In management parlance, the above term signifies the situation where your customer is satisfied not by something he expects, but by what he does not expect, but would like to have nevertheless. It acts as a differentiating factor in the competition among the also-rans.

I learnt this concept in my first job some 6 years ago. It looked viable and an interesting thought and I have tried to implement it in all client interactions. The idea looked good to me, and I looked good to the client. This was good all these years, and I believed it was the de facto rule for being appreciated.

My recent experiences have thrown a new light: the customer may not be happy even though you try to delight them. And it does not point at an individual, but the whole gang may not be looking the way you do. And why so? Because they want more for less. The concept of “more car per car” ran very well in India. That was because we Indians want to extract the drop of juice from the sugarcane. It is no different in my endeavors to serve my client. When I realized they were unable to make an as is process document, I made it for them. That was to act as an example, but the message they got was that I am supposed to do it, and hence they had the right to ask for it all over.

If I do a task fast, they raise the bar and expect me to do it faster. It even goes to the extent that they start making unreasonable demand in the light of an earlier swift response. If I do and set a configuration in an hour, they want a development done in 10 minutes. They act as if they have the wherewithal to do it themselves, and so ask for more..and more.

Among all this, where does customer satisfaction lie? That is a concept alien to the Indian client, especially one that deals with age old practices. So the best way to handle this is to communicate (in a loud voice) that “I can do it, but wont do it for you”. That will accentuate one’s importance, and never strive to provide a customer delight. The concept is reserved for some corporate offices, but not for factories.