SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER - VICTORIA GREENE
You know the old adage “the customer is always right”? It has long been popular in business, thought of as representing the attitude that can deliver optimal customer service - whatever the customer asks for, you provide, and whatever problem they have, you address.
Today, the problem with that approach is that it lacks subtlety, and, in some ways, doesn’t go far enough. What about the things that don’t get mentioned? The needs that aren’t stated, and the problems that are simply accepted? Now, “the customer is always right” is the bare minimum. You must go beyond that to excel.
After all, the reality of customer loyalty has changed and deepened. People don’t just go along with whichever companies will agree with them all the time. They want to develop fleshed-out business relationships and have meaningful support from the businesses they choose.
To that end, customer happiness is an area that more and more businesses are focusing on. It aims to ensure that a customer always has positive interactions with your company. And if you happen to slip up, it hopes that a customer’s goodwill toward your business will lead them toward giving you another chance.
Business is better with customer happiness at the centre of it. Here’s why:
1) It makes you more familiar with your product
It sounds crazy, but you may not know your product as well as you think - at least, not in terms of how it fits into your customer’s lives. Amazon sells the Echo, which some may simply use to catch up on the news in the morning. But another customer might use that same Echo for more complex automation tasks.
Fortunately, Amazon supports a number of integrations for those tech-heads who want to synchronise their lights during the holidays - and they love it.
If you’re familiar with all the ways in which your customers already use your product, think about the ways they’d like to use it, and cater to them. You’ll have fans for life.
2) It fosters trust between you and your customers
Think about the group of friends you hang out with. Why do you choose to engage with that particular group? It’s likely because being around them makes you happy. And over time, you’ve developed a trust and a bond with those friends. You might not be keen on having a total stranger come and sign for a package while you’re at work. But you’d trust a friend with that task.
You can build that same kind of bond with your customers. If you continue to deliver and they’re able to develop a happy feeling every time they interact with your business, they’ll grow to trust you over time. When it comes time to buy again, they’ll likely choose the business they trust over any of those they don’t.
3) It becomes part of your company culture
Developing a culture within your company is important for so many reasons. It becomes the badge that you and all of your employees wear. And it lets customers know that there are many people at your company who share their values.
When a focus on customer happiness is ingrained into your company culture, it makes a customer more likely to do business with you. They know that no matter whom they interact with (whether it’s a salesperson on the phone or a customer service agent online), that employee wants to do the best job possible.
4) It makes your employees happy
This is a side effect that not a lot of companies take into consideration, but it can do a whole lot in terms of preventing employees from getting burned out - and it can help lower turnover, too.
Most people want to work at companies they love. And most want to feel that they’re clocking out every day having made people’s lives a little better. Each employee wants to go to work with a sense of purpose. They want to solve problems. They want to feel satisfied after they’ve helped a customer find what they’re looking for, or after they’ve closed a support ticket.
When your company focuses on making customers happy, it makes your employees happy. It engenders positivity all around. And it makes waking up in the morning and coming to work something that they look forward to. And that’s something we should all want.
5) It forces your company to be proactive
So you offer a product or service to your customer. But ask yourself this: have you thought of every way that customer uses your product? Have you given serious thought to where they might get tripped up or experience an issue? Have you thought ahead to, say, make a return easy should a customer receive a defective unit?
Customers love when a they feel a business has thought about them, even in the worst of times. When you proactively aim to keep your customers happy, they tend to stay that way. And that’s good for business.
6) It breeds go-getters
You can absolutely tie this item to the one above if you so choose, because your employees are at their best when you say “tackle this problem” and then set them loose. And here, you may need some assistance looking for ways your company can be proactive in the pursuit for customer happiness.
If your employees are the ones who interact with customers on a daily basis, no one knows the needs and wants of those customers better than they do. They’ll undoubtedly be best at coming up with solutions. And discovering new ways to help will only motivate them to do it more.
Plenty of managers fear independent staff. They see them setting their own goals, leading their own training, and expanding their skills, and subsequently envision them buying online businesses, becoming entrepreneurs, and leaving altogether. But as long as you treat go-getters fairly, you’re far better off with them on your side!
7) It makes your company more human
Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a company that seemingly doesn’t care about you. You’ve likely experienced such an interaction. Maybe you’ve had an impossible time reaching customer service with a complaint, and you’ve been bounced throughout an automated phone system with no end in sight.
It doesn’t feel like a bunch of humans work at that business. Instead, it seems like a faceless corporate machine is at work - one that wants to take your money and interact with you as little as possible.
A focus on customer happiness makes your company seem more human. With every bit of happiness a customer gleans from your company, they see it less as an uncaring mass and more as a group of individuals who simply want to help.
So don’t hide behind a wall. Let customers know you’re ready to talk. Let them know their happiness is paramount. And they’ll reward you in kind.
Victoria Greene is a Chicago-based ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who loves being loyal to companies that deserve it. You can contact Victoria by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and read her blog at Victoria Ecommerce