Great post on Seth Godin’s blog today where he outlines a formula he came up with:
The value of a perk is inversely related to the expectation of that perk.
It makes sense when you think about it. Your relationship with a third party, whether it’s a supplier, customer or partner, is governed by your expectation of the end result. If you expect “more” and get “less”, you’re bound to be disappointed, even if the extra you were expecting isn’t part of your standard relationship. If, on the other hand, you get “more” than you expected, you’re bound to be delighted and this can definetly help make an experience memorable.
We used to use this technique when running The Joke Shop. Every package we sent out was accompanied by a free gift with our compliments. We knew customers weren’t expecting this, and we also knew that this would give rise to goodwill and encourage customers to shop again. Surprising a customer is a massive step in delighting them.