The Happy Customer: 11 Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction

What's the secret to creating a happy customer? Use these 11 actionable tips to improve (and measure) customer satisfaction and create raving fans!
happy customer

What’s the secret to a happy customer and generating more word-of-mouth referrals that you ever imagined? Improve customer satisfaction and you’ll have raving fans who tell the world about your business.

The old adage, “it costs five times more to attract a new customer as it does keeping a loyal customer,” still holds true today. When customers churn, your marketing and sales expenses go up because you need to spend more effort just to recoup the revenue you lost. That’s why you should do everything you can to keep a happy customer coming back for return business.

Easy Ways to Create a Happy Customer

How can you improve customer satisfaction and retain a happy customer? It happens at every stage of their customer journey, whether they are a new client or one that has enjoyed a positive customer service experience from you for years.

Here are 11 easy ways you can build customer loyalty and satisfaction, plus ways to measure customer happiness.

1. Ask for Customer Reviews Regularly

Google uses social sentiment as a ranking factor in their search results. Your prospects will use recent reviews with high ratings as an indicator of whether to buy from you. Whatever your preferred review site, such as Google Reviews, Facebook, Yelp or others, encourage your happy customers to share their positive comments. Monitor review sites so you can reply if needed and respond to unhappy customers.

Take a look at these two reviews: very similar product, different shops.

get good reviews

Who would you buy from? The one with the higher stars, of course. So would just about everyone else. If they see a review from a happy customer, they’ll trust you more.

Reviews matter! People buy from companies they trust.

Your customers and prospects will look at reviews about your company and instantly decide whether to buy from you or move on to a competitor.

It’s not just bad reviews that cause customers to pass on buying from you. Having no reviews is also bad. People won’t have a comfort level so they would rather skip past your business than risk being dissatisfied. Fortunately, you can fix this – and pretty quickly.

2. Measure Customer Happiness with Net Promoter Score (NPS)

happy customers

Regardless of your industry, getting customer satisfaction metrics is an important part of creating a happy customer. You might be measuring CSAT, or customer satisfaction, or other metrics to gauge a happy customer.

Another, and many would say more important, metric is NPS, which stands for net promotor score. It tells you exactly where you stand with your customers.

It is a number between -100 and 100 calculated based on a customer’s response to one single question scored between 0-10 (10 being the highest):

  • How likely are you to recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?

Customers who give you 6 or below are detractors, 7 or 8 are passives, and 9 or 10 are promotors.

  • NPS = % Promotors – % Detractors

So, if 60% of customers rate your business a 9 or 10 (Promotors) and 15% give a 6 or below rating (Detractors), your NPS is 45, which by the way is a solid score that indicates you have a lot of happy customers.

The higher your score, the more likely you are to retain customers, which reduces marketing costs since you will have to spend less to replace your churned customers. You should not survey any particular customer more than four times a year.

3. Acknowledge Customers Quickly

Answer phone calls right away. Response time to emails is critical – you should reply within an hour or two at most during work hours. When you are near a customer, use eye contact and say “I’ll be right with you.” Acknowledging your customers immediately goes a long way in improving customer satisfaction. Simple gestures show you care. Train your team regularly to make sure they show your company’s best side.

4. Send Birthday Offers

happy customer birthday couponKnow your customers. Find out their names and greet them by name whenever possible. Get birthday information and send them a special offer or treat ahead of their birthday.

Email marketing tools can automate this process for you. Just enter a happy customer’s email address and their birthday (birth year not required), set the message you want like a free offer or discount coupon, and you can drive more repeat business.

This can help improve customer loyalty because they’ll know you care about them as individuals, not wallets.

5. Build Happy Customer Loyalty with a Reward Program

One proven strategy to make a happy customer is to reward them for loyalty. Many businesses have a “buy 5 – get 1 free” card or something similar. While this is good, you can also reward customers unexpectedly. After a repeat customer visits you a few times, give them a complimentary drink, an added service, or a special discount. You can also use a tool like Referral Candy which manages your loyalty program automatically – and a happy customer can use it from their phone.

6. Follow Up Proactively with Progress Updates

Customers don’t want to be made to follow up to get updates. While it may be easier for you, it’s not easy for them. If you tell a customer you are looking into an issue, follow up with a status update. A phone call or email can make the difference in a happy customer and a disgruntled one.

7. Give Special Offers to Current Customers

Use your customer contacts to offer a “members only” type of promotion to current customers. This increases customer satisfaction by making them feel valued and part of an “inside” group.

8. Keep in Touch to Increase Adoption of Your Brand and Products

Try to acquire customer contact information. Then, send regular updates via mail or email. A monthly or quarterly newsletter is a fantastic way of keeping customers informed of news and simply reminding them of your business name.

Curated NewslettersIf customers don’t use your product or services, they will defect to your competitors. Keep them engaged by staying in touch. Even if they don’t respond to every email you send, many will skim through and keep you in their minds just because you took the effort to reach out.

I can personally recount many times each month that a prospect who had been getting our educational newsletter for over a year, sometimes two, would call and say “I’m ready.” They would buy our products with little resistance and become a happy customer.


9. Tell Happy Customers Why You Are Different Than the Competition

Whether you design a creative interior to your retail store or simply provide more value through exceptional customer service, you must keep customers happy by setting yourself apart from your competition.

This will be different for every business. As author Simon Sinek says, “Start with why.” What’s the reason your company exists? Do you have a mission or a set of values that’s unlike your competitors? Share your story.

10. Ask Customers for Their Opinions

Do you really know what your customers want? It never hurts to ask customers about their experience and what improvements they would like. This can provide valuable information on how you can improve products and your service delivery. In addition to asking the NPS question above, send a post-sale survey to a Google Form or SurveyMonkey survey that asks:

  • What would you change about our product to make you want to buy it?

This simple yet very powerful question goes to the heart of whether a customer would take out their wallet and invest their hard-earned money in a product or service you offer.

Resist the urge to respond with clarifications. The best customer dialog is unfiltered. Just listen. Your ears are more powerful than your mouth, especially when it comes to creating a happy customer.

11. Give Away Product Samples

Do you have a new product? Current customers can be a good source of market research. Give free samples to existing customers and ask their valued opinion.

Keeping your existing happy customer satisfied is the best way to maintain your company’s revenues. Also, a happy customer will naturally spread the word about your business. Going the extra mile to care how your customer feels about your products and services. Loyal customers are the core of your long-term growth.

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