Calling it a ‘Happy Meal’ doesn’t make a burger joint’s customers happy, and neither does calling it fast food. If it’s not McDonald’s, you’re not lovin’ it, and it isn’t fast and easy to order.
It’s the uniform brand experience across branches that keeps customers coming back to McDonald’s.
What kind of experience would make a happy customer in a bank, hospital, retail store or government office? This is a list of seven key factors that will make for a very happy customer, from the time they try to contact you, all the way through to the purchase and future visits to any of your branch locations.
A warm welcome is the first step to a journey that makes the customer happy. Start with a warm welcome, and greet the customer by name. A customer who is happy, to start with, is more likely to stay that way.
KYC (know your customer) documents may be a compliance requirement for banks, as are patient records for healthcare providers. But customer identification at the first touchpoint - recognition by sight - is also the basis for personalized engagement throughout the customer journey, and knowing your customer enables this on digital channels.
Speaking the same language as the customer doesn’t necessarily mean English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Hindi, Cantonese, etc., although it does help. Customers should feel at home in the branch.
But in this reference, what it means is that your staff on the front lines - those engaging with customers, should be able to understand and empathize with their challenges and needs.
No consultant, advisor or solution provider knows more about your business than you and your staff. Share this knowledge with your customers, by advising and guiding them about the ideal solution to their needs - as opposed to selling your products to them.
The idea is to position your business or practice as an expert in what the customer needs, so they keep coming back to you.
Giving your customers the product or service they came for is good enough, but it may not stop them from going to a competitor offering the same. Throwing in a value add, such as free annual health checkups in a hospital, or low-cost insurance for bank account holders, makes it that much harder for them to shift their business to a competitor. It says they’re happy, and won’t consider a slightly better or newer product.
The single biggest factor that makes a happy customer is the price. The customer has a perception of value, and it is linked to the price he is willing to pay. The ideal customer who needs your product will not haggle for discounts, and those who don’t need it may not buy even after discounts.
So the simplest pricing mechanism is transparency. Publish the price, and let people see it before they decide to buy. The way you arrive at the price should also be clear to the customer, and the value should be highlighted in discussions.
To take it along a bit further, customer experience should be the same across all your branches, so they get the same service and price, no matter which branch provides it. Repeat customers who come back all the time expect consistency - in terms of waiting time, the products/services available, the way they are treated, and the price. Overall, customers are happy when consistently provided a uniform brand experience.
Not answering the phone, web or email queries is the easiest way to turn away a customer who is trying to get in touch. On the other hand, the quick response shows them that you value their business.
Your customers are looking for reassurance that you are there at all times, to provide support. Quick response, engagement and resolution of support requests reinforce that perception.
A customer who trusts you to provide support quickly is a happy customer.