Leadership Lesson: How to handle happy customers? You’re kidding

Published in the Phoenix Business Journal on September 13, 2019

Sweat. You worked hard to earn as many customers as possible. Why spend additional time with them when they are already in your camp? We jump to manage unhappy customers, but we mess up by failing to manage our happy customers. Why?

Simple - it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one. But, when we are constantly driven to get more new customers than paying attention to our current customers. And, they are vulnerable to our competitors.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

12 tips to manage your happy customers

Make as new customers happy from the start and keep them that way. Once they are completely satisfied, stay focused on keeping them happy. And, even happier.

  1. They likely have not purchased all of the products and services we offer - and they might not know about our complete offerings. Tell them.
  2. We have established lines of communications with their organization. Keep them open.
  3. They must not feel that we are apathetic or uninterested, or more focused on selling to new prospects. Give them attention.
  4. Thank them often and appreciate them in every appropriate way. Be grateful.
  5. Find out what is making them happy and then give them more of it if possible. What would make them even more satisfied? Ask them.
  6. Don’t put second tier teams in charge of the happiest customers because it is risky. Assign top teams.
  7. Remind customers how much value you are delivering to them. Keep competition out.
  8. Make your happy smaller accounts happier, too. Many of them will grow substantially over time and provide you with an expanding revenue stream. Grow with them.
  9. Give them something extra that they were not expecting - a little more product or service that will help them. No strings attached.
  10. Always be available to meet their needs with timely and appropriate responsiveness. Doing so is much easier than fixing festering issues. Frequently ask them if there are any concerns that should be addressed. Prevent problems.
  11. Listen to multiple members of the customer organization. Just because one customer person expresses happiness with your company, does not mean all the customer people think the same. Take their pulse.
  12. Foster a culture of customer care. Recognize and reward your teams that support the happiest accounts. Customers first.

And hold “happy customers” meetings with members of your organization to generate more ideas about how to best satisfy your customers. Every idea counts.

Not at all cost

Stay in budget and keep your profit margins at appropriate levels. Don’t give everything away. The customer is not always right. Sometimes you need to find a win-win state of satisfaction which will lead to increased happiness. Negotiate, don’t capitulate. 

The bottom lines

Keep customers happy. It costs far less than finding new ones. Make them even happier by an active program of increasing customer satisfaction. Find out what is making them happy and what else they would like. Don’t cut your profitability — add to it. Keep happy customers.

Click here to read this article on the Phoenix Business Journal site.