Today, customer experience has become the focal point for most organizations. Businesses are investing large amounts of time, money, and resources to curate exceptional customer experiences – which is known to promote customer loyalty and increase repeat sales.
However, when every organization is focusing on the same thing – customer experience – standing out among the competition becomes difficult, unless you do something to win your customers’ hearts!
Yes – humans are emotional beings – and forging an emotional connection with your customers could be the key to outstanding customer experience and brand loyalty.
Harvard Business Review, in an article citing its in-house research, states that satisfying customers is no longer enough. It goes on to add that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.
In an independent survey conducted by the firm Motista, it was found that emotionally connected customers have 306% higher brand value as compared to the average customer.
New Voice Media also reports that the number one reason why customers switch brands is that they feel underappreciated. And how do you solve that – by making your customers feel cared for – which is also cited as the top reason for people to develop emotional brand connections.
Boost Brand Loyalty Through Memorable Interactions
Retail is no longer about sales. To be successful, instead of pushing sales, you need to develop emotional connections with your prospects to turn them into loyal customers who will also serve as your brand advocates.
To achieve this, it is vital to emotionally engage your customers at every step of their sales journey. Below, we have shared some proven ideas to humanize your brand and connect with your customers’ hearts:
1. Provide Real-Time Support to Customers Using Live Chat Tools
Making your customers feel cared for is the first step in establishing an emotional connection with them. However, if your customers must wait long enough to reach out to your support agents – they are most likely to treat it as apathy on your part and feel that you don’t care enough to provide them with a speedy resolution.
To get over this hurdle, consider integrating a live chat software across your customer touchpoints to enable real-time support. Tools like Intercom, Acquire can also be integrated with visual technologies like cobrowsing to make your customer support faster and seamless.
You may also connect your CRM and live chat systems to collect customer information and offer a higher degree of personalization. For example, as soon as a customer contacts an agent using webchat, the agent receives the customer’s name and other important information stored in the CRM software.
This enables the said agent to start the conversation on a personalized note – such as – Hello [name], how may I help you today, instead of asking the customer for his or her details. Besides personalization, live chat also reduces the wait time to almost null, ensuring speedy and efficient support – the hallmark of a customer-centric organization.
2. Learn to Tell A Great Story
Content is king – yet, nobody wants to sift through long technical blogs to figure out what your product or service can do for them. One way in which you can appeal to the emotional side of your customers is by sharing your wins through stories – such as case studies about how your product or service has solved real problems for real people.
You may also combine the power of video content with word of mouth marketing by sharing customer testimonials in the form of videos on your social media site – which are more engaging as compared to written testimonials.
If you feel creative, you can also think about sharing your team’s story through interesting write-ups, photos, and videos of various members. Does your star performer also have a fascinating hobby? Is an employee of yours engaged in some important community projects? Share these stories with the world to appreciate your employees and also make your customers more involved with your brand.
3. Train Your Support Agents on Effective Customer Communication
How do you feel when you enter a Starbucks coffee shop? Happy and welcome? That’s because Starbucks not only trains its employees to make a perfect cuppa but also how to interact with customers for a pleasant experience.
Of course, you cannot physically greet and welcome every customer on your site, but you can improve customer experience by training your staff to be kind and empathetic. Simple things like smiling when answering the phone, addressing customers politely, and listening intently to their issues before providing a tailored solution can help your agents connect with your customers on an emotional level.
Besides soft skills training, you must also train your employees to utilize all the features of your customer support software to minimize their workload. It also makes sense to have a manual of best practices for client interactions that your service agents can follow during customer conversations.
4. Offer a Loyalty Program
The main aim behind creating a loyalty program is to make your customers feel appreciated and develop an emotional connection with your brand. For example, you may offer early access, free merchandise, or create a tiered membership structure that rewards users for buying more.
In addition, you may add an element of surprise by giving your customers special discounts or offers on their birthdays or anniversaries to make them feel special and cared for.
5. ‘Listen’ To Your Customers
To make your customers feel valued, make it a priority to listen to them, and ensure that they know you are ‘listening’ by acting on their feedback. This point brings us back to the hiring and training of your customer-facing staff – who must practice extreme patience while handling customer queries.
Remember, it is pertinent to take enough time to understand what a prospect or customer really needs and offer them a solution accordingly – instead of repeating a rote script about your product or service to everyone.
Pay attention to what the customer is saying, repeat their query to them to show that you have been listening, and then proceed to offer a customized solution that will help them overcome that challenge in the most efficient manner.
Social listening is another way of tapping into customer feedback. With machine learning algorithms, you can filter all the social media mentions about your brand and categorize the feedback according to pre-decided tags to understand what your customers generally think of your brand.
6. Never Forget to Say Thank You
Make your customers feel appreciated each time they interact with you with a simple thank you for giving business and staying loyal to your brand. For example, sending a handwritten card or a note of appreciation with every product or service delivered to the customer will make them feel valued and create a positive association with your brand that goes beyond the quality of the product or service provided by you.
Customers are the heartbeat of any business, and most companies understand the value of retaining customers in addition to acquiring new ones, which explains the increased stress on improved customer experience.
However, satisfying a customer is not enough to generate loyalty – unless you make an emotional connection with them. Emotions breed loyalty - therefore, don’t just focus on customer experience but curate emotional experiences for your customers to make them feel valued and cared for – which is a sure way of building a loyal and expanding customer base for your brand.
Sawaram Suthar is CMO at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.