Do you want happy customers? Of course, you think. No business wants unhappy customers. But how do you know they are happy? Repeating business is not necessarily a sign of happiness, as the concept of the customer as a hostage proves (when customers don’t want to buy from you, but feel they have no choice.
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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.)
Sounds like a tough gig, but the metrics used by the UN are actually easy to understand and clearly 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?
1. Stop measuring the wrong things
This would be distinct from, and hopefully more useful than, the traditional indicators of success. Metrics such as how many users visit your site, the conversion rate, and the basket size are important but they’re missing something.
They can’t tell you how the customer is feeling. 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 measured properly or even understood that well. Even when a brand has an active social media presence, making it easier to judge how engaged your audience is, marketers sometimes miss the point.
2. 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 if most of them aren’t liking, sharing or commenting then they’re not engaged. Conversely, if you have 50,000 followers and half of them are engaging, they’re worth more. If they are engaged, chances are there is at least some interest in what you do, which is half the battle won.
There is the question of assessing the sentiments behind engagement. Assessing if people are happy has a problem because people are more likely to express a negative sentiment than a positive one, so negativity tends to be over-represented.
Complaining about a bad experience seems easier than being complimentary about a good one. Complaining is an expression of frustration and a means of retaliating. But being nice? There’s not much in it for the customer.
3. Just ask what they’re thinking
The best way of encouraging positive feedback is to just ask for it – or rather, ask for feedback. People need prompting to make the effort but it doesn’t need to be complicated – long surveys are arduous and boring 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 a brand 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.
4. When things go wrong, fix them
If there’s something wrong, follow it up. “How did we do today” messages are ubiquitous but they’re 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 being 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, solving problems – they’re all a lot simpler to quantify than levels of corruption in society and anti-depressant use. If it’s possible to figure which is the happiest country on Earth, it’s possible to work out if your customers are happy.