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Do you want happy customers?
Of course, you do. No business wants unhappy customers. But how do you know they’re happy? Repeat business isn’t necessarily a sign of happiness, as proved by the concept of customers as hostages (when customers don’t want to buy from you but feel like they don’t have a choice.)
Is it, in fact, even possible to measure happiness?
Every year the United Nations publishes its World Happiness Report, ranking the planet’s countries in order of the happiness of its citizens. (The happiest nation is Finland, for the fourth year running.)
It sounds like a tough gig, but the metrics used by the UN are easy to understand and relate to how happy people are: life expectancy, corruption, levels of anti-depressant use, and so on.
So what if we could do something similar with our customers and create a marketing equivalent of the World Happiness Report to find out how happy they are with our services?
Stop measuring the wrong things.
This would be distinct from, hopefully, more valuable than the traditional indicators of success. Metrics such as how many users visit your site, the conversion rate, and the basket size are essential, but they’re missing something.
They can’t tell you how the customer feels because they’re all about your business, not the customer.
Instead, we need to think about engagement and satisfaction. Both are much talked about and sought after but rarely appropriately measured or understood well. Marketers sometimes miss the point even when a brand has an active social media presence, making it easier to judge how engaged your audience is.
Engagement is about more than numbers.
It’s often assumed that a high number of followers automatically means you’re doing something right, and while that’s not untrue, it doesn’t mean you’re engaging people. Or that they’re satisfied.
You might have 500,000 followers, but they’re not engaged if most aren’t liking, sharing, or commenting. If they are engaged, chances are there is at least some interest in what you do, which is half the battle won. Conversely, if you have 50,000 followers and half are engaging, they’re worth more.
There is the question of assessing the sentiments behind engagement. Considering that people are happy has a problem because people are more likely to express a negative emotion than a positive one, and negativity tends to be over-represented.
Complaining is an expression of frustration and a means of retaliating. Complaining about a bad experience seems more straightforward than being complimentary about a good one, but being nice? There’s not much in it for the customer.
Just ask what they’re thinking.
The best way of encouraging positive feedback is to ask for it – or instead, ask for feedback. People need prompting to make an effort, but it doesn’t need to be complicated – long surveys are arduous and tedious for the customer – so keep it to something simple, like a post-purchase SMS.
And while the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used everywhere, in an age when how people interact with and recommend brands has changed significantly since its inception in 2013, perhaps its days are numbered. Better to use questions that are specifically tailored to your business and customers and less open to interpretation than NPS’s scale of 1-10.
Using a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is common practice, but its success is not just about finding out what a customer thinks. It’s about taking action if things aren’t right.
When things go wrong, fix them.
If there’s something wrong, follow it up. “How did we do today” messages are ubiquitous but worthless if the responses are not followed up. Learning what a brand is doing wrong is as important as understanding what it’s doing right.
What makes someone happy is often perceived as subjective and, therefore, difficult to measure. But when it comes to customer experience, it’s not hard to work out what makes people happy.
Good service, complaint resolution, and solving problems are much more straightforward to quantify than societal corruption and anti-depressant use levels. If it’s possible to figure out which is the happiest country on Earth, it’s possible to work out if your customers are satisfied.