This guest post is written by Xiao TU, Global Head of Lead Generation at shipping and inventory management platform, Brightpearl. Their solution includes financial management, inventory and sale order management, purchasing and supplier management, CRM, fulfilment, warehouse and logistics.
The relationship between customer and business is one of mutual benefit. If your customers are happy, your business will also be “happy” – and a happy business cannot help but grow, thrive, and become everything you know it has the potential to be. But how do you make – and more importantly – maintain customer satisfaction over time?
Like any relationship, customer happiness is a result of trust, sustained and exceeded expectations, and hard work. If this seems a bit daunting and you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. By weaving some fundamental practices and principles into your business model, you too can achieve continuous customer happiness.
Luckily, customer happiness is a whole lot more methodical and measurable than the happiness we try to achieve in our personal relationships (thank goodness, right?). With our seven tried and tested strategies, you too can exceed expectations at every level. This holistic, proactive approach will create not just a satisfied customer, but a truly happy one.
Being confident is not the same as forcing your great product or idea onto every stranger that passes your way. However, the importance of fully developing your brand identity through multiple dialogues like social media, email communication, and even loyalty programs that emulate your vision, is a sure way to not just attract customers but to make them happy too.
Why? Current and potential customers want something to relate to when they consider buying a product. The more developed your brand voice is, the more your product or purpose will appeal to a particular demographic. It could be the difference between finding a great vegan sneaker brand and then finding a great vegan sneaker brand that supports a great charity too.
It’s not that the other brand has anything against charities, it’s just that they haven’t woven this persona into their overall brand voice. The more a person can identify with your brand, the happier they’ll feel when they support you by buying their products or services. So how do you grow and nurture your brand voice? Ask yourself two simple questions:
That is, who are you as a brand? This question is very much tied up with the idea of who your target demographic is – who you’re trying to reach.
Why exactly are you trying to reach this audience? What’s your purpose? By showing the world your purpose and by having a good understanding of why this purpose matters, you’ll not only attract customers, you’ll keep them happy by being relatable.
With so many platforms with which to communicate directly with customers, why not take advantage of the insight that comes from the customer’s own voice? Arguably, the best way to make your customers happy might just be to ask them yourself and then really listen to their responses.
And, there are so many other options besides the usual, traditional CSAT surveys:
Listening to feedback and asking the right questions can prove invaluable insight into who your customers really are and what they really want. Don’t know what the best questions to ask are? Why not ask? This can help you become reflexive and adaptive as a brand, sure, but more importantly, it shows your customer base that you’re willing to act on their feedback.
Automation might seem a bit Blade Runner, but when it comes down to it, automating both customer and business support tools can help you streamline workflows and processes. Investing in a system like SAP automation can help with repetitive tasks in all areas of your business – from inventory, HR, finance, and sales.
With so many businesses jumping on board, and so many ingenious tools like Robotic Process Automation (which can actually learn by watching humans complete digital tasks to perfectly replicate the process), there’s no doubt that customers have come to expect outstanding, lightning-fast service at every level.
How does this promote actual customer happiness, you ask? Well, when your business can use automation anywhere, literally, you free up your best customer happiness tools: your employees. When repetitive tasks are automated, your employees can get back to making customers happy by solving problems, improving processes, and carrying your brand voice.
Another excellent way to promote customer happiness is by providing outstanding support when they choose to get in touch about an issue they’ve encountered that’s perhaps not made them particularly happy. But outstanding support can only happen if your business has full visibility of the channels that customers are using to contact you.
Omnichannel customer service support is an absolute must for businesses that take customer happiness to heart. Customers want and expect to be able to contact businesses in many ways: email, social media, live chat, website forms, you name it. Offering support from every channel, and broadcasting this, will keep customers satisfied and happy.
So what does your omnichannel support need to include in order to skyrocket the happiness factor of your customers? Well, whether a customer’s getting in touch via letter or email, the faster you can directly acknowledge their communication, the better. As support is your best avenue directly to your customer base, timely, human responses are the best way to show that you’re always available.
Omnichannel support insights can help you make your customers happy by always giving them a platform. So whether your customers need you to have the best video calling app, faster website loading speed, better navigation, or more straightforward searching functionality, omnichannel support is your best bet for figuring out what will make your customers happy.
Following swiftly on from omnichannel support is offering a myriad of strategies to help implement, track, and measure customer happiness. Measuring customer satisfaction and happiness will help you collect invaluable data and implement the changes customers want to see more quickly.
Customer feedback is a great way to measure how many customers are happy with you and what they are happy about. What’s more, “feedback” can encompass many forms of customer behavior, and all of them can help you track and augment strategy. Here are some ways to gather this precious information:
Implementing changes to promote customer happiness can extend to all parts of your business, of course. And, if you start with great overall service in the first place, customers will know they can expect great service from you in the future. This trust builds loyalty and, you guessed it, happiness.
There are so many behind the scenes ways to ensure your customer journey is seamless every single time:
For land-based operations, use stock control software to keep track of stock in different locations at all times. This can help you pre-empt potential shortages or surpluses and react accordingly.
Showing gratitude towards your valued customers is arguably one of the best ways to promote happiness, so don’t discredit those post-purchase emails just yet. But gratitude can, and should, play a role in every interaction you have with a customer. Expressing gratitude and happiness will help your company remain personable and human to the customers you live to serve.
Saying thank you during every interaction you have with a customer will promote a real relationship, but there’s no reason to not get creative. Try sending thank-you cards, offering loyalty programs, or even throwing in a little extra something into orders. And don’t forget the underrated superhero of customer appreciation, the humble ecommerce subscription model.
So, what’s the catch to all this happiness? Well, customer happiness needs to be the overall goal of everything you do, big or small. When customers feel that they can trust your business to meet their needs the right way, at every point of their journey, they’ll become loyal to your brand through sustained satisfaction, trust, and (you guessed it) happiness.
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