The “DELIGHT” – FUL path to a great HR technology solution provider business and reputation.

Almost two years ago I came across an article in the NY Magazine – Intelligencer column – titled “DELIGHT” – WHAT SILICON VALLEY’S FAVORITE WORD SAYS ABOUT TECH PRIORITIES”. It stuck with me as I was looking to write about HR technology vendor behaviors as potential differentiators. The column was of interest because it involved semantics, marketing and organizational behavior concerns. The columnist Kevin Roose (on August 10 2014) presented his case for the importance of, and proliferation of the use of the word “delight” – especially from an entrepreneurs point of view (and verbiage), as it self describes any number of efforts to win over new customers. In his report, Mr Roose, goes on to say: “Sit in any high-end coffee shop in San Francisco and you’ll see start-up founders pitching their delightful wares. “Delight” and “delightful” have become all-purpose marketing words in the tech world, trotted out to describe anything even marginally surprising or well made, in the hopes that even uttering the word will loosen the purse strings of investors and customers.” The use of the word “delight” has been pervasive in all industries. Especially used by those trying to describe their approach in business development, marketing and their overall approach in making a significant inroad in penetrating any clients thought process leading to a positive action. That action can be the adaption of a new product, a new software capability, a new business relationship/partnership, indeed, any new anything at all. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has called Twitter ads “a delightful experience.” Sheryl Sandberg has vowed to show Facebook users “something … that really delights you.” Apple a while ago) employed a new corporate motto: “Simplify, perfect, delight.” From the sound of it, you’d think these were executives at Mattel’s toy factory, not mobile developers or software developers in Mountain View, California. When did the titans of technology start talking like kindergarten teachers? Even the old-line economy has gotten in on the action—when Frito-Lay introduced a new line of Cracker Jack in April of 2014, its press release promised “new flavors that will continue to delight our consumers.” The heaviest use of “delight” seems to be concentrated within the consumer start-up world, among those who believe that good design can help them stand out from the competition. “The world is pretty bored with being able to accomplish tasks efficiently,” Rishi Mandal, the co-founder of urban-discovery app Sosh, (as he told Mr. Roose). So what does this discussion have to do with HR technology? Well I am trying to make the point that in the selling of any kind of HR technology the secret is in the ability to ‘engineer a smile’ in other words, to “delight” the prospect. As we should all grasp, a delighted prospect most likely becomes a customer and hopefully one that remains delighted. If not, there are a whole new set of problems to deal with – (a topic for another blog). To this writer, as an HR technologist – industry observer – it makes me wonder how to, in a meaningful way, emphasize the need for any vendor to embrace the concept of “DELIGHT”ing a prospect/client – aka the “customer” with the objective of a building a mutually rewarding (and profitable!) relationship. One that deepens and lasts many years. To do so requires a good many conscious and effective actions that depend on thoughtful marketing, use of media, and salesmanship all aimed at building trust and even building a sense of “humanized” partnership. In effect I am seeking the answer to “how do you accomplish the necessary tasks involved with turning an interested organization into a solid and reference-able client/customer at the same time as always striving to “delight” them?. This is not typically easy when trying to sell a software application such as HRM – as opposed to a really “cool” gadget or app. Creating “smiles” is an important and achievable goal, and it does require mindfulness at many levels within the HR Tech vendor organization. Could the dissection of the word delight make a buzzword meaningful? Lets try to see if it could. Buzzwords inevitably stray from their original meaning, and even techies who traffic in “delight” will admit that the word has gotten diluted. The word can feel trendy and overused, and can certainly get an eye-roll. But the concept is ever strong and a proven methodology to win over new business and clients. So allow me to introduce the word DELIGHT and take it apart letter-by-letter using my own definitions for each letter, thus expanding the underlying concepts and power of doing things that “Delight”. In effect I am suggesting that keeping...