One of the main goals for any business is to make clients happy. In general, happy clients stick around longer, spend more, and recommend the business to others. But a lot has changed in the business/client relationship in the last few years that impact what makes clients happy.

During the pandemic, many clients adopted digital services like never before. Video conferencing, telemedicine, online learning, and new contactless services took off, and in 2020, eCommerce deliveries saw a 10-year increase in just eight weeks.

These digital methods of buying, receiving, communicating, and engaging have not only changed client expectations, but they’ve also changed how businesses recognize client satisfaction. With face-to-face interactions replaced more and more with digital interactions, it’s harder to know what a client is really feeling or thinking. 

This makes it critical to identify the client behavior that indicates happiness today. Here are seven key behaviors we’ve found among our happy clients that you can start looking for in your clients too.

1. They smile on the phone

In a 2008 study conducted at the University of Portsmouth in England, researchers discovered that people can “hear” a smile through the phone. Humans are able to distinguish variations in sound and tone in a smiling and a non-smiling person. 

Because smiling affects how people speak, client service agents who are on the phone with clients can often tell if the client is smiling during any part of the interaction just by the way they sound. If you’re “hearing” your clients smile a lot, chances are good they’re pretty happy.

2. They leave positive reviews

It takes time and effort to leave a business review — especially a positive one, since dashing off a negative one is often easier because it feels so cathartic. If a client is inspired to leave a positive review, something must have really impressed them and made them happy. 

The knock-on effect of positive reviews is that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a review they trust. That makes positive reviews from happy clients a valuable tool for gaining new business. 

3. They refer new clients

Similar to leaving a positive review, recommending your business to friends, family, colleagues, and others is one of the best signs of a satisfied client. Happy clients want other people to experience what they’ve experienced.

Client referrals also instill more trust in your business. When prospective clients hear good things about you from someone they trust, they’re more likely to trust you. And trust is an important element in a happy client relationship. 

4. They want to connect with you

When a client asks to connect with your business beyond the initial buying experience, it means they had a good experience. If their interactions with your business weren’t particularly helpful or positive, they’re not going to be concerned with anything else your business is up to.

However your clients want to connect — whether it’s being added to your email list or following your business on social media — you can make the connection meaningful by recognizing their happiness and vowing to keep the good vibes going.

5. They support you on social media

Say what you will about social media these days, but a client who makes the effort to show up for you on your social media channels — instead of badmouthing you or trying to deter others from doing business with you —  is probably a happy one.

And when you consider that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will likely occur on digital channels, it’s important to maintain positive interactions with clients via social media. The same is true if your business is B2C. 

6. They complain less

Happy clients have much less reason to complain. And it’s not because they never have any problems. Rather, it’s because they know whatever hiccups or glitches may happen, your business will resolve it to their liking and treat them well during the process. 

They also know that if a problem happens, they can come directly to you — instead of going to social media or other channels to voice their frustration. It’s a sign of their confidence in and respect for your business.

7. They treat you like family

Happy clients know you and your team on a first-name basis. They ask about your vacation. They reach out just to talk. In short, they behave like a family member — someone with whom you feel at ease and camaraderie, and vice versa. When your clients start to move into “familial” territory, you know you’re doing something right.

The secret to client happiness: exceptional client service

Providing the best possible client service and support you can is an outstanding way to keep clients happy. Client service first organizations are able to empathize with clients, personalize client interactions, and ask for continual feedback so they can make necessary product and process improvements. They put client happiness at the center of everything they do — and you can too.

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