With the end of 2019, we say goodbye to the 2010s, a revolutionary decade for business where e-commerce has taken over the world. This seachange has lead to products becoming commodities, where prices continue to drop lower and lower to compete against global corporations.
But times are changing, and we are moving into a new era of business. The 20s will usher in the relationship era, where the customer experience you offer and the relationships you build with consumers affect where they spend their hard-earned money.
This movement has been building up steam in the past couple of years, but 2020 is the year that customer experience, and customer happiness, will re-shape business as we know it.
Customers no longer buy products from any old brand because they’re the cheapest, they buy from brands who they trust and who make them feel happy. Maya Angelou put it best when she said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya shares an important lesson about life, which also applies perfectly to business. Consumers remember bad experiences much longer than an imperfect product. After all, you probably didn’t tell many people about your cold lasagne the last time you visited an Italian restaurant, but I bet you’ve told everyone about the rude waiter at your local steakhouse and how that experience has put you (and many others) off of ever going back!
Good service and an average product are always better than average service and a good product. In fact, 68% of consumers will pay more for products and services from companies with a strong record of good customer service than those without. Customer service, and making customers happy, is now king.
So how do businesses compete with cheap products that e-commerce provides? Simple. Do something that makes your customers happy. By offering to put a smile on your customers’ faces, rather than just a product, you’ll see your profits soar.
This can be as simple as by adding personalisation, such as a hand-written note, to make customers feel valued. Or adding extra little touches that cost very little, but make a huge difference for the customer’s happiness.
This can apply to any type of business in the world. Even on our struggling high-streets.
To get more customers visiting your business in 2020 and beyond, you must offer a fantastic in-store experience. Your customers will then rave about you on social media, tell all their friends and family and count down the days until they can come back. There are countless ways to do this, from ingenious new ideas to plain, old fashioned excellent customer service.
Customer satisfaction has had its time in the limelight. But it’s just not enough anymore. Customers expect more, and if you don’t deliver, they’re not scared to take their hard-earned cash elsewhere. To give your customers the experience that they are looking for, you need to wow them and make them happy.
In 2020, Customer Happiness will become the most important metric in your business. Delivering it will be critical to your success, so you’ll need a way to measure it.
This will make traditional business metrics such as NPS and CSat redundant overnight. Modern businesses who embrace the change will flock to the new Customer Happiness Score®, the only real-time measurement of customer happiness in the world, and succeed because of it. How do they get this score? By asking their customers how they feel.
For businesses to know they are making their customers happy, they will need to ask their customers The One Question “how do you feel” at every touchpoint.
By collecting quick and easy customer feedback after every interaction, businesses will pinpoint any weak links in their experience, so they can fix them and become even better. This takes the risk out of business decisions and helps key members of staff relax, knowing that they are spending their time and resources on things that affect their customer happiness the most.
Accurate customer insight gives businesses a blueprint for their success, allowing them to use customer feedback to ensure they make every experience a happy one.
Discovering how customers feel at each touchpoint is only the start of the journey. Your business needs to deliver timely responses that build lasting relationships.
Customer relationships will define the 2020s. And with attention spans becoming shorter and shorter you must be willing to build that relationship with faster customer support on more platforms than ever before.
In the past couple of years 63 per cent of customers expected companies to offer support via social media, and 35% of customers prefer it to other channels, this will only rise as we approach the new decade. If you don’t offer service on these platforms, your retention and customer lifetime value could be limited.
To easily keep track on multiple channels, try a third-party tool such as Hootsuite or AgoraPulse which bring all of your customers’ messages into one platform for easier organisation. This also helps you respond to your customers even quicker!
In such a well-connected world, your speed of response is vital. Being too slow on is seen as poor customer service. That’s a huge problem as 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service; time is of the essence.
Some businesses have used chatbots to combat this speed. (A lot of businesses in fact, the chatbot market is predicted to rise to over $1.3 billion by 2024, and it’s even predicted that the average person would have more conversations with bots than their spouse this year!). However, don’t let this take away from delivering human experiences.
Whether B2B or B2C, every relationship is H2H – Human to Human – so keeping the human element is vital. People want to be treated like an individual, not a number. While chatbots can save lots of time, you must use chatbots wisely to ensure you are still delivering personalised experiences for each customer.
As we enter the Relationship Era, your company needs to embrace the shift and align your teams behind delivering Customer Happiness through personalised experiences.
The best way to do this is to use the Customer Happiness Score® to set targets for your teams to achieve. Unlike other complicated metrics, every employee will understand this simple score between 0-100, from the staff room to the boardroom, so it’s easy to get your entire business to unite behind improving this score and reaching their goals.
Plus, unlike NPS, it measures the most important thing in business. Rather than setting sales targets that often lead to mis-selling, poor customer service and lower customer retention, all of your employees are focused on making your customers happy. And by tracking their score in real-time, teams are empowered to make changes to get their performance back on track.
But it’s not just your Customer Happiness that’s vital for your business. Employee feelings are equally important. That’s why it’s crucial to measure your Employee Happiness Score® too. Simply ask your employees how they feel to get your score, and then act on your insight to keep your best staff, improve business morale and create a fantastic workplace culture.
Not only does 2020 mark the start of a new decade, but also the dawn of a new era in business. Customer (and employee) expectations continue to rise, and businesses need to exceed them if they want to thrive.
Customer experience has officially outgrown customer satisfaction. The companies that will shine in 2020 are those that put Customer Happiness at the heart of their business culture and build strong, unique relationships with each of their customers and employees.
Are you up to the challenge?