Let’s face it—everyone wants to have happy customers. ‘Customer happiness’ is the most used terminology in the market right now. And, you know what? This actually makes me extremely happy and excited. I love the fact that companies are taking efforts to make their customers happy in addition to thinking about the product and services offered. Businesses now know the importance of maintaining a good relationship with customers.
But wait, isn’t ‘happiness’ too vague? Is this a tangible goal to achieve and measure? Just try to draw a parallel between the relationship you have with your customers to the relationships you have in your personal life. Relationships are hard and we all know that. On a daily basis, people are trying out multiple ways to make each other happy, yet not all of us are successful. We know that relationships have a bumpy journey and that’s what makes them beautiful. It takes multiple heartbreaks before landing on the perfect relationship.
Customer relationships are formed with similar intentions. But thankfully, building a customer relationship is not half as hard. It’s all about understanding the transactional nature of the relationship. Keeping that in mind, it’s actually quite an easy process that can be followed—figure out your customer’s expectations, involve them in your ideation, meet their expectations, collect feedback, offer services, and create better experiences.
My thought process behind writing this article is to put a process to happiness. I know it’s hard to conceive the journey towards ‘customer happiness’ as a process because it’s more of a cultural and value-based shift. More to what meets the eyes, it is actually quite plausible to look at customer happiness as an actionable metric and have a set of guidelines that help you get closer to making your customers happy, one step at a time. But before we get to that don’t you think we should define customer happiness?
What is customer happiness?
Customer happiness, in the context of engaging with a product, primarily refers to providing a happy and satisfying user experience to your customers. It’s when the expectations of your users are met at the right time with the right intention.
Happy customers are in a happy relationship with you. Happy customers do not abandon you when you make mistakes; they give you a chance. Happy customers care for you just the way you care for them. They travel with you in your growth journey.
Making your customers happy can be a great goal to have in terms of understanding if your business is scaling up in the right direction. It’s also a direct measure of retention. Not that your happy customers are always loyal towards your brand but your loyal customers are definitely the ones that are happy. Which means happiness is the first step towards achieving loyalty and building a truly customer-centric brand. A happy and loyal customer becomes your brand’s true advocate.
11 ways to make your customers insanely happy with your brand
Let’s look at this as a proper manual. I need you to start by looking at an ideal customer-centric business. What are the things that you need? By following these 11 steps, you can be assured of setting up a truly comprehensive customer-centric business which will not fail to make your customers happy. Let’s split it three ways — Planning, building, and scaling.
Planning your happiness journey
Get your personality right
When it comes to making your brand likeable, it’s extremely important for your brand to have a personality and identity. It makes your brand easily relatable. Getting your persona right forms the foundation to the voice of your brand and embodies what your brand stands for. It portrays the ‘why’ factor.
Getting your personality starts by answering two basic questions—‘who’ and ‘why’.
Who refers to who you are as a brand and who your target audiences are. It is imperative to know your target audience persona for this because your personality must always be the right fit for your target audience. For instance, if your target audience consists of 70-year-old men and women, your brand cannot be youthful and cool.
The second question that you need to ask yourself is the why factor—objective of your brand. For instance, if your brand wants to stand as a thought leader and break the status quo in a particular domain then the voice should be strong and opinionated. A personality is going to help in humanizing your brand. It makes your brand more relatable and likeable. This is ideally the first step in crafting your customer’s happiness journey.
Listen to your customers
The next step to building a happiness journey and having happy customers is to start listening to your customers. Now that you know who your customers are, try to pay close attention to what they are looking for, what are the problems they are trying to face, how much are they willing to pay for the solution and so on. Listening carefully gives you a clear picture of your customer’s intention and expectations. And like I said before, the best way to make your customers happy is by knowing and meeting their expectations.
People expect brands to know what they want and assist them in getting it. And the brands that evolve their strategies around consumer intent will win.
– Jason Spero, Google
Set the right happiness goals
One major problem with happiness as a goal is that it’s not measurable. However, with a simple shift from measuring attitude to measuring behavior, we can solve this issue and make happiness an actionable indicator. Let me explain this: We all know that NPS is an indicator of loyalty and to an extent — happiness. But there is a general misconception that NPS should be a measure of attitude. That is, most brands ask “Would you recommend our product or service to your friends?” Though that gives an idea of how happy your customers are, it doesn’t translate to anything actionable. Instead of that if you change your survey question to “Did you recommend our product to anyone this week?” it gives an ideal representation of advocacy which actually makes your happiness quotient an actionable goal.
The next mistake that most of the companies make is to measure their customer’s overall happiness. Again, this is not useful. When you do that you will only be able to understand if the score is good or bad if your customers are happy or not, but you will not understand what caused the happiness or unhappiness. Thus, make sure that you set the right happiness goals before you start measuring it.
Building a customer-centric relationship
Design a great experience
Your product should be designed to provide a great experience. Ensure that your product supports your customer journey. While you design your product, always have a task-based approach rather than a feature-based approach.
Think of all the things your customer would want to achieve with your product to complete a job, create a journey map accordingly, and design your product in such a way that the experience and user interaction is not broken.
Your design should also ensure that it stands by your brand’s voice and persona. For instance, if your brand’s persona is luxury, then a black background can add more meaning than a different color. Always think in terms of offering a great experience instead of offering plain service or a set of features your customers would use.
Provide an A-class service
Customer service is your straight gateway to happy customers. Service is a way to meet your customer’s expectations. Ensure that you are in constant touch with your customers starting from onboarding. This is the time you can actually build a happy and loyal relationship with them. Have a complete understanding of why they are using your product and how to make the experience better for them. Understand what problems they are trying to solve using your products. Maintain a content repository to help them attain their goals easily. Talk to them, write to them, stay connected at all times. Send newsletters and product updates on a regular basis. Solve their queries efficiently and make them feel special.
Keep your employees happy
So much has been spoken about how happy employees make happy customers. Happiness is contagious; it spreads like wildfire. One of the easiest and the most effective ways to achieve happiness is to start with your employees. Inspire them, be nice to them, provide opportunities to grow, and make them happy. You will instantly see the domino effect it has on the outside.
Engage with your customers
Conversations make or break relationships. Same holds true for maintaining a happy customer relationship. It is important for your brand to engage your customers at the right intervals and frequency. You should make sure that you don’t overdo your engagement as well. One of the best ways to engage your customers is to have a live chat messaging software installed inside your product. This makes your brand accessible and reliable as your customers can reach out to you at any point. It allows you to stay in close proximity to your customers and be there for them whenever needed.
Customer engagement can mainly target these intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors like – deriving meaning, providing ownership, ensuring accomplishment, offering incentives, helping with social influence, and empowering your customers.
Provide a personal touch
Personalizing your website content, customer experience, and conversations allows your users to feel special and unique. Personalization can start with something as small as using the customer’s first name in the email or live chat conversation and range to customizing your web pages depending on the demographics of the viewers. Brands like Netflix, Airbnb, and Google do a fantastic job at offering personalized experiences to their customers.
Feedback is easily the most important step of all. It gives you validation of your strategy. There is no point in continuing to follow your happiness strategy if your customers don’t like what you offer. Feedback helps in pivoting your strategy and service offerings whenever needed. It also gives you a measure of how many customers are happy with you and what they are happy about. One thing to note about feedback is to be open to 360-degree feedback. What I mean by that is to generate feedback from all sources.
For example, happiness can be gauged by asking for feedback, by measuring user engagement within your product, by observing what people are saying about you on social media, by decoding testimonials and product reviews, by observing website traffic and trends, and multiple other ways. It is important for your brand to have both its eyes and ears open to ensure accurate feedback and also build a solid action plan. Here are some mediums to collect feedback:
- Focus Groups
- Point of Sale
- Social Media
- Communities and Groups
- Email and Web Forms
- CRM software
Testing the experience
A/B testing is your best friend when it comes to designing a happy experience. You need to understand that there is no one straight rule to get happy customers and crack happiness as a metric. It’s all about having multiple strategies and trying out what works for you. Ensure that you have different packages for a different target audience and keep testing out experiences. Collect data and decide if you can retain the strategy based on your goals.
Taking action on happiness data
Customer happiness data is definitely actionable. While measuring happiness, you need to first start with your happiness goal, test it for a particular period of time for a set of audience, measure data, and decide on retaining or discarding that particular feature. For example, if you are redesigning a feature you can have a goal to get 75% happy customers after 30 days of launch. If it doesn’t happen you need to look at ways to improve the design. Here are certain ways in which you can effectively measure happiness:
- NPS score – Measuring behavior instead of attitude
- Percentage of satisfied users – CSAT
- Mean satisfied score which is the average satisfaction score based on all the ratings
So, there it is. Happiness is definitely the best goal to have as it is useful in terms of branding and an actionable metric to measure your success. Use these 11 steps to plan, build and scale a truly customer-centric business with nothing but happy customers.