Are happy people more satisfied customers? And does that affect your satisfaction KPIs?

Your age suggests your happiness level, the HILDA happiness curve* suggests.

In general, if you are:

* Young – you probably self-describe as being happy all or most of the time.

* Middle-aged – you probably self-describe as being happy none, a bit or just some of the time.

* Older – you probably self-describe as being happy all or most of the time.

Of course, these are broad labels and each of us can be happy, or not happy, regardless of our age, though the data shows that this general thesis holds.

But given the extraordinary COVID-19-induced life changes of the last two years, we wondered if self-perceptions of happiness had also changed. And then whether changes in the base levels of happiness would influence other attitudes, such as satisfaction with the organisations you deal with.

A happiness and satisfaction relationship?

As one of the KPIs we measure is customer satisfaction, if changes in customers’ self-perceptions of their happiness influences their assessments of satisfaction with the organisations they deal with, then that could alter satisfaction KPIs over time.

So to see what, if any influence, self-perceptions of happiness had on other measures, we tested this by asking thousands of customers about their satisfaction with organisations they dealt with regularly.

Then, we asked about products and services they used, established their personal characteristics, and finished with the HILDA happiness self-perception question.

What we found out about satisfaction.

What emerged from the questioning was that the proportions of customers who said they were satisfied with the organisations was the same regardless of their personal characteristics. The personal characteristics included age, gender, household type, personal occupation, household income and home ownership.

What we found out about happiness and satisfaction.

We then looked at those who said they were happy all or most of the time (the happy people) and found their satisfied proportions matched the all-customers’ satisfaction proportions. We also looked at those customers who rated themselves as not happy. We found again that there was no difference between their satisfaction levels and the overall satisfaction levels of all customers.

The conclusions.

Accordingly, from this dataset, we can state that customers’ happiness does not influence their satisfaction with the organisations asked about. Rather, the satisfaction KPIs measure customers’ satisfaction with the organisations’ performance at the time of measure and does not reflect extrinsic factors such as the customers’ happiness self-perceptions. This indicates that satisfaction KPIs are accurate guides to customers’ views about the organisation, whether they are happy or not.

So, if in these uncertain times, knowing how satisfied your customers are with your organisation, can strengthen your business, please call Philip Derham – 0414 543 765 – or email him at Then we can establish the satisfaction KPIs that will help you.

* Source: Melbourne Institute’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.