The foundation of any business is the relationship between enterprise and client, service provider and customer, seller and buyer. Without customers, even the best business model in the world is worth nothing, which is why it is fundamental that we foster and maintain lasting customer relationships.
What is Customer Happiness?
Customer happiness is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the degree to which your customers, or clients, are satisfied with the products and services you provide. In business, as in life, the happier others are with the relationships they hold with you, the more likely they are to interact with you more often, and invest more into that relationship.
Here’s a brief look at some of the many metrics by which customers consciously and subconsciously judge their level of contentment with your business:
- Quality and efficiency of customer service
- Quality and efficiency of customer support
- Quality and longevity of products sold
- Effectiveness and accessibility of services provided
- Affordability of products and services offered
- Your brand’s identity (how closely it aligns with the customer’s identity)
- Your brand’s ethics and politics (how closely they align with the customer’s worldview)
As you might already can tell by the fairly long list of elements affecting customer happiness, keeping customers satisfied is not always easy.
Nevertheless, it is important, and by following this guide to building lasting, happy customer relationships, you’ll be able to master the art in no time.
Importance of Making Your Customer Happy: 4 Key Benefits
There are a vast multitude of reasons why it’s important that you make (and keep) your customers happy. Here, however, is a look at four of the greatest benefits to looking after your clients.
A happy customer is a loyal customer. Think about it, why do you frequent the specific online and offline stores you do? Why are your favorite shops your favorite shops? The answer, almost certainly, is because you’re happy with the brand(s) or service provider(s) in question.
When we find a company we like, and are impressed by their products, services, customer service and support, we quite naturally settle into a pattern of engaging with that company on a regular basis.
From the company’s perspective, this means that simply by ensuring a customer’s satisfaction, they have simultaneously ensured a reliably regular cash flow from that individual.
Happy Customers Spend More
The second key benefit to keeping customers satisfied is more-or-less directly tied to the first. In encouraging a customer to become a lifelong patron of your business, you are also encouraging them to spend more than they might otherwise.
Again, it’s worth considering your own experiences as a customer. Imagine going to your local cinema to view a new movie. If the cinema makes the experience of going to see that film pleasurable, chances are you’ll also spend money there buying popcorn, a soda or beer, maybe even a ticket to another movie screening the following week.
Customer happiness runs in direct correlation to customer spend.
As any business owner, brand, or public figure knows, the most difficult part of selling yourself is simply getting the word out to your target demographic.
With so much content being pumped out into the ether every millisecond of every day, traditional marketing has to fight ever harder to find a foothold and attract customers.
At the end of the day, the most effective form of marketing remains the kind you simply can’t buy: word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is especially effective for two simple reasons:
- People trust the opinions of people they know and like, such as their friends and family
- People tend to recommend things to others they think will also like them (i.e. your target demographic)
When you make customers happy and keep them that way, they’ll tell other like-minded people in their social circle about your products, services and brand, thus expanding your potential customer or client base.
Happy Clients Give Genuine Feedback
Last, but certainly not least, it’s worth keeping in mind the value of sincere feedback. With ties to the previous point, positive feedback is important because it’s one of the first things other potential customers or clients will look for when considering engaging with your business or brand.
If a person is unsure about you, or simply hasn’t engaged with a service or product like yours before, they’ll look for confirmation that they can trust in the quality of your company. Genuine feedback given by happy customers (and a happy customer is liable to leave it) is exactly what you need to tip the scales in your favor, and win that customer/client onto your side of the fence.
6 Strategies for Building and Maintaining Healthy Customer Relationships
So, now that we’re aware just how beneficial customer happiness is, the question remains: How do we build and maintain these all-important healthy customer relationships?
Let’s take a look at our 6 top tips for customer satisfaction.
Treat Your Customer as a VIP
Ever heard the saying “The customer is always right”? Of course you have. Anyone who’s ever worked in hospitality, retail, or customer service has had this phrase drilled into their very being. As painful as it can be, at times, to keep this in mind, there is an important reason the saying continues to be used in staff training to this day.
It’s quite simple: who doesn’t like being treated as a VIP? When a customer is made to feel like they have your 100% undivided attention – when they feel that you are aware of their anxieties, wants and needs – they are happier. Make a list of ways your business could go out of its way to give each individual customer an experience that puts them at the center, and then implement that list.
Value Customer Feedback
They say all press is good press. Well, in a similar vein, all feedback is good feedback! Our goal here is to improve the customer experience to the point at which they are not only happy, they are along for the ride. We want to build long-lasting relationships with our customers. To do so, they not only need to feel as though their voice is being heard, but you must actively listen!
Seek out customer feedback, even the bad stuff, and value it. Use it to identify problem areas in your customer service, as well as in your product line, brand identity and ethics, business efficiency, and so on. Similarly, use it to identify what you’re doing right! Having gathered this feedback, you can address any issues, champion any positives, and increase customer happiness overall.
Offer Exciting Rewards and Exclusive Privileges
A particularly novel way to make your clients and customers happy is to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. Customer loyalty schemes – such as those found in popular coffee shop chains like Starbucks – are super simple and affordable to install. They give customers a reason to keep coming back, since loyalty is rewarded with exciting prizes and privileges.
Giveaways held on social media are another great way to engage your current (and a wider pool of potential) customers. Even though there can only be one winner with each giveaway held, customers enjoy the thrill of taking part and believing that they may win something, and so will subconsciously be encouraged to form a lasting relationship with your brand.
Establish a Customer Community
Community comes naturally to human beings; we’ve evolved not only to want it, but to need it. However, in today’s world of metropolises and digital ‘socializing’, it is in fact something we’re in dire shortage of. By providing a space where customers can interact with each other – and thus with like-minded people – you add genuine value to their brand experience.
A customer community is not necessarily something which is going to generate conversions, be they sales or leads. Nevertheless, it’s worth establishing if you can. Discord, Reddit, Facebook, in-person meet-ups (such as book clubs hosted by bookshops) are all viable platforms for customer communities which help to foster and maintain longevous and healthy customer relationships.
Have a Reliable Customer Support
Don’t underestimate the importance of superior customer support (AKA customer service). The fastest way to lose a loyal, happy customer is to make them jump through hoops to have their problem resolved.
Whilst it may be cheaper these days to direct customers to online, AI support bots and FAQs, people still much prefer having the option to talk to a real human being who not only knows what they’re doing, but is polite, professional, and quick.
Good customer support will keep customers around far longer than good products or services alone ever will.
Respond Promptly and Professionally to Your Clients
Lastly, and in a similar vein to the previous point, make sure to respond promptly and professionally to your clients. Whilst the client-freelancer or client-business relationship is different to that between a business and its customers, the benefits of concise and clear communication remain the same.
Clients won’t be around forever, but they’ll keep coming back to you as long as they have business to give you provided you respond quickly, are attentive to their needs, and always professional.
What makes clients happy?
Lots of things make clients happy, but as a business you should be primarily concerned with the quality and expediency of your customer service, communication channels, and the individually-tailored customer experience you provide. Though products and services may serve as the hook, it is these elements which build long customer relationships.
What is customer service satisfaction?
Customer service satisfaction is the level of contentment a customer experiences, combined with the degree to which they feel their needs have been met, following an interaction with one of your team. The more satisfied you keep your customers, the better for your business.
What makes a loyal customer?
A loyal customer is made over time by a combination of things, including: customer identification with your brand ethics and identity, their satisfaction with the services and products you provide, the value you add to their day-to-day, and the degree to which your customer support fulfills their needs.
Building long-lasting customer relationships is not just good for business, it’s downright fundamental. To do so, you must first make your clients and customers happy. Then, you must keep them that way.
About the Contributor
Veselin Mladenov is the Content Manager of ThriveMyWay. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of corporate marketing and sales, and decided to pursue his passion - digital marketing and content creation.
LinkedIn: Veselin Mladenov