Happy CustomersNow this may sound contradictory because surely if you provide great customer service you must be kicking goals in business right? Well I don’t think so.

I don’t think you should be focusing on customer service, I think you should be focusing on having happy customers.

“Yes, there is a difference. You can provide great customer service but still have unhappy customers.”

So how does this possibly make sense, as I know you are still scratching your head trying to understand if there is even a difference to begin with.

Well you see, often we focus so much on providing great service, bending over backwards for people and ensuring that every whim is answered, problems solved and questions sorted. But most times, what we are actually focusing on, is the process.

“Our response time is under 3 minutes, we answer all emails within 48 hours, we respond to every comment on social media” – these are just some examples I see (and hear) when we discuss how our clients are keeping their customers happy.

But none of these processes actually evaluate if the customer was happy with the wait time, the quality of the response or whether the queries were actually resolved in an appropriate manner. All it focuses on is a target to hit for an internal process – yet your customers are an external force.

“So whilst you may be “hitting” your customer service targets, are your customers walking away truly happy?”

Let me give you some recent examples of customer service I recently experienced which left me being a “non” happy client:

1. I contacted a website design company that specialises in accounting websites. I booked a consult, they never got back to me. I followed them up, they did the consult but they never gave me the quote. I followed them up, they gave me the quote, I had questions, they got back to me but didn’t answer all of my questions. From their end – they have marked my “case” as closed as the consult and quote has been delivered. From my end, I am far from a happy customer and most likely will not use them (despite their website portfolio looking amazing).

2. I recently ordered my Christmas cards for my amazing clients online. They arrived within two weeks, the company sent me emails tracking my order and they even sent me an email asking if I wanted to order more (great sales tactic). Great customer service. However, what they didn’t check, was if they actually sent me everything I ordered (and of course they had only sent me 10 Christmas cards when I had ordered AND paid for 50). So from their end, they thought they nailed the customer experience. From my end, not a happy customer.

3. Following on from the Christmas thread, I source different gifts for my clients each year and never repeat a gift as I like to support other small business owners and share the love around. I recently contacted a business I admire and asked them if I could buy 50 of their product, and what was the best way to do this (as I didn’t just want to order 50 at a time without them thinking I was a total stalker). They answered, “no worries, we will sort you out with a wholesale price and arrange it for you”. 3 weeks went past – no invoice, no price, no nothing. Sure, I might be a small fry to them, but am I a happy customer or will I turn into a happy customer = NO.

4. Recently I went to McDonalds drive through (don’t judge – we have all done it). It was 6am and I had a networking breakfast at 7am. I hate mornings and needed a hot chocolate for the journey. I ordered, they told me my total, I drove to the first window, I paid, I moved to the next window to wait, I got my hot chocolate – everything was smooth sailing. All those staff would have got a big fat tick for delivering great service, smiling, saying all the right things and delivering the product within the 3 minutes or whatever their internal target is. However, at 6am – handing a coffee to someone who has never drunk coffee in her life and telling her it is hot chocolate is not making someone a happy customer.

“So, whilst I know processes and procedures are important to follow within your business, it is also VERY important to put yourselves in the shoes of the consumer.”

I would much rather have waited another minute to get my correct drink order. I would much rather have received an email saying that my website quote was coming but we are a bit inundated right now due to the special offer.

I know how hard it is juggling life and a business god only knows what other pressures we put on ourselves, but if your customers are not truly happy – what is your business based on?

My customers are my world, and whilst our processes could do with a little bit of updating, one main thing remains consistent across our staff and our business. This has been in place from day 1, and will continue to be in place until my business grows beyond my capacity.

Happy customers are the only clients we want in our business. Every day, ask yourself if the tasks you are doing are helping our clients become less stressed about their numbers. If they have less stress, they will be smiling and we have done our job.