Published initially 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 average generate at least one new customer.
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; 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, your company will be Earth’s most prominent brand in a few years. Super-cool.
Making Customers Super-Happy is Difficult
Obviously, and for whatever reason, the above scenario rarely happens. It’s safe to say that it’s difficult to make customers super-happy, especially if you have many of them.
However, most of us don’t have millions of customers.
Not for lack of trying, though. Making clients super-happy without wasting profit margins or engaging in altruistic pro bono is challenging.
And it gets worse.
Not all businesses need “brand ambassadors” in the typical sense, either. Coca-Cola sales are 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. Otherwise, it wouldn’t work 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 like how Apple is focused on building the best possible products and how they’re product-centric. And I kind of like how Google is value-centric and Amazon is availability-centric.
Also, I know of “customer-centric ” companies, but few of their customers are going out of their way to promote these brands.
Put another way: Being customer-centric might be great for a specific business, but it won’t ensure exponential growth where each customer refers to another in every cycle.
In the end, what matters is that you have some sort of capacity to create a super-happy customer at least every once in a while.
Dodging the Honey Trap
One surefire way to create super-happy customers is to over-deliver (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 wasn’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 expect you to continuously deliver more and more value. And then something, somewhere, somehow, will break.
The key must be to establish excellent public relations without spending the profit margin and without trading away your own chances of being super-happy and becoming true fans.
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 central irony.
The secret to making customers super-happy is excellent public relations. And the secret to great public relations is… communication.
The central irony here is that, given what I do for a living, I probably should’ve figured this one out quite a bit sooner.
So, there it is. Excellent communication is the MVP of creating super-happy customers as long as your delivery is good enough.