Think about some of your most memorable experiences as a consumer: cracking open a fortune cookie, taking the Pepsi Challenge,  snapping a photo with Mickey Mouse, finding a toy in your Happy Meal, taking a new car for a test drive, or "rolling up the rim to win" at Tim Hortons.

What do all of those experiences have in common? They created moments of joy – and in some cases, joy that stays with us for a lifetime. Delighting customers is clearly not just a wonderful act, but also a smart business tactic that has long-lasting emotional impact on us as people and as customers.

Clearly, the world of enterprise business has a long way to go when it comes to creating moments of joy. There are limitations to delighting customers who are halfway around the world but the reality is, as Tiffani Bova, Global Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce and former Gartner VP puts it, "Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground".

In a world where nearly every company has become a software company, and where recurring revenue is essential to ongoing success, customer joy can go a long way in creating relationships that bear fruit for years to come.

In service of that, here are four expert opinions on how you can plant moments of joy in the customer experience.

Fertilize the rough patches

"One of the best times to plant a moment of joy is when your customer is struggling the most. During the current crisis, many businesses are truly struggling, and their very survival is not certain. I am increasingly seeing B2B companies go above and beyond to try to help struggling customers.

For example, one B2B client provided a struggling customer access to additional functionality that the customer couldn’t afford but would help them grow, in exchange for locking in a long-term contract. Other B2B customers have been cutting fees or temporarily providing free access to systems and resources to help their customers survive the unexpected and harsh challenges resulting from COVID.

While there are no guarantees that struggling customers will survive, you can be sure they will remember which suppliers were flexible and tried to support them in their moment of need. Being flexible and getting creative to help struggling customers will deliver tremendous benefits for your reputation, referrals, and customer loyalty."

Jason Whitehead – CEO, Tri Tuns

Provide a nourishing environment

"In these challenging times, we must connect with our customers in new and exciting ways. We must show our appreciation for our customers throughout every interaction with their organization in all of our customer contact moments. By focusing on every touch point with our customers, we have an opportunity to provide a positive and rewarding customer experience for them."

Terry Grinewich – Senior Director Customer Success Management, Imagine Communications

Use data to help relationships bloom

"Customer-centric B2B companies are looking to replicate personalized B2C “wow” experiences by listening to their customers and planting the seeds for moments of delight throughout the customer relationship. Like in all relationships, first impressions count – from discovery to onboarding and beyond, creating innovative ways to engage customers is becoming essential.

While many B2C companies like Amazon spring to mind, many in the B2B tech world are beginning to provide personalized experiences based on persona customer journeys, where data insights are gathered to improve the experience and meet the ever-changing needs of customers. For this win-win relationship between suppliers and customers to bloom, data insights are key. Data is to customer success what water is to flowers!"

Sue Nabeth Moore – Co-Founder, Success Chain

Start thinking outside the box

"Joyful moments are found in unexpected places – mobile apps that display funny quips while the app is loading, error messages that poke fun and lighten the mood, and chatbots that handle a virtual return in less than 10 seconds. What do these moments of joy have in common? Although they use technology, they act human. Plant these human seeds throughout the customer lifecycle to add joy to the journey."

Megan Gilhooly – VP of Customer Experience, Zoomin

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