By Ashwini Dave
Customers of the 21st Century are heaped with more choices than ever before. All it takes is a single negative experience for them to switch their loyalty to another brand. The time has arrived for businesses to put customer happiness as the top priority. Customer experience ultimately results in customer success or happiness.
And it pays rich dividends, too. These supposed dividends come in the form of customer loyalty. Customer loyalty has several benefits, like:
- Repeat purchases
- Reduced marketing overheads
- Word of mouth marketing
- High-margin purchases
- And so on
Here’s how you can create loyal customers by focusing on customer happiness.
1. Create an Emotional Connection with Customers
Businesses might consist of transactions, but each transaction is an opportunity to create an emotional connection with customers. The world’s most powerful companies create that bonding every time they meet, greet, and do business with customers.
But, what constitutes a strong bond with customers? How is it different from the emotion we feel in personal relationships?
A connection with customers is largely related to how a customer feels about a business. It is the positive feeling they get each time they are reminded of the brand. And that stems from repeated positive experiences.
Take, for instance, the Domino’s ordering experience, where if you are running short on time, you can place a quick order through the Domino’s chatbot. Have you thought years ago that it would be possible to place an order without having a conversation with a human being?
Here a customer doesn’t need to download any additional application. It takes just a few steps to place an order, start, choose, enter details of address and payment and your order is on your way! Domino’s chatbot also keeps history of your previous orders so if you want to reorder the same stuff easily. When you get stuck somewhere, the bot will transfer your chat to a human agent to make you comfortable and to solve your query easily.
2. Personalize Your Offerings
Time and yet again, there is one aspect of doing business that will never change. It is personalizing the offerings to customers. Now, personalization serves two purposes. It helps segment customers into various categories based on their individual traits. It can be based on several demographic conditions like age, location, gender, income, etc.
Also, customers consume content through a wide range of channels. It is necessary, therefore, to reach them with the right content, the right information at the right time to heighten their engagement or get them interested in another purchase.
In marketing, personalization takes another route. For example, in email marketing, addressing the recipient by their first name can make the customer feel more personally connected to the sender. In eCommerce, personalizing the product suggestions based on the user’s wishlist or browsing history can increase sales. On a website, it can be a live chat software or a chatbot that interacts with the customers with a human tone to offer product suggestions or customer support.
In fact, it is personalization that helps Netflix keep its viewers hooked to the screen.
3. Be Quick to Respond
Do you know what disappoints customers the most? Well, it’s late responses to their queries or complaints. The most important attribute of great customer service is fast response time. Unfortunately, businesses do not show much urgency when it comes to responding to customer complaints.
Studies by SuperOffice have shown that the average response time in terms of responding to customer service requests is 12 hours and 10 minutes. That is almost half a day! Way too long by any measure. In fact, the slowest response time was eight days. It is obvious, in such cases, that the customer will not only be disappointed but will also have switched loyalty to competitors.
In customer service, speed matters. First contact resolution matters. Customers want quick, if not instant remedies. And it can be delivered only if the support team is streamlined for quick action.
Most of the customer complaints come through email, chat, phone, or through social media. Using an omnichannel customer service or help-desk software can help reduce the response time to a bare minimum. Customers whose queries are solved faster will invariably feel happier than the rest of the lot.
4. Be Socially Approachable
An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues. Social media is the new broadcast center for anything good or bad. Customers find it convenient to reach out to brands through their social media handles. A social media post, like a Facebook post or a tweet, makes a business accountable in terms of taking immediate action. Also, when such action ends in customer delight, it doubles up as social proof of exemplary customer service.
For example, Apple support seems to be extremely active when providing support through social media.
Now, that establishes why your business should be approachable on social media. There is also another upside to being approachable on social media. You build a strong relationship with customers.
Be it to share seasonal greetings or run contests; social media can act as a bridge that cements your relationship with customers. You can even use images of customers to strengthen the bond. GoPro does that right by showcasing the best customer shots from around the world on its social media handles, especially on its Instagram handle.
For we all know, nothing makes a customer happier than getting featured in the Photo of the day post.
5. Collect Feedback and Work On It
This might seem like a no-brainer. However, the reality is businesses collect feedback but do not act upon it. On the other hand, at least 52% of customers expect businesses to take action on their feedback.
In other words, don’t just collect feedback and do nothing. Act on it. Collecting feedback and acting on it proves that the business actually listens to its customers and acts on them. Also, there is a higher probability that the feedback contains ideas and suggestions that can improve the business offerings.
There is a classic example of customer feedback helping improve business offerings. It is none other than Amazon. Amazon collects customer reviews for all the products it sells. But, at one point in time, the reviews were too many, and it was difficult to rank the good ones. That’s when Amazon turned to customers for help. They added a small CTA ‘was this review helpful’ to every review. This helped the retailer screen the best reviews that can be showcased at the top. Needless to say, it has changed the way customers arrive at buying decisions.
From Customer Success to Customer Happiness
There used to be a time when businesses were focusing only on one goal — customer satisfaction. But, those times are in the past. Businesses, today, have to take care of customer success and customer happiness. They have to go above and beyond the usual responsibilities of providing customer support. Proactive customer support, personalized customer support, social media interactions all have become necessary to keep customers happy.
The idea is to shower customers with individual attention so that they feel valued. And such attention-showering makes customers feel more connected to the business. It is this same tactic that makes Netflix the best pastime activity.
If you are keen on making your customers happy, you must start making changes to the way your business interacts and responds to them. Remember, speed is the name of the game, and slow responses creates irate customers. Thus, quick responses are the way to go.
So, how are you planning to make your customers happy? Let us know your unique ideas in the comments.