How’s this for a job title? “Customer Happiness Manager”. As we continually redefine the world of work in an effort to be and remain competitive, we are realising more and more that the experience of the customer is tantamount. Put simply, a happy customer buys more from us, not the competition! As organizations have tried to get this message across we have seen moves from “customer service” to “customer satisfaction” to “customer delight” and now “customer happiness”.
What’s in a word? Are these changes important? Do they really create changes in how people behave and in particular, how they serve customers? Yes, they might, but words alone are not enough. Many organizations think that if they simply train their frontline employees to answer the phone within 3 rings, smile when dealing with customers and say “Please”, “Thank you” and “You’re welcome”, then customers will be happy. Well, the news is that bad service, that is, service that does not meet the needs of the customer, even if delivered by smiling employees, will still be bad service – no happy customers at all. Nor happy employees either!
A “Customer Happiness Manager” would have to be backed up by an organization that is dedicated to the happiness of its’ chosen customers. This would mean careful choice of customer based on knowing that you can’t be all things to all people; deeply understanding what makes the chosen customer happy – not guessing, or thinking – KNOWING. Constant research, feedback and communication with customers and about customer issues would be the order of the day. Systems and procedures would be geared to customer happiness – meeting the customer where they are, providing what the customer wants, delivering the service where and when the customer wants and with as little work for the customer as is possible.
All these customer happiness procedures are necessary, but not sufficient. For the most important piece of the puzzle is the people. The CEO must lead the charge and consider him/herself the Chief Customer Happiness Officer. The Customer Happiness Manager would have his/her ear, with quick and easy access. The entire leadership team would know that customer happiness is “Job One”, and that they must do, and allow their team to do everything they can to achieve this. Most importantly though, is that the people in the organization must themselves be happy – with themselves, with their lives. They must feel that they are in the right job, with the right skills and tools. While the organization may be responsible for putting in place the job, skills and tools, it is the individual’s responsibility to come to the job with the right attitude, beliefs and behaviours. Organizations committed to customer happiness know that they must attract people who are already happy within themselves and then place them in the right job. Not the other way around – place the person with the right skills in the job and hope that will make them happy.
I love the idea of Customer Happiness! I also love the idea that an organization would be so dedicated to it that it would seek out happy people to be on its team, and then do everything possible to create an environment in which happiness flourishes for everyone!
Not sure what to do to make your customers happy? Ask them! Pick up the phone and call them. And ask your customer-facing employees. And then think how you can structure customer happiness into your service delivery. And don’t forget your employees – happy team members are much likely to deliver happiness to customers.
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