“Keep it real” may sound like just another catchphrase that gets thrown around, but when it comes to making a genuine connection with your customer, it’s a phrase that can’t be ignored.
Keeping it real is all about being authentic. It’s about breaking down the barriers that hold you back from being as relatable and personable as you can be. If a customer enjoys shopping with your brand, that’s great- but if a customer can relate to your brand (values, story, mission), that’s where the money is. This is where real, emotional connections are forged between company and customer, and it all starts with prioritising this relationship.
Unfortunately, the significance of establishing emotional connections with customers is often overlooked when it comes to customer experience. Focus is instead often directed to customer satisfaction- making sure that the customer is happy with the product and service. Whilst this is an integral part of delivering a stand-out customer experience, a satisfied customer is a lot less likely to invest as much in your brand as an emotionally engaged customer. Harvard Business Review found that these emotionally connected customers ‘are anywhere from 25% to 100% more valuable in terms of revenue and profitability than those who are “merely” highly satisfied’ with the retailer.
The results speak for themselves, and that’s why we have put together our list of top 5 ways that you can create real emotional connections with your customers:
1. Listen to your customer
Customers are using social media more than ever before to directly engage with brands, but not all brands are effectively responding to their social media messages. Taking the time to set up the resources needed to promptly reply to these customers will show them that you care, and that you value what they have to say. Whether it’s responding to a tweet or comment, retailers need to acknowledge what the customer has said, and from here either personally express gratitude for their review, directly answer their question, or inform them about the company’s plan of action to resolve a negative customer experience. By acting on their feedback, your customers will feel like their opinion is not only heard, but that it is valued.
2. Make It Personal
When using blanket terms like ‘customers’, it’s easy to forget just how many different individuals come under this umbrella. Through a balance of primary and secondary research, the findings can help you to better understand your customer on a deeper level. By paying attention to what makes each customer tick, this creates the opportunity to deliver an experience that can be tailored to each individual person. Once a customer knows you can provide this, it is reason enough for them to seek out your brand time and time again. Paying attention to what makes your customer unique, and presenting them with information that specifically relates to their uniqueness, will confirm for the customer that you see them as much more than just another fish in the sea.
3. Speak Their Language
This point goes hand in hand with making it personal, but it’s worth discussing not only because it is easy to achieve, but because it is easy to forget. If you had to describe the tone of your brand, what would it be? Would your customers agree with your answer? Understanding the uniqueness of your customers means understanding how to talk to them. If you can talk to a customer at their level, there is more room for a connection to be nurtured based on this understanding. By treating every touchpoint with your customer like a one-on-one, in person conversation, this has the potential to differentiate your brand from others who may not be adopting this communication strategy.
4. Say Thank You
This may sound simple, maybe even basic, but a genuine thank you helps customers to feel appreciated by your brand. Appreciation is a vital step in the process of building a strong emotional connection because it makes a customer feel wanted and noticed. There’s more than one way to say thank you, and this is where the opportunity waits for you to tailor your message of appreciation to your customer, whether that’s through a specific promotion or specific message after purchase. Saying thank you helps to give your brand a personable quality, which only helps your customer to connect with you on an emotional level.
5. Think Human
It’s easy to acquire lots of customer data, but it can also be easy to get caught up in the numbers and forget about what the numbers represent. Making a conscious effort focus on qualitative data in addition to quantitative data will encourage you to make decisions that put the needs and desires of your customers at the forefront. This style of thinking is often referred to as human centred design, something we spoke about in a previous post in more detail. It needs to be remembered that customer experience is driven by emotion, and so it is paramount that brands pay very close attention to what these emotions are and how they can be influenced in all decisions at all levels of business. At the end of the day, your customers are human and they want to be treated as such.
With all the ‘noise’ out there created from different brands competing to get their message across, establishing emotional connections is critical to cutting through the clutter, both on and offline.
It’s one thing to be able to reach your customer, but it’s another to be able to keep them- and real emotional connections are what will encourage them stay.
Until next time,