What does it take to have happy customers?
There are tons of articles written about being customer-centric, creating wow moments, customer engagement, proactive engagement, and everything else under the sun. I am not going to bore you by saying the same things again. Instead, I will share with you what I have done over the years to have happy customers and build long-standing relationships with them.
Here’s a simple, 4-step guide to help you have happy customers.
1. Reply to customers on time. This is not just about having happy customers. Nobody likes their messages unresponded or unattended to. Improve your first response time. This is by far the greatest thing you can do to ensure not just customers but anybody remains happy.
2. Maintain the NPS. Proactively engage with your customers. Both the happy customers and not so happy ones. Do not wait for them to start feeling miserable about the relationship or the product. Once the unhappy ones start screaming about your product, it will hurt your business and negative noise will soon spiral out of your control.
3. Challenge yourself. Log in to your computer realizing that work never ends, but know that work for the day can be exciting. Get inspired by looking at the people around you.
Keep your legs on the table; you never know the luck this can bring. When it works, do it again and again until the time it stops working. But now, realize that it was not the leg but what you did while keeping the leg up which got you the results.
Learn from your colleagues on how they have happy customers. If you feel frustrated about your lack of knowledge, channelize this in the gym. That is the only place you can show your anger—or perhaps in a marathon. Run, run and run like Forrest Gump, smash a half marathon and then kill the full. You will learn to feel accomplished through it and feel confident again.
When you drive past Pier 39 seeing all the people run, know that they are not just conquering the mile but winning back their confidence. Run when you are low, run when you are high. Run consistently. Run every Sunday. Run and feel confident.
That is perhaps a big reason people might run marathons.
Get back to work. It’s Monday again. Don’t have the Monday blues. If you have one, beat it. Call more, email more. Constantly make your customers aware that you exist. It doesn’t matter if you are in marketing, sales, customer success or support; they need to know you are there.
When you are shopping for a pair of shoes online but somehow recollect your competitor, open their website on the other tab. Learn to multitask. When you notice a customer logo on their page and realize that they are the same company who once loved your product, don’t feel bad. If you made someone really love the service you gave, they will come back—either from this company or from the next job they land in.
When Wednesday rolls in and your colleagues cajole you to go dancing, grab the chance to get to know them better. They are really good people. When the night ends, plan another fun day with them. Maybe a weekend to surf or a game together. You might learn to be competitive while being friendly being with them.
When you are done with the game and back in the living room with Elisa, learn to cook the pasta for the night. Realize that you have come a long way in life and you don’t have to survive on the soupy two-minute dorm food again. Cook the meal with her on Wednesday nights. You might even learn to become patient while chopping those onions. Patience wins customers. Patience keeps customers.
Don’t just eat the pasta, watch some movie. No, not just the ones like Rocky Balboa or The Wolf of Wall Street to pump you up for the next workday, but the ones for your heart, something that shows you the meaning of love, empathy, compassion, or at least compromise. These, in time will be far more valuable to keep your customers happy than what the motivational movies can do.
Back to Monday again. Open your Mac and smile for the NPS you currently have. If you don’t have a great one, work your ass off to improve it. Solve customer problems like their lives depend on you. Hustle and grind. But at the end of the day, don’t forget the game night with the boys.
Game night is all about winning as a team. You need to win as a team to keep customers happy. It’s not just about you winning. Cheer with them. Celebrate the win together.
Talk to your dad about the game. He might not watch the game with the boys like you anymore, but he still loves the game. Talk to him about customers. He might have handled more customers than you ever have. Learn from him, learn from his mistakes. He might have a story to tell, a perspective that you might be missing.
Don’t be whiny about taking your work home. Close your customer tickets while watching Seinfeld with Elisa, the comfort and warmth will make you respond better. Respond to your customers with love, respond to them with care. Remember, you are not responding to just their problems.
Break your boundaries of work and life. Take the apple pie your grandmother made for your coworkers. She wants more people to relish her pies and your colleagues want more grandma’s pie. Make both feel loved.
Enjoy life. Get lost in work and life. Both Elisa and your customer Lisa share a piece of you—give them both the best version of you. Make them want to be with you. Show them you love. Don’t just react—act.
4. Use Freshchat to keep your customers happy. Because a plan without action is just a dream.
Cover illustration by Karthikeyan Ganesh