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The Pursuit of Happiness

Advice from the Business Coach

How important is a job title? To some people, it’s very important indeed. I’ve seen women and men choose jobs with inflated titles over offers with greater responsibility and even with higher pay. A Sales Manager at one company might earn more, be more senior and have a more rewarding experience than a Sales Director or a Chief Revenue Officer at another, so what looks superficially impressive on a business card might not always be the best career move.

What about job titles that were unfamiliar a few years ago but are increasingly prominent today? Browse vacancy alerts and before too long you will probably come across the title “Customer Success Manager”. More and more ambitious companies are focusing not just on customer service but customer success.

It reminds me of a phrase I was introduced to by a Polish colleague.

In Poland, “not my circus, not my monkeys” (nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy) is an inventive way of telling someone “this is your problem, not mine.”

And that brings us to an important point about service providers; their definition of service. One of the key benefits a partner can offer is the assurance that your problems are their problems. The assurance that they’ll help you overcome whatever barriers stand in your way.

I’ve always believed that professional sales and marketing can be summed up as helping people to buy something they want. And in the same spirit, professional service can be summed up as helping a partner get where they want to go. Taking ownership of a problem, taking responsibility for its resolution and taking pride in that partner’s success. It may be your circus. They may be your monkeys. But it’s our problem, and together we’ll solve it.

What about Customer Happiness? “Customer Happiness Manager” is another title that’s becoming difficult to escape. There are good reasons why. Recent research reveals that customers have higher expectations than ever. Where they previously compared like with like – ie they compared the service of a technology provider with other technology providers, and compared the quality of a new car with the quality of other makes and models – many customers now make comparisons between services and products that have nothing in common, and expect each to make them equally happy.

So if you deliver a software upgrade late you might get an unflattering review, not because other software providers are doing better but because the customer went to a fast food restaurant this morning and got exactly what they wanted in 60 seconds flat.

Some people may find this harsh, and it may be an over-simplification to compare a complex tech solution with a cheeseburger or a carton of processed chicken. But if that’s what people are doing, we’d be wise to come up with a better response than telling them why they’re wrong. Shrewd companies are creating Customers Happiness teams because customers want us to make them happy. When someone buys your product, if you’re not trying to put a smile on their face and make them happy to pay your bill, you risk losing them as a customer.

The People’s Library offers bespoke, sector-focused training courses in meeting customer expectations and if you’d like to know more, please get in touch. In the meantime, if your customers are in pursuit of happiness, it’s a good idea to help them find it.


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