Do organisations really want Happy Customers?!

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I saw a cartoon in a leading national daily (The Hindu) and was struck by the irony in this illustration. Although it is prima facie humorous, it is also a reflection of the reality and holds a very strong message to organizations, especially Retailers.

 

Satisfied Customer
Img Credit: The Hindu

 

It raises the following questions which I will address.
  • Do Retailers expect any customer to be happy, satisfied or delighted at all?
  • Are organizations serious about making customers happy, satisfied or delighted?
  • If there is no breed called happy customers, whose fault is it?
 
Forget Retailers, most organizations do not expect their customers to be even satisfied forget about being delighted. The rationale behind this statement is the fact that I am yet to come across anyone having a system or process to handle happy or satisfied customers. Let me illustrate this with an example from two service sectors.

 

In most stores there are loyal customers who are happy and often give positive feedback and express their satisfaction with the store and staff members. Unfortunately these customers are often ignored while unhappy customers who complain get a lot of attention.

 

In most of my programs I have advocated customer interaction forums where such loyal and happy customers are invited and that recognition alone would be a first level of reward for these shoppers. The second example is with regard to a leading airline. I had praised the way their staff had handled a situation and had messaged them.

 

customer satisfaction
Img Credit: surveyanyplace.com

 

Imagine my surprise when I got a template reply thanking me for my patronage and feedback. Obviously their service staff has no idea about handling a happy customer.
 
Of course, it can be argued that organizations expect all their customers to be happy and that unhappy customers need to be handled as they are the exception. This is totally wrong. Even if satisfied customers are the norm they need to be recognized in order to motivate them to continue sharing this satisfaction and happiness.  Apart from reproducing a few appreciative letters or comments, most organizations do not even acknowledge satisfied customers.
 
This situation is largely because most organizations espouse customer service and delight while their actions on the ground are directly opposite to that. A very common example is the promise of a hassle free replacement while making the actual process for this painful enough to dissuade the shopper.

 

Every shopper of physical or online retail must have experienced the sheer frustration of trying to resolve an issue wherein the customer service person responds like a robot with template responses which in most cases are completely irrelevant. In the case of such a reality it is highly questionable if organizations especially retailers are really serious about customer satisfaction or are they focused only on managing dissatisfied customers.
 
This is again a problem with regard to the service delivery design and the management’s orientation towards customers and shoppers. Although the stated intent of the organization is great service and satisfied customers, almost every system and process in place focuses on controlling and constraining the front line staff.

 

This means that they are rarely empowered to deliver customer satisfaction. Obviously such staff have no clue about handling happy customers simply because they are not empowered to make the customer or shopper happy!
 
Lastly is the point about whose fault is it. Although organizations are at fault, the customer and shoppers must share some of the blame with regard to this situation. The majority of shoppers are eager to complain and make a noise when they are not satisfied. Unfortunately they rarely take the trouble to even mention situations and interactions which make them satisfied or happy.
 
The old saying that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is very apt in this context. Unhappy and dissatisfied customers make a noise and so organizations take the trouble to think of ways to handle them and manage such people. Happy and satisfied customers keep quiet and so the organization in most cases is not even aware that they exist. It is no wonder that most staff members do not know how to handle happy customers and their appreciation.

 

This cartoon is actually a reflection of reality and for this to change the customers and shoppers need to speak up when they are happy and satisfied. Organizations on their part should start recognizing happy customers instead of only managing the unhappy ones.


Disclaimer: This is an Contributor post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the contributors and not of TamilEntrepreneur.com 


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V Rajesh

V Rajesh is a Retail and Shopper behavior Expert, with extensive and in-depth experience in the Indian Retail Industry. He has successfully introduced several modern retail formats in India starting with supermarkets in the mid 90’s and various other mass merchandise, lifestyle and specialty stores.


He is also the author of one of India’s first hands-on book on Indian retail titled “The INDIAN reTALEs” , A book about career success titled

“Out Of Syllabus” with actionable inputs & “BREAK FREE” is a practical guide on how to become a powerful communicator.


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V Rajesh

V Rajesh is a Retail and Shopper behavior Expert, with extensive and in-depth experience in the Indian Retail Industry. He has successfully introduced several modern retail formats in India starting with supermarkets in the mid 90’s and various other mass merchandise, lifestyle and specialty stores.

He is also the author of one of India’s first hands-on book on Indian retail titled “The INDIAN reTALEs” , A book about career success titled
“Out Of Syllabus” with actionable inputs & “BREAK FREE” is a practical guide on how to become a powerful communicator.

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