Every business wants happy customers. Happy customers become loyal customers, and loyal customers make for better business. In fact, a 10% increase in customer retention rates can increase a company’s value by 30%, according to Bain & Co.
Most companies recognize how customer satisfaction fuels growth; without it, the whole business suffers. But focusing on customer satisfaction on the frontline isn’t enough. Customer happiness is more than a customer-facing duty—it’s a business philosophy that has to come from the top to really stick.
Here are five ways to build a customer-centric philosophy that breeds happy customers.
5 Tips on Creating Happy Customers
1. Personalize your customer experience.
It’s noisy online. The web produces 5 exabytes of new online content daily. (That’s 5 billion gigabytes.) It’s no wonder consumers want personalization more than ever. Customers are overloaded with information as it is, so companies that ignore their individual needs will have a hard time capturing their attention.
According to Campaign Monitor, marketers reported a 760% increase in revenue from segmented email campaigns. Personalization leads to quality customer interactions, and there are a variety of ways to achieve it:
- Personalized messages use customer data (like first name, last name, company, and industry) to speak to the individual. This kind of personalization works well in email outreach.
- Personalized content uses customer feedback and preferences to deliver targeted information. Instead of sending one-size-fits-all content, companies tailor their messaging to each customer’s interests, location, and behavior. This works great for nurture emails and newsletters intended to boost customer engagement.
- Personalized suggestions help customers discover relevant content online. “Customers Also Bought..” and “People Like You…” sections are great examples. These targeted suggestions are born from consumer preference and behavioral data, and they play on consumers’ inherent trust in peers.
You can also let customers opt into the information they want. There are plenty of ways to gauge customer interests, but asking people what kind of content they want to see is the best way to get it right. During onboarding or after purchase, consider sending a quick survey to learn more about your customers. You can ask them about their product interests, contact preferences, and lifestyle. Just make sure to integrate surveys with Salesforce so the results can guide your future campaigns.
2. Ask for customer feedback.
An old-school aversion to criticism often prevents organizations from running customer satisfaction surveys, but that mentality can kill customer relationships. In the age of customer experience, the more you know, the better you’ll fare.
Happy customers don’t just seem happy, they say they are. That’s why customer satisfaction metrics are the true barometer for customer health. CSAT surveys collect timely feedback on the customer experience. The results can highlight problems that need fixing and bridge the gap between company and customer. Negative customer feedback can even spur action that prevents those customers from churning, but you have to ask the questions first.
The Net Promoter Score survey is another way to measure customer happiness. Rather than gauging satisfaction at specific touch points, NPS surveys tell you how likely customers are to recommend your business to others. As a result, your NPS score speaks to customer loyalty and customer health. Paired with CSAT surveys, it delivers a pretty clear picture of customer happiness.
Since these metrics impact top-level business goals like reducing churn and increasing recurring revenue, the results needs to live in your CRM. By recording responses onto customer contact records, you can catch customer satisfaction trends at specific stages in the customer journey. From there, it’s much easier to identify issues.
TRY THIS: Use an embedded survey question in your email, so recipients can respond with a single click from their inbox. This simple tweak can drastically improve survey response rates. And don’t forget to write effective survey subject lines; without a compelling reason to open it, your email survey won’t get the attention it deserves.
3. Deliver omni-channel support.
We all know customer service has a huge impact on customer experience. Happy customers are often born from positive customer support interactions. But beyond the fundamentals, what can companies do to deliver customer service that truly impacts their bottom line?
Omni-channel customer support is the new frontier for organizations looking to provide a seamless customer experience. Omni-channel support unites every avenue of customer contact so you can deliver the same quality of service no matter the medium. This means if a customer calls, emails, chats, tweets, or self-serves by visiting the web or mobile site, they can count on consistent service. And as McKinsey noted, consistency is the secret to happy customers.
Why is that? Well, consider a support interaction from the customer’s perspective. Two thirds of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a support rep, which means I’ll likely try to find an answer on my own first. If I can’t, there’s already a twinge of frustration. Then I try to contact support and it takes minutes to figure out how. Plus, I’m on my phone and the site isn’t mobile-friendly. When I finally call or email, my frustration has risen, along with the sense that this company doesn’t care much about my experience.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Even the savviest, most customer-centric companies struggle to provide a top-notch customer experience. There are likely one or more gaps they’re unable to spot and thus unable to fill. Plus, it’s impossible to plan for every customer and every situation. Sometimes you’ll miss the mark. That’s why measuring customer experience is key.
There are plenty of specific customer experience metrics teams can rely on to track service quality, but CSAT and NPS survey results represent the voice of the customer. Use post-interaction CSAT surveys to grade each support case, and consider adding similar functionality to your knowledge base articles. Bad article ratings quickly reveal which topics need more attention, and if you allow for open-ended responses, visitors might tell you exactly what an article is missing. Improving it can help with ticket deflection, freeing up precious time for your support team.
4. Use the right language.
Kayako found that specific phrases and words can create more positive customer feelings. This language not only humanizes a business, but it helps buffer negative customer interactions. Here are some of those customer-conscious phrases:
- Sure thing, you can do this by…
- I know what we can do…
- The best thing to do would be to…
- Let’s help you find another way to…
- Happy to help!
- Let me know if I can help you with…
- We have something similar, would you like to try it?
See how this language is more conversational and friendly than a stuffy We apologize for this inconvenience? The tone is helpful, upbeat, and human. Try it the next time you’re dealing with an unhappy customer.
5. Make your employees happy.
Wait, weren’t we just talking about customers? That’s right, but think about how many customers a single employee interacts with over the course of a day, let alone a month or year. It isn’t even close to a 1:1 ratio. A support agent or sales rep might talk to thousands of customers a year. And a single interaction could be the lasting impression a customer has of your entire business.
Even happy employees have off days, and it’s hard to keep that from seeping into your work. An especially unhappy employee would find it near impossible to deliver high-quality work. It’s tough to make customers happy when you’re miserable.
As Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson told Inc., “If the person who works at your company is not appreciated, they are not going to do things with a smile.” It’s pretty easy to understand how that translates into the language, tone, patience and other key elements your employees use as they interact with your customers. Keeping the people closest to customers happy and engaged is just good business sense. Happy employees will emit excitement, pride, and satisfaction that carry through to customers.
Work on building positive, meaningful relationships with your employees. Make sure to tie their work to the organization’s success. This can be as simple as measuring employee happiness with pulse surveys, providing appropriate pay and benefits, and asking for their input on the company’s path. Happy employees lead to happy customers.
Businesses need to be laser-focused on customer relationships to breed happy customers. Be sensitive to their time and needs. Understand who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish. Speak to them on their level.
Any organization’s success is tied closely to its customers’ success, so help them get there by reducing friction wherever possible. Give customers the opportunity to share feedback at every touch point. They may speak up rather than pack up the next time they have a bad experience.
Happy customers pay in dividends. They’ll sing your praises, they’ll be loyal to your brand, and they’ll help you build a company on customer experience.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2016. It’s been updated for accuracy and freshness.