One of my routine activities every week is to spend some time talking to folks from the Sales and Support teams. This gives me a good first-hand account of how we’re doing in the market. We also discuss interesting questions that customers asked and anything interesting that the team just learned from the previous week.
Last week, the Support team had to work extremely hard, because of the service outage. We discussed a lot of things about what went right and what can go better next time. On my way out, I just popped a quick question at the team: “What’s the one thing you guys did that you’re really proud of?”
An answer came right back at me, and quite resoundingly at that. They all said “We aim for customer happiness, not customer satisfaction”. We exchanged pleasantries and walked back to our desks.
But, that line has possessed me all of this week. There’s a seemingly subtle, but actually significant, difference between happiness and satisfaction. The latter is often corrective while the former is proactive.
Happiness is about empowering customers to reach you through as many channels as possible. Satisfaction is about picking channels you can handle really well and sticking to them.
Happiness is about enabling support execs to delight more customers in a day. Satisfaction is about letting support execs close tickets faster.
Happiness is about making it an amazing experience to manage customer support teams. Satisfaction is about giving support managers more reports than they need.
At every level of interaction with a customer, it is possible to clearly differentiate happiness and satisfaction. Happy customers become evangelists and start owning your brand. They become a cog in the wheel, a part of your company. They stand with you in times of dire need and grow with you when you grow. In fact, happy customers are the reason we’re in business today.
If you’re not creating customer happiness everyday, then don’t just optimize your operation. Hap-timize it.