“The easiest and most powerful way to increase customer loyalty is really very simple. Make your customers happy” – Kevin Stirtz
In the previous article, we discussed about how a company can ensure its customers are happy. In this exposition, we will examine what happy customers ‘look’ like. A company could make every effort to keep customers happy, but they may not succeed in these efforts. It makes then to know the ‘face and behaviour’ of happy customers – right. Every business wants customers, and must ensure that they keep customers satisfied to avoid churn. Without understanding what they need to look for when ascertaining customer satisfaction, they could be making efforts in vain and would lose customers. The good news is that it is possible to know what happy customers look like and the traits they would exhibit. Keep an eye and ear out for these aspects, and your company could easily replicate the ‘happy’ results from one to the other customer.
Happy customers are a lot easier to do business with, their business is consistent, and they would increase the amount of business, as the association continues. Happy customers would not limit themselves to the current business relationship, but would be happy to explore other avenues of business, buy other products and or services, and for them the company would become the ‘go to’ partner for everything with regard to their particular industry. If your customers were happy with you, they would soon become loyal to the point that they would refuse to buy from anyone else, even if your company’s products were priced marginally higher than similar products from other companies. They would consistently buy, and would send more customers your way by speaking highly of their experiences. This means, happy customers are not price sensitive, and would continue to trust that the company they are in business with, is providing them the very best for what it is charging them. Happy customers soon become emotionally connected and involved with a company. They will go all out to promote your company, would trash any negativity around your company, and would double up as a ‘sales army’ to enable your company to sell more.
As mentioned, happy customers will consistently buy from a company. More critical to know about such customers, is the fact that they would not mind a little inconvenience just so they can buy from a company they prefer for business. Location and convenience would take a back seat when compared to loyalty. There are several such businesses, for example: eateries have customers drive from across town or even from a neighbouring town just so that they can eat at their favourite joint. This is customer loyalty and happiness at its best, and in the current competitive scenario, every company must strive to gain such customers. It is all about the responsibility that a company takes to ensure this happens – consistently. In addition, happy customers would refuse to buy from any other company or even an alternative product even if the product / brand of their choice were out of stock. They would rather wait and get exactly what they want, and from their ‘favourite’ company.
Happy customers are more amenable to the solutions provided by a company, in the event that some unforeseen problems erupt. They are unlikely to blame the company, and would in fact ensure that play a prominent role in finding solutions. They would rarely complain, and even if they may be displeased about something, they would present their views in a calm and composed manner, and definitely not on a public forum. Happy customers do not publicize the shortcomings of a company they are pleased with, even if there are occasional lapses. For a company, it is essential to respect and treat with care, all such customers, and make amends with those customers who may seem to be regularly venting their frustration about the company and its offerings. By making extra effort, it would be possible to turn disgruntled customers to happy and loyal ones. Flexibility, dedication, and agility are key traits of any company with a large number of happy customers. Is your company part of this group?
Even without asking, happy customers would provide referrals to a company for other potential customers. They would ‘sing praises’ of the company, post happy comments, and reviews on every on-line forum possible, and spread the word of mouth in offline scenarios. Such referrals and testimonials prove to be more effective and potent than any other form of promotions and advertisements. Research has revealed that an increasing number of people now believe the ‘statements’ of existing customers of a company, and before buying look up reviews and comments, and would buy from a company with more positive feedback. With a little effort, a company can make most of its customers, happy customers, and gain all these long-term benefits.
Another vital trait of happy customers is that they would not bad mouth a company. They would much rather bring their problems and issues to the notice of the company. They would approach the company with the confidence that it would be able to resolve the issues for them, and would offer solutions that would prevent the reoccurrence of problems. Their trust and dependability would be very apparent in all their interactions with a company, and in fact, they would make consistent efforts to enhance these feelings. A company can keep its happy customers so, by making them feel valued and important, and doing whatever possible to sustain the trust the customers have. A company focused on the happiness of its customers would remember customer names, their history with the company, their preferences, dislikes, quirks, special requests, and other things that would make customers feel special.
Happy customers do not wait to be asked for feedback. They would be at ease, and would confidently provide feedback even if negative, to the company simply because they would be certain that the company would act on their advice. The trust level in such customers would be high enough in such customers that they would accept new products and or services from the company without question. They would in fact, line up and express their eagerness to try out the new offerings from the company. The premise would be that the company would have their best interests in mind, and would not try to sell anything of average quality and or utility to them, irrespective of the cost or effort required from the company.
Keeping customers happy is not a cakewalk though. Happy customers leave a number of decisions and resolutions to the business, because they are confident that the company would provide the most accurate ones, and would manage the entire process. Even one lapse in this process, could diminish some amount of trust, especially if the lapse may have occurred due to carelessness and lack of focus in ensuring that the problem were fixed. Customers have very low tolerance for shoddy service, especially if the problem is completely manageable and in the control of the company. If customers trust that their needs will be met, it would be prudent for a company to uphold that trust and go the extra mile to keep customers happy.
No company should underestimate the ‘power’ of happy customers. Investing in satisfying and keeping customers pleased, not only adds hugely to the bottom line of the company, but also makes the company an authority and formidable force in the marketplace. Customers become happy when the experience top class customer service, high quality products, competitive pricing, and receive courteous treatment. Their happiness, over time becomes very apparent through a number of ways, with loyalty and brand advocacy being at the top of the list.