An Extremely Happy New Year

I’d like to share a short story with you that has shaped my thinking for 2018…

Before the Virgin Media engineer left my house he informed me that I would receive a text to rate the service he had provided. He pleaded with me to make sure that I responded as the feedback given by customers directly affected his service level targets. As he was a nice guy, who put plastic covers over his boots before he entered my house and fixed the issue efficiently, I was happy to do this. I got the text ten minutes later and gave him a 9 out of 10 – because I’m good like that, I thought. Three minutes later I received a call from the engineer thanking me for his score and also asking me what more he could have done to get a 10 out of 10? To which, I replied, “Nothing really, you were great.” So, he said, “The score is more like a 10 then?” I agreed. To my surprise, he asked me if I wouldn’t mind amending my score. So, I did. This got me thinking about both his approach to challenge me about my score and also what we as customers expect from the brands we use.

Net Promoter Scores (NPS) work in a similar way for brands and businesses whereby customers are asked how likely they would be to recommend to a friend or colleague.

A score of 9 or 10 is the ultimate business target as these people are your “brand promoters” and are most likely to be loyal.

A score of 7 or 8 represents people who are satisfied, but easily wooed by your competitors.

Lastly, a score 0-6 are detractors, people who are pretty unhappy and will leave you at the first opportunity. Or even worse, air their dirty laundry and dissatisfied opinions on social media. Beware!

Now more than ever, I believe that brands play an important role in “everyday happiness”. As customers we expect extremely high levels of brand standards, service and customer care before we hit the “peak of happiness”. By “peak happiness” I mean before we like a brand enough to continually part with our cash. I’ll even go as far to say that we have multiple levels and stages of happiness:

Level 1 – Happy⭐ (ie. when a customer sees that a brand has posted something interesting, relevant and fun on social media)

Level 2 – Very Happy⭐⭐⭐ (ie. when a customer receives an email with a discount code for a product they left in their ‘basket’ a few days before after being undecided)

Level 3 – Extremely Happy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (ie. when a brand or service exceed a customer’s expectations and reward them for their purchase choice/loyalty with something they value)

Brands need to tick so many boxes in order to climb this happiness ladder – there isn’t just one thing that matters to the customer, it’s everything. I mean it, customers care about absolutely everything from the type of company to the products and services provided, including customer services, company culture, reputation and corporate responsibility. I believe that customer happiness builds and builds, like a relationship, to eventually become brand loyalty – a supercharged ‘customer satisfaction’ as previously aimed for by brands. Unlike ‘customer satisfaction’, customer happiness is a type of service and communication that requires constant topping up.

We all know that it is expected for all brands to have a digital presence on social media and on these social platforms, brands are given creative opportunities to interact with both Happy and Extremely Happy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ customers – as well as a platform to turn unhappy ones into happy ones. A positive, active presence on social media has become so important to brands as a way in which they can regularly and cost-effectively top-up the happiness of their customers with branded, fun content, and respond quickly to unhappy ones instantly and directly.

This year, more than ever, I’m focusing on increasing those happiness levels in as many ways as I can. Maybe that means doing more instagram stories of my cat, Benji, attaching valuable downloadable tools to our email newsletters or surprising and delighting more. Yep, new heights of happiness are on the agenda for 2018. As an agency we align with the good intentions of the guys at Hubspot who support inbound marketing services. By keeping these happiness levels continually at the front of my mind this ensures that all services and deliverables support a customer through the various levels of happiness till they BURST at Level 3!

If the coming year is anything like the last, we might need to rely on our favourite brands to help us in our daily pursuit of happiness. Who knows, maybe we’ll even reach new heights of customer happiness (!) but for now, here’s wishing you all an Extremely Happy New Year 😁