The Super-Happy Customer

Hint: The secret is great PR through communication.

Originally published on Idea Hunt.

I often think about the super-happy customer.

During my career, I’ve found that the best way to sell more is to make one customer super-happy. Because then, and only then, will that customer go out of their way to tell their friends.

In my not-so-scientific estimation, a super-happy customer will generate at least one new customer on average.

So, what does this mean from a public relations perspective?

Some super-happy mathematics

If there’s any scientific relevance to my personal observations whatsoever, allow me to expand on the idea of the super-happy customer a bit further — using simple maths.

Let’s assume that each cycle is one month. In the first month, you will have one customer and in two months, you will have two. Cool.

But what if you could find a way to make these two new customers super-happy, too? In three months, four new customers per cycle. Then eight, then 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, and so on.

The exponential growth:

2[number of months]

According to my math, in a few short years, your company will be the biggest brand on Earth. Super-cool.

Making customers super-happy is difficult

Obviously, and for whatever reason, the above scenario almost never happens. It’s safe to say that it’s difficult to make customers this kind of super-happy — especially if you have many of them.

However, most of us doesn’t have millions of customers.

Not for lack of trying, though. Making clients super-happy without wasting profit margins or engage in some sort of altruistic pro bono is challenging.

And it gets worse.

Not all business need “brand ambassadors” in the typical sense, either. Coca-Cola sales is likely to be much more closely tied to availability and being top-of-mind.

However, give me an ice-cold Coke Zero on a hot summer day and I’ll be a super-happy customer, for sure. Otherwise it just wouldn’t work, not even for a global and successful brand like Coca-Cola.

Can I make my customers super-happy like that? Can you?

How being “customer-centric” won’t suffice

“You just have to be customer-centric.”

Well, I don’t know. I kind of like how Apple is focused on building the best possible products, how they’re absolutely product-centric. And I kind of like how Google is value-centric and Amazon is availability-centric.

Also, I know of plenty of companies who are “customer-centric”, but few of their customers are going out of their way to promote these brands.

Put in another way: Being customer-centric might be great for a specific business, but it won’t ensure exponential growth where each customers refers another in each and every cycle.

What matters is that you, in the end, have some sort of capacity to create a super-happy customer at least every once in a while.

Dodging the honey-trap

One sure-fire way to create super-happy customers is to over-deliver (which is the same thing as under-charging).

As a junior PR consultant, I went this route. I invested an insane amount of my personal time — which often made both my employers and my clients super-happy. This approach weren’t long-term sustainable, however. Trading my chances of being super-happy was only an efficient short-term strategy.

It’s a honey-trap.

If you over-deliver once, savvy customers will quickly come to expect this positive curve from you. Without paying more for your efforts, they will expect you to continuously deliver more and more value. And then something, somewhere, somehow will break.

The key must be to establish great public relations without spending the profit-margin and without trading away your own chances of being super-happy and becoming true fans.

But how?

The answer is … communication

Several years into my professional career, I finally figured it out. I figured out the secret of making customers super-happy.

And this secret turned out to be a major irony.

The secret to making customers super-happy is great public relations. And the secret to great public relations is … communication.

The major irony here is that I, given what I do for a living, probably should’ve figured this one out quite a bit sooner.

Here’s how:

  • Communication is used to build and maintain relationships.
  • Communication is used to set and manage expectations.
  • Communication is used to manage feedback to improve upon perceptions, products and services.
  • Communication is used to scale and facilitate growth.
  • Communication is used to attract the right customers.
  • Communication is used to hire the best people for the job.
  • Communication is what leaders use to facilitate great teamwork.
  • Communication is used by super-happy customers to attract new customers.

So, there it is. As long as what you’re delivering is good enough, great communication is basically the MVP of creating super-happy customers.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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