How to keep your customers happy

How to keep your customers happy

June 18, 2024

It’s a question that businesses should ask everyday—how can we keep our customers happy? A happy customer is the start to a happy (and healthy) bottom line.

Just about everything hinges on this simple question, including your brand’s reputation, ability to sustain growth, and achieve profitability.

But what exactly is customer happiness? How does it differ from mere satisfaction? And can you really guarantee that your efforts to achieve happiness will pay off?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll take a deep dive into the nuances of customer happiness. You’ll learn how to measure customer satisfaction, create personalized experiences, and ensure customer-centricity in all aspects of your business. If you focus on these principles, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll see the benefits associated with customer happiness.

The importance of customer happiness

Many businesses tend to focus on meeting customer needs and solving their pain points. These are good goals to have, but they’re transaction rather than emotional. Customer happiness goes a level deeper. It encompasses how your customers feel towards your brand, products, and services.

We’re talking about more than just satisfaction—customer happiness encompasses feelings of delight and positive emotions that lead to strong, lasting relationships. It might sound fluffy, but this emotional connection has a direct impact on business results. Happy customers tend to have a strong customer lifetime value (CLV), as they’re often repeat buyers and enthusiastic brand advocates. They say happiness is contagious which has a multiplier effect.

The difference between customer happiness and customer satisfaction

While often used interchangeably, customer happiness and customer satisfaction represent distinct aspects of the customer experience. The difference is subtle, but each requires different strategies.

Customer satisfaction is a transactional metric—it primarily calculates how well your offerings meet customer expectations. You can measure it through surveys or feedback forms immediately following a specific interaction, purchase, or customer service experience. A high satisfaction score indicates that your offerings align with what customers anticipated, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee their loyalty or long-term engagement. However, good customer satisfaction is a foundation for customer happiness.

Customer happiness is a more holistic metric that looks at customers’ emotional state after interacting with your business. It’s hard to achieve overnight—most businesses with strong customer happiness find that it comes about through consistently positive experiences over time.

To illustrate this distinction, consider two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1 (satisfied customer): Imagine a customer who encounters a problem with your product. They reach out to your support team and receive a prompt, helpful resolution. This customer is likely to be satisfied with the specific interaction and outcome.
  • Scenario 2 (happy customer): Now, think about the same customer as above. But this time, after customer support provides a response, their account manager reaches out to follow-up on the issue 2 days later to ensure that the problem does not resurface. Additionally, the customer receives a thank you gift for bringing an issue to the business’ attention, and also gets invited to participate in beta testing as a very detail-oriented user.

The difference lies in the depth of the relationship. A satisfied customer may be content with a single positive interaction, but a happy customer feels a sustained positive association with your brand that leads to long-term loyalty and advocacy.

How to measure customer happiness

There’s no one metric that can tell you how happy your customers are. But, you can combine the results of a few different metrics to get a close approximation of customer sentiment.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction surveys help you pinpoint specific touchpoints that do or don’t resonate with customers. They typically ask customers to rate their satisfaction with a specific interaction, purchase, or service experience on a numerical scale (e.g., 1-5 or 1-10).

You can analyze CSAT data to identify trends, track progress over time, and measure the effectiveness of your customer service efforts.

Your goal should be for the customer to consistently rank their interactions in the top numerical value without a peak or valley in scores.

Social media sentiment analysis

Keeping track of social media conversations about your brand is non-negotiable these days. No matter your industry, social media is a window into what your customers are thinking and feeling.

When you spot positive mentions and high engagement, you've found your happiest customers—the ones who love your brand and are eager to share their experiences. These brand advocates are one of the best tools to spread happiness. People trust people they know. A happy customer has a stronger influence on their connections than a happy salesperson doing cold outreach.

On the flip side, social media can also alert you to problematic interactions. Prioritize responding quickly and publicly to these concerns to showcase your dedication to making things right. Not to be too cheesy, but your goal should be to turn their frown upside down.

Net promoter score (NPS)

NPS is a powerful predictor of customer loyalty and happiness. Different from the CSAT score, NPS looks at the entire business and asks the customer to summarize their feelings about all of the ways your brand has impacted them. These surveys are also straightforward to set up and analyze—all you need to do is ask customers how likely they are to recommend your brand to others.

Responses are on a 1-10 scale, and are categorized as follows:

  • Promoters (9-10): Loyal enthusiasts who actively champion your brand.
  • Passives (7-8): Satisfied customers who are vulnerable to competitors.
  • Detractors (0-6): Unhappy customers who’ve had a bad experience and may spread negativity.

Keep an especially close eye on your Promoters and Detractors. Both will have valuable insights into what you’re doing right and wrong. Because they work in opposition towards happiness, your goal is to move as many customers into the promoters and reduce the number of detractors.

10 ways to keep customers happy

Now that we’ve covered what customer happiness is and how to measure it, let’s suggest some ways to keep your customers delighted.

1. Perfect your persona knowledge and brand voice

Taking the time to get to know someone shows you listen, care, and value them as an individual. Even in professional life, we appreciate when people see us outside of the transactional realm and more on a personal level. Often, the effort is reciprocated and builds trust. This same principle applies to customers. Customers want to know that businesses value them enough to see them outside of a sales quota and revenue number.

This relationship can take some time, and will only be accomplished with consistency and authenticity. Take the first step to show you care by conducting thorough market research, analyzing customer data from your CRM, and creating detailed buyer personas to paint a clear picture of who you’re working with. Understanding your users is the first step outside of the transactional.

Crafting a distinct brand voice is equally important. Whether it's friendly and approachable, professional and authoritative, or playful and witty, your brand voice should be consistent across channels. A well-defined brand voice helps customers identify with your company and develop a sense of connection towards it.

2. Give your customers a voice

In any relationship, only talking about yourself is selfish and an easy reason to tune you out. It’s not just your brand that needs a voice—you need to give your customers one, too. Special acknowledgements and compliments show you notice your customers’ efforts and compliments often make people smile.

In addition to amplifying your customer’s voices, listening to them in a 1:1 setting is powerful too. There are countless ways to do this these days. Social media engagement is an easy one. Respond to customer comments on your social accounts, and publish periodic polls to gauge sentiment. You can also take advantage of feedback tools like CSAT and NPS which we mentioned above. Anonymous feedback is the best method for raw and honest sentiments.  

No matter what channels you choose, you should encourage your customers to freely share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. Do whatever you can to hear your customer as much as possible.

3. Always listen empathetically

When customers dial up your support line, chances are they’re already frustrated. It’s nice when customers call just to say how happy they were with their experience, but these are few and far between. Usually, they’re having trouble with something, and want to speak to a human to help them sort it out.

Even when a call doesn't start with a happy customer, it’s a chance to turn around their day and make a lasting impact. Whether you hurt or help the situation, you’ll be remembered. Why not leave them with a positive feeling at the end of the call? Even if you can’t immediately resolve the issue, demonstrate empathy by acknowledging their feelings, validating their experiences, and assuring them that their feedback is valued.

But don’t stop there. You must follow-up, and fast! Take this one step further by thanking the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and helping your business improve for everyone. Make them feel like they had a part in the team’s success, and even reward them with a gift to say thank you! When customers feel truly heard and understood, it strengthens their bond with your brand and enhances their overall happiness.

4. Make their experience personal

Personalization is a great way to show customers that you care about them as individuals, not just potential transactions. And it’s easier than ever thanks to modern tools and automation capabilities.

Including a customer’s name in your messaging is a great place to start. Once you’ve done that, you can leverage their purchase history, browsing behavior, and communication preferences to tailor your offerings based on what they’re looking for.

For example, if a customer mentions their stress of onboarding their team onto your platform, show them you want to be a partner and offer to host a “lunch and learn” tutorial with their team. Even buy your champion coffee to show you remember them talking about the hours they are putting in at work.

Personalization also extends to customer service interactions. With access to a customer’s detailed history, customer support agents can provide more efficient and relevant assistance that leads to repeat business and lower customer churn. The less a customer has to work to help you do your job, the happier they’ll be. Take effort out of the equation and provide them with a tailored experience that’s one step ahead.

5. Treat every customer like a VIP

Even though some customers are numerically more valuable than others, all of them should be treated like VIPs. Great customer service and personalized experiences should be offered, regardless of whether they’re a one-time buyer or loyal customer.

Quick and helpful online support is just the start of exceptional service. It also encompasses proactive problem-solving and a commitment to going the extra mile.

VIP service doesn’t always require grand gestures. Even small acts like sending personalized thank-you notes, inviting them to join your exclusive community, and providing early access to new products can do the trick. The size of the gesture isn’t as important as demonstrating that you value the individual’s business and are committed to providing a great experience.

6. Practice gratitude

Expressing gratitude is a simple yet powerful way to enhance customer happiness. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and telling your customers how much you value them is a fantastic way to turn them into advocates for your brand.

From handwritten notes to personalized gifts to loyalty programs, there’s no shortage of ways to express gratitude. Consider incorporating this principle into different types of customer interactions. Besides thank-you notes, this could also be something like a surprise gift on their birthday.

Implementing these kind gestures at many points throughout the customer journey helps enforce that your actions are authentic. Doing so one time will still leave a positive memory, but showing that gratitude and gifting are part of your brand’s ethos makes the action seem less transactional.

7. Value consistency

Sustainable customer happiness can’t be built overnight. It comes about when the right strategies are deployed consistently.

Customers may have one or two positive experiences with your brand, but knowing they can count on you is a whole different level of trust. When customers know they can rely on your brand to deliver high-quality products, services, and interactions consistently, it makes them happy that they chose you and not your competitor.

Consistency starts internally within your business and resonates outward. Hiring employees that resonate with your company values and promoting managers who value the knowledge of their peers sets the tone at the top. From there, you can ensure that employees are trained on how to communicate your brand and interact with customers in a consistent manner. You still want your employees to be genuinely themselves—just with an added perspective of who you are as a company in the way they speak and act. Having all teams trained and educated on your brand is the most important foundation for a consistent customer experience.

8. Stand by your promises

There’s no better way to erode customer happiness than by overpromising and under delivering. It’s crucial to set realistic expectations and clearly communicate what you can and can’t offer.

Be transparent about your products, services, and policies. Acknowledge any limitations you may have, and take responsibility for shortcomings by taking proactive steps to rectify them. For instance,if you promise a specific delivery date, ensure that you meet it and offer a discount if you don’t.

Another way to incorporate your trustworthiness into your brand is by having a guarantee as company policy. Stand behind the functionality of your product by promising customers they’ll achieve a certain metric if they follow a certain plan. And if the product doesn’t turn out to work as promised, then you are willing to offer them a portion of their investment back. That’s a bold way to stand behind your words.

9. Admit mistakes and apologize

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

Businesses with top-tier customer service excel at turning mistakes into positive brand experiences. By going above and beyond to resolve an issue, a customer might feel better about your company than they did before the mistake happened. This goes back to our recommendation earlier regarding “listening with empathy.”

Moreover, proactive communication can help prevent minor issues from snowballing into major problems. Address concerns early on before they have a chance to negatively impact customer satisfaction. Time is of the essence as the less time you allow a customer to feel negatively, the shorter the memory will remain.

How Postal helps keep customers happy

Happiness is hard to measure, but there’s something about a tangible gift that digital experiences can’t match. It sparks joy in a unique way.

But managing offline engagement like gifting at scale can be tricky. There’s a lot of moving parts—CRM integration, managing delivery schedules, and choosing the right items.

Postal makes this workflow as seamless as possible. Our platform simplifies the process of sending thoughtful gifts, handwritten notes, and other gestures of appreciation to customers, clients, and employees. Our automation capabilities also free up your teams’ time to focus on what really matters: delivering exceptional experiences that lead to customer happiness.

Chat with Postal today to learn how we can bring happiness to your customers around the world.

Keely Lords
Keely Lords

Keely Lords is the Brand Manager at Postal, the leading gifting platform for offline engagement that creates memorable moments for organizations to generate leads, increase sales velocity, and retain happy customers. Prior to Postal, Keely was a "jane of all trades" with roles in various industries including accounting and consulting at Deloitte, business operations for a technology start-up, and proposal writing for branded corporate events. She currently lives in Bakersfield (where her family has farmed for over 100 years) with her husband, Austin, and rescue dog, Polly.