“Delight” in Customer Support

This week, I came across a Twitter discussion about the term “delight” in Customer Support.

The word has had a precipitous rise and (depending on who you talk to) fall within the industry.

After Tony Sheh published Delivering Happiness, many companies decided they were going to be amazing at customer support – this was now their “core competency”. Hitting SLAs and maintaining a high CSAT became wrapped up in terms like surprise, wow, and delight. Companies like Ritz-Carlton further reinforced this by making headlines for how they treated a little boy’s left-behind stuffed animal.

Then, Matthew Dixon published The Effortless Experience, and many minds in the industry started to shift the other direction. Surprise and delight weren’t the goals; the ideal destination was a “low-effort experience” marked by comprehensive self-service channels and next-issue avoidance. The holy grail wasn’t press headlines or a 100% CSAT score; those were indirect forecasts of brand loyalty at best. The goal was to reduce the effort required by the customer to resolve an issue – make it simple and easy.

At this very moment, I have a Support Specialist role posted at Ness that uses the term “delight” purposefully (please apply!). I want to reiterate the case for where “delight” falls short and why I believe it still has a place in the industry.

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Examining Grammarly’s (Quiet) Growth Loop

Listing out the unicorns of the past decade, Zoom, Slack, TikTok, Instagram all probably come to mind. Lately, though, I’ve been curious about Grammarly, a company oddly missing from the everyday discourse. Founded in 2009, their last raise valued the company at $13+ billion.

They’ve been left out of the conversation because they have a unique growth story. Popular companies like Slack use direct network effects and have a clear growth loop. As a user, I am incentivized to get you onto Slack to communicate with you, which drives further growth. Comparatively, Grammarly’s growth story isn’t as obvious. There are no direct network effects; I can use Grammarly regardless of whether you use it. It’s not viral by nature; Grammarly is the secret weapon no one wants to admit they need.

So, what worked? Here’s my take.

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