What is delight?
All of my career I have sought to build products and companies that inspire delight in its users. But what does that mean exactly?
Satisfaction is a job well done. Creating a product that solves the problem well and does exactly what users thought it should do.
Delight, is the unexpected experience that no one dreamed was possible but once delivered is impossible to do without.
The distance between the two is what sets apart companies that do well and dominate.
Childcare is an understandably complex category to tackle. Beyond the obvious issues of quality and safety, there are the endless logistics and operations. Building a product that can consistently get to satisfaction is hard enough: find good sitters and have them show up to the home and do the job.
But I didn’t start Poppy to deliver satisfaction. I started it because trying to make childcare a delightful experience seemed to me to be one of the hardest challenges you could take on.
The whole thing is fraught with anxiety and worry and let down. Delivering delight here has the chance to change how people experience a fundamental part of life.
But how to get to delight? Find the worst friction. The points in the journey that create the worst anxiety. Then think about what can not only fix it but in a way that is light and fun.
One example for us is at the end of every booking. As a parent, I know what it’s like to come home after being away for 5 or 6 hours and get a minimal verbal report of what went on. That’s fine, I suppose, as long as my girls are happy and healthy. So this is where many seeking satisfaction will stop.
But transparency and communication are pillars of the Poppy experience so early on, we designed “Caresheets” that caregivers could choose to use as a summary of their time there. It has all the relevant topics on a nicely designed sheet that both caregivers and parents can navigate easily.
The bonus of this is that this helped on both sides of the experience. Often times caregivers are happy to provide a summary but don’t know what parents will want to know and it can be hard to remember everything at the end.
This little initiative was an early driver of delight that set Poppy apart.
The challenge is, now it is expected. Now parents are disappointed if they didn’t get one and believe this should be the service standard from every childcare experience (Poppy or not). On one hand, that’s incredible, that we were able to change that expectation but on the other hand, we’ve raised our own bar on what it takes to delight.
So it’s on to the next fiction point and the next until one glorious day we’ll have completely reimagined childcare that families in the future won’t understand “what the fuss was about”.
The distance between satisfaction and delight may not be huge in space but it’s miles apart in experience. So when you’re designing your product and deciding what to impact – seek out the worst friction and don’t stop at satisfaction.
Shoot straight for delight.