These days, relationship marketing is all the rage. Instead of focusing on promoting products and services to prospects and leads, businesses are now directing their marketing campaigns at customers, fostering the creation of long-term, valuable relationships between the customer and company. While customer support is a well-known piece of the relationship-marketing puzzle, additional buzzwords such as “customer success” and “customer happiness” have more recently come into play. Are these designations one and the same? Or is supporting the customer an entirely different approach to keeping the customer happy and promoting positive customer-business relationships?
Customer support is about the here-and-now
Companies know that customers want genuine, personalised support. They want their questions to be answered in real-time, while they are in the process of making a purchase. If they have to wait for support, they may abandon ship in favor of the competition. The return of customers to retail e-commerce websites following positive or helpful customer support experiences is an important measure of customer satisfaction, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. What about the customers who are dissatisfied with their shopping experience, i.e. those who don’t bother to ask for help from the support team or refuse to wait for assistance? The demands of a disgruntled or dissatisfied customer can be formidable, and customer support cannot always provide the necessary solutions in order to regain their loyalty.
Customer happiness is about staying ahead of the game
It goes without saying: happy customers are profitable investments. A happy or satisfied customer will keep returning to the business for repeat transactions, fully confident that their expectations and needs will be met or even surpassed each time. For businesses, the challenge lies in determining exactly what makes a customer happy. How can they figure out the factors that extend beyond customer support, beyond responding to customers’ present-time requests and questions, in order to create a framework that fosters customer happiness?
The answer is simple: businesses must stay ahead of the game. They must anticipate what difficulties, questions or desires customers may have throughout the buyer experience and provide them with the solutions before there is any sentiment that something is wrong. Taking the time to question and assess current practices, potential sources of error and customers’ expectations of the buyer journey with respect to public company perception is paramount. While determining these factors may initially take extra time and effort, the ultimate payoff is irrefutable, as it will lead to lifetime customer loyalty.
Two sides of a single coin
Customer support and customer happiness are two different sides of a single, comprehensive marketing coin. If customer support retains website visitors and promotes conversions during the purchasing process, then customer happiness fosters a high degree of satisfaction among existing customers. This encourages them to revisit the business for transactions in the future. The first approach tends to quandaries as they arise. The second seeks to prevent problems, frustrations and dissatisfaction from developing altogether, providing answers to questions customers might have before they even come up, ultimately increasing customer’s lifetime loyalty and value.
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