“You are either ok or you are not ok. Whether it is a positive or negative emotion, it’s either active or passive. If it’s passive, that means I might not like you much, but I don’t care enough to change you as a supplier. I may like you a little, but not enough to recommend you. If active, I’m talking about you, or suing you, or standing on the street corner with a placard saying this company needs to be closed. Or, I am the Apple customer, waiting in the queue for the next product.”
– Morris Pentel, Consultant and Customer Experience Strategist
The Rise of Customer Experience
You’re probably familiar with the term Customer Experience (CX) but how much have you actually unpacked what it means for your company? Zendesk’s 2021 Trends Report found that 75% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that give them a good customer experience. What’s more, 50% will switch to a different brand after just one bad experience. Scary stuff!
So, we know that prioritising CX is key. But where does emotion come into this? In our recent blog, The Art of Storytelling, we spoke about the way in which building a strong narrative can humanise a brand. Essentially, you need the ‘likability factor’. This needs to be considered at every stage, from your ad campaigns to the point of purchase and beyond. Every single interaction with the customer matters. For instance, how do you address complaints? Are dissatisfied customers able to speak to a fellow human being, rather than a ChatBot?
Empathy is important here, as customers who experience positive emotions in relation to your brand are more likely to feel satisfied, remain loyal and recommend your products or services to others. CX evangelist, Adrian Swinscoe, advocates for a holistic approach to this – advising organisations to form an ‘empathetic musculature’ that is deeply ingrained within their way of working, rather than just surface level. While this will require time and commitment to get right, the benefits are worth it in that it will enable your brand to provide excellent customer service and show that you truly care.
Brand Perceptions, Emotional Connections
Following on from this, brand perception is a vital component of connecting with your customers on an emotional level. Does your company give back and, if so, how? Consumers – particularly millennials and Gen Zs – are becoming increasingly concerned about buying from socially responsible brands. As well as this, 54% of customers want to buy from companies that prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and wider community. Communicate your core values and recognise what matters to them.
Further to this, brand consistency across platforms is more likely to evoke positive emotions in your customers. In terms of multilingual content, this can be tricky to get right; a fantastic way to improve upon consistency is to create a Localization Style Guide. Facilitate a high-quality experience for customers by making yourself a reliable and ethical brand that they want to be associated with.
Considering emotional motivators and triggers can drastically improve your CX strategy. These are the things that drive customer behaviour and they vary from sector to sector. The Harvard Business Review conducted research across hundreds of different brands and came up with 10 high-impact motivators that significantly affect customer value, including: ‘stand out from the crowd’, ‘feel a sense of belonging’ and ‘be the person I want to be’.
HBR also quantified customer value in relation to emotional connection and found that a ‘fully connected’ customer was 52% more valuable than one who was just ‘highly satisfied’. While there were 25 motivators that had a significant impact across the board, additional ones existed in each category and varied across customer demographics. Understanding what motivates your customers can help you to optimize individual customer value and maximise company growth. This is an area you simply cannot afford to overlook when it comes to CX!
Leverage Your Customers
Finally, investing in the voice of your customer (VoC) is an integral part of improving CX. Only when you see the experience through their eyes can you work towards making it the best that it can be. As such, collecting feedback is a vital way to gather information. Make sure that it’s quick and easy for your customers to provide this feedback as they’ll be more likely to do so if they don’t have to go out of their way. Additionally, don’t forget to ask your employees’ opinions and take what they say seriously; they might pick up on something you’d never have thought of yourself!
We’ll be looking into VoC more deeply in our upcoming blogs, so keep your eyes peeled! For now, we hope you’re all set to begin working customer emotion into your CX strategy. Focus on demonstrating empathy and appealing to the motivators that drive your target audience and you can’t go far wrong.