Companies that strive to understand the emotions behind customer experiences are the true MVPs. In fact, Gallup Research estimates businesses that practice emotion-driven innovation have customer advocates who are three times more likely to recommend them to others.
Sometimes fondly referred to as make-mom-proud companies, the nurturing tendency to innovate and design products and services that strive to improve the human condition is what sets them apart.
A perfect example is Samsung India’s recently released Good Vibes and Relúmĭno apps. These innovative tech solutions were created to improve the user experiences of deafblind individuals and people with low vision.
Though in reality it’s a relatively limited target group with an estimated 2% of the world’s population living with ‘milder forms’ of deafblindness, the Good Vibes promo ad has tugged on just about every heartstring it’s come into contact with. This is because Samsung marketers harnessed the power of storytelling to display the newly enabled two-way communication between a young deafblind girl and her mother. In fact, the top comment on Youtube with 507 likes states “1st time in life my tears come out after watching a commercial”.
Rational considerations like preference for Android devices, awesome promotions or better price might initially lead you to select a Samsung phone. But, it is the company’s fostering of emotional bonds that will make you want to stay.
So, you might be wondering, how exactly might you create emotion-driven customer loyalty?
The answer is: collect, analyze and react to emotional or customer sentiment data. Tools and technologies like facial recognition, haptic touch, wearables and sentiment analysis are already being used by companies to capture and get a sense of customer’s biofeedback.
Your ability to gather and use emotional data at the right time, in the right way and at a large scale is what can set you apart from the rest.
Effective collection and management of all the emotional cues seems humanly impossible given the large number of touchpoints between customers and brands. So, you need to start somewhere.
According to a 2019 Deloitte study titled “Exploring the Value of Emotion-Driven Engagement”, 60% of brand loyal customers used words like love, happy, and adore when describing their favorite brands.
These are precisely the same words they’d use when talking about family, friends, and beloved pets. Telling, isn’t it? If you want your brand to command the same level of fondness as Lassie does, it’s high time you start paying more attention to and strategizing based on customer emotions.
Here are some tips to get you started on your winding journey towards enhanced customer loyalty:
1) Treat Customers as though they’re familiar friends
About 70% of consumers believe that brand relationship should include capturing feedback in exchange for responsive integration into product and service improvements. Also almost 50% of consumers reported loving when companies recall their recent interactions.
It’s almost as though consumers want to feel like they’re in a reciprocal relationship where they’re seen, heard and appreciated. So, finding ways to mirror positive human relationships and real-life friendships can go a long way in recruiting brand loyalists and advocates.
The use of personalization in your marketing strategy is one concrete way to go about appealing to Millenials, Gen Xers and Traditionalists alike. In fact, 64% of consumers report themselves likely to jump ship if a company didn’t make an effort to personalize its communications. And by 2020, 51% of consumers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.
This means you should get to work ASAP on crafting tailor-made offers based on information and data collected about audiences you hope to serve. As the figures below show, a personalized experience makes all the difference when it comes to conversion and loyalty.
Source: Convince and Convert
2) Don’t Go Overboard
As you can imagine, consumers have strong opinions about the information brands should know about them. Deloitte found that 83% cited trustworthiness as the emotional factor that most aligned them with their favorite brand. And though 57% expect brands to know their customer service history, 35% wish to withhold their browsing history for similar products or services from their favorite brands.
You should be transparent and collect only that data which will directly impact your ability to make prospects and customers to feel better understood and at ease.
Personalization is great and, as the numbers above show, increasingly necessary. However, be careful of becoming overly friendly. You’ll have to experiment to strike the right balance. But when in doubt, stick with simple minimal risk strategies.
As long as you’re thoughtful and respectful about how you use the information customers have trusted you enough to share, you should be okay.
3) Be Consistent and Reliable With Your Touchpoints
Deloitte also found that 70% of customers believe that reliable customer service is what inspired their loyalty to their favorite brands. Accessibility through multiple points of contact is preferred. Responsiveness builds trust and trust goes hand in hand with consistency.
Though it takes a great deal of time and effort to form emotional bonds, they can be severed by any small misstep. This is why it’s so essential that branding and voice are kept consistent throughout every touchpoint of the customer journey and customer feedback is actively sought after.
4) Invest in technological infrastructure to capture emotional data
Finally, the widening array of customer inputs and rising expectations calls for a cohesive, emotionally intelligent technology ecosystem to be put in place. The idea is to leverage operational and contextual data to promote customer connection and human experience.
You have to first decide exactly what type of emotional data you’d like to capture and then take steps to research and set up the relevant technology to make it possible. It’s a relatively unexplored area, so it might seem daunting at first glance.
However, you’ll be unable to make emotional data fully actionable until you have a platform that allows you to centralize and analyze data collected from all sources whether it be your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, online and offline customer interactions or wherever.
You can employ a reliable social listening tool to capture audience sentiments and emotions around your content.
Data scientists are increasingly able to build machine-learning models that can be the basis for more real-time, personalized customer interactions. So really the sky’s the limit here.
Emotional responses are paramount to just about everything that lies between the beginning and end of a consumer’s relationship with a brand.
Since building dependable, meaningful and devoted customer relationships capable of withstanding the tests of time is your ultimate goal, you need to rise to the occasion.
Figure out what sort of data best suits your industry and work out the best way to go about collecting it in a thoughtful and balanced manner. Remember, retaining customer trust is everything!