Sometimes people just want what they expect and to get on with their lives.

I’ve never felt comfortable with that marketing mantra, “delight your customers.” Although surely sometimes that’s in order (such as when you’re launching in a competitive market, or in a customer service encounter), delight is fickle and wears off almost instantly. In fact you might say that delight causes a brand to raise the bar on itself with every use. That can get really expensive in brandland.

Most of the time customers simply want your brand to meet their expectations and let them get on with their lives. Just like air. Air is invisible, we take it for granted, but when it’s not there, we get a little upset. That’s what most brand experiences should be like: transparent, yet mission critical.

I don’t know about you, but if I had to be “delighted” with every brand experience, I’d be desensitized before noon on Monday.  Doesn’t it make more sense to simply meet or beat customer expectations with consistent brand performance?

Instead of impressing me with new delights, focus your efforts on keeping me loyal. For instance, if I hit a little snag in my brand experience, make sure customer service comes through with single-call resolution. That’s a pretty cheap solution for the brand and may get me to mention my satisfaction to a  friend or two…and word of mouth branding is “(bleeping) golden!”

Would you agree that consistency is more important and more realistic than delight? OK, maybe you want to inspire an occasional delight…a mild delight….a slight-smile-at-the-edges-of-your-mouth-for-half-a-second delight. But a lot of time that can simply result from a situation in which your customer strays from your brand, experiences dissatisfaction elsewhere, and comes back to your brand…the delight of realizing yours is a brand that can be trusted (“there’s no place like home”).

What do you think about consistently delighting customers? Is it realistic? Blog it here.

For more on this subject, there’s a great article in July’s Harvard Business Review.