What Does It Really Mean To “Surprise And Delight” A Client?


There’s a good chance you have seen this video from TD Bank floating around the Interwebz over the last week. They essentially rigged an “ATM” for a short period time to say, “Thanks!” and dispense meaningful gifts to some of their loyal customers.

On the surface, this seems really awesome. A big brand- a bank nonetheless- going out of their way to give back and show that they care about their customers. This isn’t something terribly new or innovative. Coke has been doing similar things with their Happiness Machines. And, many other brands have produced similar stunts. That’s what these are PR and marketing stunts. They are drawn-out, gigantic productions costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to “spin” a brand’s portrayal into one that cares about its customers. All under the guise of “surprise and delight tactics.”

While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s actually pretty clever PR. It does lead to some less than desirable side effects for other brands, who look at these elaborate portrayals and commercials. This is that many brands won’t go near “surprise and delight” campaigns because they think it’s going to cost too much money.

“Surprise and delight” initiatives really should be some of the most inexpensive campaigns that you run- money-wise that is. The whole purpose of these initiatives shouldn’t be make the biggest spectacle we can for our brand. Instead, you should be putting the spotlight on your customers. Your loyal, dedicated customers. It’s not about YOU. It’s about them.

Whether you are solopreneur, a small business of 10 employees, a company of 200 or a big corporation of 5,000+, anyone can run a surprise and delight campaign. All you need to do is instill a company culture that celebrates caring about your customers. When you run a company where everyone is passionate about the customers, every single interaction can wind up being a small surprise and delight tactic. Here’s five examples.

1. Your customer service agent spends an extra two minutes on a call congratulating a client on a new addition to their family or a recent promotion.

2. A customer service manager calls a client back after leaving an uber positive survey just to thank them.

3. A sales rep sends a handwritten $0.99 thank you card to a new client.

4. Creating a short Youtube video thanking someone for leaving a positive review on Twitter. Warby Parker is famous for this. 

5. Randomly calling or emailing a client out of the blue just because.

None of these interactions are super elaborate or even take more than 30 minutes to do. I can guarantee they will be just as effective – if not more so- at scale than a large, drawn out TV commercial. That’s because they all help to humanize the brand. It shows that there are real people working in the company and not just a stuffy corporate logo.

What’s the best surprise and delight tactic that you have organized or been on the receiving side of? Please share in the comment section below. 

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Jessica Malnik

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