Posted by: joannabrandi | September 13, 2010

Customer Results

I just got back from a lovely night on the beach with my friend Susan Schluz. We picked up some salads and headed to then beach for a late summer evening of catching up on personal and professional successes and foibles. I haven’t seen her since July, so it was a good time to catch up.

I was in the process of telling her about my new website (still building it) and my new ideas for products that are relevant, easy and cost effective for people to use.

My latest offering is “Creating Customer Happiness MasterMind Groups” ( I know, it’s a mouthful) and I am in the process of crafting the outline of how they will work and who will be involved and how much they will cost, and all the other details that are necessary to implement an idea into reality.

“Customer happiness,” she said, “That’s all well and good but I want results!”

“What?”

“I’m telling you, sometimes there are people just sitting there waiting for me to call. They are all ready, full of empathy and the right things to say, but they don’t solve my problem. They do make me happy, but they don’t solve my problem.”

“Whoa ~ then you’re not really happy.” I respond.

“Oh I’m happy with the way I was treated but I’m unhappy about the resolution – I’d rather be less happy with the way I’m treated but happy with the result.”

Ahhhh. Interesting. Enlightening. So I’m thinking about this.

Here’s what I mean by happy – happy with the interaction and happy with the result! And even happy after the result when you are more likely to tell others about it. Happy, happy and happy. I guess I should be saying Happy 3.

I realize I walk a fine line when I talk about customer happiness – but twenty years ago I walked a fine line when I talked about customer CARE.

I will never forget the advice I got from a professor at one of the universities I had contacted. “Care?” he said. “Your starting a company that is going teach people Customer CARE? I wouldn’t advise it. It’s too soft.¬† Businesses (especially in a recession) don’t want to think about things like caring. I don’t think you should do it.”

I’m so glad I have the ability to follow the beat of my own drummer.

Yes – it’s about customer results – what the customer wants and the way the customer wants it. I’ll be careful when I am writing and speaking about it so no one confuses the happy you get from an interaction with the happy you get from getting your problems solved AND having an interaction that leaves you feeling whole, happy, and fulfilled.

If that sounds like the result of a good relationship, you are right. It is.

Thanks Susan for making me think. I’m always smarter when I take the time to listen to what others have to say. The curse of small company entrepreneurs is in believing our own stories. Happy IS important and so are results!

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