As we know by now, knowing how to keep your customers happy is absolutely essential for any business that wants to succeed in today’s market. While companies have certainly paid lip service to the importance of the customer experience, it’s only recently that we have really started to understand how important a happy customer is to a business.
For one thing, a happy customer means faster growth and revenue. Multiple studies (here and here) conducted in recent years have all shown a direct correlation between the amount of revenue a company generates and the amount of investment they make into customer success.
Image via Forrester
But tapping into this powerful growth engine is easier said than done. Knowing how to make a customer happy, let alone implementing a strategy to achieve it, is a battle all on its own.
But, the good news is, it isn’t impossible. It turns out there are a number of key elements that make up every successful customer success strategy.
According to research by McKinsey, the number one thing that’ll turn a customer from being merely satisfied with your brand or product to being happy with it is consistency.
And I’m not just talking about consistently putting out a great service or product but ensuring a consistent experience throughout the entire customer journey.
It’s easy to forget that over the course of even a single purchase a customer will interact with a brand multiple times. It’s just not enough to make a customer happy with a single touchpoint.
If your customer doesn’t receive a consistently positive experience through every stage of their journey then you drastically decrease your chances of achieving customer happiness. What’s more, even if a customer has a great experience 9 out of 10 times, a single bad experience will cause them to form a negative opinion of your brand.
To drive home the point, a recent survey by Accenture found that 65% of customers get frustrated over inconsistent experiences or information presented across different channels. And that’s just one stage of the customer journey.
Image via Slideshare
In order to ensure that your customers are enjoying a consistent experience, it helps to break down your customer journey into its individual stages. Then, using your customer experience data, pinpoint the stages and interactions where negative experiences are common. From there it’s a matter of ensuring that you have the systems and tools in place to build a consistently positive experience for every customer.
The key to making a customer happy as opposed to being merely satisfied is the emotional connection a customer develops with the brand. Achieving customer happiness takes more than just providing a great product or service, but the brand’s ability to fulfill a customer’s emotional needs as well.
Fulfilling that emotional need can impact a business in a variety of ways, from their marketing message and brand positioning to the packaging and design of their product.
For example, for Max Life Insurance, they understood that the purchasing motivations behind their customer went beyond simple financial security. After conducting multiple customer surveys and studies they found out that the emotional motivation behind purchasing insurance had to do with a desire to feel safe in their future, to feel secure, and that they’re succeeding in life.
In order to figure out how to develop an emotional connection with your customer, you have to be able to understand what is motivating their purchasing decision, why they chose to do business with your brand specifically, and how you can discover those emotional motivations.
To help you identify those emotional motivations for your own customer here are the top 10 emotional motivators discovered by Harvard Business Review:
Image via Harvard Business Review
Once you’re able to determine the key emotional drivers of your customers, achievable through research methods like customer surveys and using text analytic tools, it’s time to implement a strategy designed to fulfill those emotional drivers.
The final piece of the puzzle in developing a successful strategy for customer happiness is to ensure that your customer always feels like they’re being heard.
Traditionally, this was achieved by brands investing in their customer support department and measuring success through metrics like amount of time it takes to respond to a complaint, or how many tickets are sent through. While important to the customer experience, these metrics are only half of the equation.
The problem with relying solely on your customer support department is that you’re mainly reacting to problems when they arise. For the majority of the time, customers won’t bother registering a complaint and will simply choose to stop doing business with you.
The only way to change this is to adopt a company-wide policy of active listening. This can happen through customer feedback, product reviews and social media.
The advent of social media that means that communicating with customers, and resolving their issues can happen through multiple channels from the customer support tickets you receive to a message on Twitter. By actively listening to your customers through all these different channels you’ll also be able to learn more about your customers in real-time, identify trends in the marketplace, and even solve problems before they even happen.
The more a customer feels like they’re being listened to, and that their opinion is valued, the more appreciative they will be when doing business with your brand. The more you communicate with them, the more insights you’ll receive, and you’ll be better equipped to anticipate their needs.
Taking the time to ensure that your customers are happy is not an easy task. It takes no small amount of research and experimentation before you find the strategy that works best for you.
But I can wholeheartedly assure you that when you do, not only will your customers be happier and more loyal, your revenue growth will also accelerate to a whole new level.
By making sure that you’re incorporating the three key elements outlined in this article, you can be sure that you’re well on your way to keeping your customer happy.