, gave really awful service and spilt a drink all over my new dress. The night is ruined now!!”

This might be a pretty extreme example, but you can imagine what would come next. I would have received no tip meaning I would be miserable and give my other remaining customers a terrible service. It’s a chain reaction…

Now, what would happen if the conversation went like this?

“That waiter was brilliant, really attentive and made sure our glasses were never empty. He gave us great service and really made our evening.”

As you may have seen on our infographic earlier in the week, smiling and being happy is contagious. Delighting someone…is contagious. However, the opposite can also work. The reason I use the example of delighting customers is because it’s something you probably go through everyday. How many times have you gone into a store and had a bad customer experience? Has it made you buy the product you went in for if they treated you badly? Probably not. Why would you give money to somebody who doesn’t seem to want your custom in the first place?

Are you consistently delighting your colleagues or
your customers?

Now imagine if that was the other way round. What if you weren’t delighting the people around you? What if, at work, you weren’t likeable and you made everybody around you feel miserable?

Come on, we’ve all worked with these people, how did you feel?

I recently read the book (I can already see my colleagues lining up the jokes, yes I can read!) Likeonomics, by Rohit Bhargava, and they gave an example of a study by Tiziana Casciaro, a Harvard Business School professor, who decided to find out how important being likable was in the work place and how it affects working relationships. They studied 10,000 people and each participant was marked against two characteristics based on how they answered questions and how their peers rated them:  their likability and competence. They then asked participants to imagine they had a job to do at work and which of their colleagues they would choose to work with. On one level the results were predictable.

Obviously, everyone wanted to work with the highly likable and highly competent colleague (dubbed the loveable star) and no one wanted to work with the low competence and low likability (dubbed the incompetent chump). The surprising results came when they looked at the other two categories.




The study demonstrated that when the participants were faced with a choice between a more likeable person who workers had a stronger personal relationship with (lovable fool), or someone who had better job performance, but less likable (competent chump), guess who people chose to work with…


This may seem wild, but the conclusion is pretty clear. The majority of people will usually opt for likability over ability. Yeah, yeah, yeah I hear you say. But this isn’t an isolated example. Consider these results from similar studies over the past decade:

  • In a communications study from 2003, researchers at the University of Michigan revealed that ‘friendly and positive employees are more productive’.
  • A study in 1984 by the University of California showed that doctors unconsciously spend more time and offer better quality care to patients they like.

I could go on, but being likable and delighting people can not only help us build trust, but also further our own careers.

Try it! However, your delight has to be consistent. You can’t just delight people on Tuesdays. When you have the attitude of delighting people, WOWing them, you will also enjoy what you do more and ultimately be more successful.

Next week we will be posting a video of how you can check your FLOW. A great personal checklist to make sure you are always delighting people.


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