How can you insure your customers are happy?

I’ve read several books that attempt to identify the equation for happiness and one of the common components in these books is how the idea of expectations plays into happiness. For example, the book Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat suggests that the equation for happiness is as follows:

Happiness ≥ Your perception of Events – Your Expectations

Mo Gawdat – Solve for Happy

So if you go into something with super high expectations and your reality doesn’t live up to it, you’re going to be unhappy. Alternatively, if you stumble into something and have limited or no expectations, and it turns out to be good, you’ll likely be very happy.

The general concept makes a lot of sense to me – and intellectually at least, I can see the wisdom of controlling your expectations as a valid way to stay happy. Of course, it’s not always easy to manage your expectations, so on a personal basis your mileage may vary in terms of how well this works for you.

But there is some significant wisdom here for business owners – especially if you like the idea of happy customers.

How do you make your customers happy?

Based on the equation above, as a business owner who is delivering a customer experience, you have two distinct levers you can pull to help drive towards a happy customer.

For starters, you can make sure that your output is high quality… or at least as high a quality as makes sense considering the marketplace that you’re serving. An expensive steakhouse and a fast food burger place both serve beef but you wouldn’t measure them on the same scale. However, as a customer you would expect the appropriate amount of quality for the venue.

The second lever you can pull for making customers happy is how you set their expectations. Often sales and marketing tactics will suggest that you should hone in on how great your product is and that you should spend a lot of time talking about all of the problems that you can solve.

The problem with hyping things is that (based on the equation) it clearly leads to high expectations and a very real risk of an unhappy customer because the actuality didn’t meet the hyped expectations. So although it seems like it would make sense to exaggerate benefits to get people to buy – it’s not a great solution, especially if you want repeat customers and referrals.

What can you do?

The better answer, of course, is to Under Promise and Over Deliver as much as you can. If people are buying your product or service because of timeliness and convenience, set expectations that you can easily beat… and then beat them.

As an example, I know a local manufacturer that can create their primary product in a 2 to 3 days time assuming they have all the materials and there aren’t any significant issues. But they don’t promise a 2 to 3 day turn-around time… instead they promise 7 to 10 days and consistently deliver in 5 to 6 days.

And their customers are very happy.

By the way, this idea applies to little things as well. If a customer complains or has questions, are you promising a response within an hour? A day? Or… have you built your systems and processes so that you are confident that you can respond in a certain amount of time – and then promised something longer than that?

Under Promise and Over Deliver…!

Are you purposely building this into your business?

So this is a simple idea – Under Promise and Over Deliver… and I suspect there aren’t many who would argue that it would help drive to better customer satisfaction. But the real question is if you are purposely building this idea into different facets of your business? My personal experience is that this is sadly a fairly rare occurrence.

Have you met with your team to figure out how you could apply this to different parts of your customer experience?

Do you have a quarterly, bi-annual or annual meeting set up to review key touchpoints with customers to see if there are ways to apply this idea?

If not, what would it take to do this? What do you think? Is this an idea that would impact your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave us a comment below.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach