“Our customer base grows by the happy customers that go out of our doors.”- Lee Densmore
The best way to describe the secret of a successful business, don’t you think? As humans, everyone strives to be happy, albeit the reasons for happiness differ. So also every company that wants to remain in business wants happy customers. Does every company know how to identify whether their customers are happy with them? Do you know how many customers are merely satisfied and how many are happy enough to continue doing business with you? Do you have customers that are so happy with your customer service that they will recommend you repeatedly? What are the signs of truly happy customers? Happy customers will practically glide your business along and see you through tough times and even overlook minor lapses – how many do you have? These loyal business users will also become long term business advocates and steer your company to success.
Look out for the signs of happy customers. Do remember that the converse of these signs could mean your business is in trouble.
Steady flow and high volume of business from a customer means that the customer is happy with your brand AND customer service. Enquiries about future products and plans will also be forthcoming. Happy customers will turn to you when your industry specific product or service is required. Keep your customer service quality and product quality exciting and continue experiencing this gratification that comes from happy customers.
Suggestions on what more they would like from your company and customer service means that they are interested in being with your company. A customer who wants to leave or is unhappy would never offer suggestions – they would just leave. Why bother if you are unhappy? Also happy customers complain less. Even if they do, it would be more in the form of constructive criticism that is conveyed in a calm manner. Unhappy customers soon turn angry and vengeful. Keep happy customers by over delivering on the suggestions or observations they provided for improvement. Constantly upgrade and monitor your customer service levels and be flexible to adapt to changes required as per specific customer needs.
Happy customers are your best marketers and advertisers. They will talk about you and spread the word about your services constantly. If you find the number of queries increasing from other people who could be customers, you should pat yourself on the back for having developed and maintained a strong and happy customer base. It soon becomes a cycle with your services being referred on by someone who was a referral of a current customer.
Send regular communication to your customers. You will know you have happy customers when customers revert with numerous questions and or issues. They will only revert because they trust that only your company has the answers and that their issues will be resolved quickly, efficiently and with top class customer service. Customers who are happy may also continue asking you questions even without any communication that they need to revert to.
When your customer service is truly top notch, your staff will have customer records handy and be able to identify each customer. They will be able to address each customer by name or the preferred form of addressal which will make your customers feel special, important and know that they are an integral part of your company. Your commitment to developing strong bonds and cordial working relationships makes customers happy customers.
As a regular exercise when you send out customer feedback survey forms, do you receive almost all of them back duly completed? Or do your customers feel it is a waste of time to provide feedback? If you have happy customers they will candidly express their opinion on the products or service and customer experiences. The more forms you receive with candid feedback, the happier it should make you – your customers love you.
Are you able to garner the same amount of excitement for any new product launch or a re-launched product or service? Are customers willing to spare their time to hear you out or do they cut you off? Happy customers will not only listen but also almost immediately express an interest in your offering. They trust that you are not trying to palm off a sub-standard offering, but have their best interests at the centre of whatever you do.
If your customers are happy, they will not hesitate to reach out to you immediately when they are faced with a problem regarding your product or service. This trust is only built with time but one instance of a lapse can shave off large amounts of that trust. Happy customers will keep returning to you in the knowledge that everyone in your company takes ownership of customers and their needs. Happy customers just know that their trust will never be misused or manipulated for gain.
Your customers are happy for sure when you see an ever expanding ‘bottom-line’. It is obvious that happy customers bring about a boom in business and will guarantee success for your business.
None of the yardsticks mentioned above are hard to do or keep a control on. It just requires putting your heart in to serving your customers and putting customers at the heart of everything you do. Happy customers are easier to deal with and will work alongside you to build your business and also provide unbiased feedback to let you know if you are headed in the right direction. However, do not rest on your past successes or hope that your superb reputation will carry you through forever. This is a constant and unrelenting process that is best kept pace with. Continue to strengthen your product or service line and build a formidable customer service team.
Ensure that you constantly convey through your actions, that your customers are at the core of everything you do. Knowing how to do this is serves as powerful tool to persuade potential customers and reiterate to existing ones that you are in the business to serve them. Keeping abreast of current and possible trends in the near future, both for your business and the respective lines of business your customers are in, will keep you ahead. You will be able to anticipate customer needs, have the time to better the product or service and serve it up to the customer almost as soon as they ask for it.
There is no question that making customers happy and keeping them so for the long haul is no cake walk. It is hard since it is not a one-off or something that can be done once and forgotten. It is a constant and every day endeavour that has no end but the gratification and benefits of happy customers far outweigh the sweat and toil. Happier customers also make for happy and long term employees since everyone wants to be associated with a company that is doing well. Sinking ship anyone?
It is possible that while seeking feedback, your customer is probably too busy to revert. Getting feedback is a tedious process and patience and persistence will see you through. It also might take some unearthing to figure out the reason for delays but would be worthwhile to know where your company stands vis-à-vis customer happiness. Listening carefully and attentively almost always is enough to ascertain customer moods and satisfaction levels. Building your company’s reputation is an arduous and Herculean task especially when there are so many unquantifiable and external factors acting against it. However, letting down your guard or your service levels even on a single instance could be the first nail in your business’ coffin, which must be avoided at any cost.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”- Warren Buffet