The answer to this question is the difference between assured successful or possible extinction in your business.
I’m not going to call it “The Million Dollar Question” because depending on the size of your business, it may be worth much much more:
How do your customers feel about doing business with you?
Bain and Company have a question they use in determining net promoter scores. It is a simple question:
Would you recommend us to a friend?
That’s a good question but like most questions, an imperfect one. Being willing to recommend a friend isn’t the same as actually recommending that friend.
Think of a movie you saw and liked. If someone asked you about it, you might say it is worth seeing.
But think of a movie you absolutely loved. You didn’t wait to be asked. The next time you saw your friend, you’d tell them, “You’ve got to see this movie!”
A great recommendation requires a strong emotion like love.
That is why I think my question isn’t just different but better: Are you happier you did business with us then you were before?
Welcome to the emotion economy. The future of business is an emphasis on creating positive emotions.
It isn’t just about the outcome or experience you created for the customer. It is how the customer feels about it.
Have you ever gotten a problem fixed…but felt rotten about how much time it took?
Have you ever purchased a product you really liked from a person that you really didn’t like?
We’re all too familiar with the corollary: if the customer leaves angry or upset, it is probably accompanied by a vow never to return, and they’ll likely share their displeasure with you with lots of others.
In business we focus on outcomes, but as customers we focus on feelings.
When a customer receives value, is pleasantly surprised by the experience and leaves happier than when they came in, you’ve just scored big, because happier customers buy more, are more loyal and tell others.
And it doesn’t just apply to customers.
Ubiquity Retirement + Savings—which says it is “happily located in San Francisco, CA”—asks employee to punch one of five buttons as they leave work to indicate how they feel about the day they just finished, including a smiley face and a frowning face.
Why? It is common sense that employees work better and are more committed to their jobs when they feel positively about where they work.
But for now, ask yourself: are your customers and employees happier because they do business with you? The best businesses design and deliver for positive emotions.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com. He also teaches professional speakers and leaders how to increase their messaging and public speaking effectiveness. Learn more here.