Buckle Up for a Smooth Ride as Mercedes-Benz USA Delivers Delight

Let’s take a drive for the fifth session of the summer term of the 2016 GsD program – a reading survey course. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to list a broad overview of some of the recent literature in the field of customer service – and you will quickly see how it connects to Guest Experiences! It’s only an introduction to whet your appetite – the application to the world of Guest Experiences for churches will come in the second summer term!

2016 GsD Summer Term 1: Survey of Customer Experience Literature 201

Text: Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Service the Mercedes-Benz Way

Author: Joseph A. Michelli

Synopsis: Why are Mercedes-Benz customers so loyal and passionate?  Because the people at Mercedes-Benz are Driven to Delight.

In his previous bestsellers – The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, and Prescription for Excellence – Joseph Michelli revealed customer experience practices and strategies of beloved businesses. Now, in his most recent book, he shares the greatest customer-driven insights behind one of the most iconic brand names in the world: Mercedes-Benz USA.

This is the story of how an organization became Driven to Delight.  It reveals the action plan Mercedes-Benz USA used to catapult the company to first place rankings in national customer satisfaction studies while at the same time growing sales and profits. With unprecedented access to company personnel, customer experience expert Joseph Michelli charts the journey the company took and identifies the all-important keys to driving delight in any customer-based organization. You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a compelling vision for exceptional customer experiences
  • Identify the ever changing wants, needs, and desires of your customer segments
  • Map out your key customer journeys and high value contact points
  • Effectively evaluate customer perceptions throughout their journey with you
  • Resolve customer needs swiftly and constantly improve your delivery processes
  • Link rewards and recognition to customer experience excellence throughout your organization

These proven techniques are part of the Mercedes-Benz USA “Driven to Delight” culture which sets a new gold standard in customer service, employee engagement, and peak performance. You’ll find step-by-step strategies that can be customized to fit your business model and customer needs. You’ll discover invaluable tools like Vision Mapping, Customer Journey Wheels, Customer-Centric Strategy and Resource Planning Processes –plus 20 Key Questions you can use to diagnose your progress and steer your company in the right direction.

Along the way, you’ll get a rare first-hand comprehensive view of a world-class company in action. You’ll see how a “best or nothing” organization became customer obsessed, mile after mile, year after year. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to ramp up your own customer experience, rev up your customer commitment, and take your customers on a journey that’s bound to delight–the Mercedes-Benz way.


Book Outline

Driven to Delight reveals:

  • How Mercedes-Benz USA launched a multi-year program to elevate their customer experience–even though their product was already “best in class.”
  • How they activated people, improved processes, and deployed technology to emotionally engage customers.
  • How the Mercedes-Benz approach can jump-start any customer-driven business―by accelerating your commitment to the customer experience.

Filled with exclusive front-seat insights from Mercedes-Benz employees, eye-opening testimonials from passionate Mercedes-Benz fans, and solid nuts-and-bolts advice for creating your own consumer-aligned road map, Driven to Delight will help you retool your strategies, reignite your customers, and refuel your team for the long haul.

Chapter Titles

  • Building the Map
  • From Promises to Committed Action
  • Examining and Refining Every Touchpoint
  • Measuring the Customer Experience: The Voice of The Customer as a Tool for Change
  • Alignment, Accountability, and Tools for the Front Line
  • Delight is a People Business
  • Fully Committed to Growth and Development
  • Driving Process and Technological Change
  • Integrating Processes into Enterprise-wide Solutions
  • Success Achieved
  • How Good Can Good Be?


About the author: Joseph A. Michelli is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant. His books include The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, The Zappos Experience, Leading the Starbucks Way, and Prescription for Excellence.

Additional Resources: Check out the book website Driven to Delight for more resources, including customer stories, a full-color  journey map described in the book, and additional information created by Mercedes-Benz USA as they undertook the journey to excellence.

A Quick Comment: 

Joseph Michelli’s reputation for insightful writing in the customer-service world is both well-deserved and much-appreciated. My first connection with his work was through his book The Starbucks Experience in 2006. In somewhat of a customer experience epiphany, I was actually reading the book in a Starbucks when I had the chance to learn first-hand how the baristas delivered an experience by turning the ordinary into extraordinary. That began my journey to observe, research, and connect the best practices of the corporate world and translate them into application for  ChurchWorld. Michelli’s subsequent works continued to demonstrate his ability to look behind the scenes of some of the best-known examples of customer service and deliver ideas to other organizations on how to put those ideas into practice in their sphere of influence.



Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD (Doctor of Guestology) is my tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the 2013 GsD Summer Reading 101 classes, you can begin reading a 10-part session here.

For more reading in the area of Guest Experiences, check out my Essential Guest Experience Library. I am always adding new resources for your learning pleasure!

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