In customer service, we talk about “delighting” customers, providing an experience that is personalized to an individual's preferences and needs. The quest to delight goal is the goal of CRM and one-to-one marketing strategies. It is not easy to achieve and can have compelling results for a business.

But it makes me wonder — do your customers want to be delighted in customer service, or do they just want a hassle-free resolution?

Recently, my suitcase handle broke. I pride myself on my Ryan Bingham-like airport efficiency. Struggling with the broken handle forced me to slow every queue from security to boarding in a recurring tug-of-war with an uncooperative roller bag.

I contacted the company on the telephone and had a strikingly unmemorable conversation with the only meaningful takeaway being that I needed to go to the Web site to complete a warranty form. The form did not offer me the option to print before submitting nor send an acknowledgement email, raising my suspicions that this could require following up.

I was mistaken. A mere eight days later, a new suitcase arrived at my door.

It would have been nice if there was a note accompanying the new roller bag:  something to acknowledge my inconvenience, to express regret that the product didn’t perform, to at least address me by name. I didn’t receive any of these — just an anonymous box containing a new suitcase. And I was delighted.

I wondered about the reverse situation. Had I enjoyed a charming telephone customer service conversation, a feature-filled online experience, an apologetic personal note in the new bag, but was required to wait 4 – 6 weeks for the new suitcase, would I have been as delighted? The answer is probably not. I would have had a better perception of the brand. And I may have recounted the positive experience to friends or family. The company did not win these benefits. But they solved my problem quickly. And I was delighted.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts: Has poor customer service has lowered the delight threshold? Are our expectations of poor service so high that it is simply delightful to receive hassle-free resolution?