In our personal lives, happiness is easily understood. It’s an emotional response, a connection. We feel it when we’re with our friends or family. Happiness is a shared sense of wellbeing, the pleasure of seeing someone whose company we enjoy. Our faces light up, our smiles are involuntary. Happiness is fun, the joy of achievement, a good meal, a job well done, people helping and being helped.
Why does all that change when we add the word “Customer”?
We are an analytic bunch, we engineers, CEOs, and IT professionals. We like things that are tangible, quantifiable. We espouse pragmatism, logic, statistics, charts, and data points. Happiness is just a feeling. Emotion has no place in business. Yet everyone aspires to have life-long customer relationships. Imagine a life-long relationship without happiness.
Perhaps that’s why we settled on Customer Satisfaction. It sounds more official. We developed criteria we could quantify and issued surveys. Because nothing makes a customer feel more important than a string of multiple-choice questions. The intangible confounds us. It’s our blind spot.
We forget that people like being happy.
Customer satisfaction isn’t a bad thing but it’s a couple of steps down from customer happiness. We want our customers to be genuinely glad to see us. We treat them the same way we treat our friends. We work with them – not at them. We listen more than we talk. The after-work brainstorming sessions over drinks in the hotel bar are memorable – not just the ideas, but the camaraderie. We’re building a happiness quotient.
Are customers always right? No, but that’s how we treat them. When people trust each other, it’s easier to understand their perspective. To offer expertise with humility and learn from each other. Happy customers know we prioritize their happiness above all else. If we sometimes fall short, the relationship doesn’t break – there’s mutual trust. We make it right and do better the next time.
Satisfaction is based on past performance. One mistake can change everything. Happiness is holistic. It’s more than margins and commodities and supply chains. It’s about shared achievements, laughing at inside jokes, a meal after a job well done. Happiness means prosperity for everyone – employees, clients, resellers. We take pleasure in each other’s company and we like to have some fun. Why not?
Happiness is how customer loyalty is earned.