Take Control of Your Happiness with These 9 Simple Adjustments to Your Day 42

Take Control of Your Happiness with These 9 Simple Adjustments to Your Day

This is a guest post by John, a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans.

Rather than giving into the habitual unhappiness that taints so many of our daily lives, we have the power to make small changes that can affect the way we feel and behave.

Just 10% of our happiness depends on the circumstances in which we find ourselves in general.

And while 50% depends on our genes (blame your parents!), that leaves fully 40% to be accounted for by the way you deal with the quotidian: the little habits and gestures that make up the minutiae of your day-to-day life.

This should tell you it’s worth making the conscious decision to change the way you face up to the day. And think about the side-effects of happiness: increased productivity and health, and the happiness you spread to those around you.

It’s also worth noting that happier people have around 23% lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, pumping through their system.

It’s all about working up the will power to approach things in a way that you know are actually enjoyable – but which sometimes feel like too much hard work.

Take walking, for example. If you’ve ever walked to work, you’ll know the feeling of accomplishment you get. You’ll recognize the smell of fresh air in the morning, the uplifted mood that all that exercise-induced dopamine stimulates, the increased attention to detail you’ll pay to the landmarks along your route.

What you may not consciously notice – although scientists insist the improvement is measurable – is your increased ability to concentrate once you arrive at work, and the lower levels of strain you experience.

Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to live within walking distance of their workplace: but if you drive, think about parking further off so you can walk the final mile to work (you might save on parking fees, too!). If you take public transport, you can always hop off a stop or two early in each direction.

In your home life, a bit of an adjustment in your diet can do the job.

Another band of researchers discovered that when test subjects upped their daily fruit and veggie intake from zero to eight per day, they received the same increase in life satisfaction as if they’d gone from being unemployed to having a job. If your sweet tooth tends to confine you to processed snacks and fizzy drinks for those instant hits, don’t forget that you can sneak in some delicious fruity alternatives via smoothies, veg-and-hummus appetizers and the occasional fruit medley.

Finally, think about notching your social media intake down a little, and you will be surprised at the feelings of freedom and happiness that it promotes.

Once more, researchers are ahead of the game on this one: the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen have shown that just a week without Facebook can increase your happiness levels.

But before you log off, be sure to share this useful infographic from CashNetUSA.

Packed with more info on the little adjustments you can make to enable more happiness in your life, it’s a must-read for those who are anxious to take more responsibility for their own well-being.

What about you? Any other ways to take control of your happiness by making small changes?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 6

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.