It isn’t just an occasional visit and delivery of product and services…clients, no matter how large the company, want to be treated as individuals because so many are realising that there will always be another competitor that will recognise them as a ‘person’ – after all, it’s a person within the company that makes the final decision!
Mona Channet is part of the UK MSS practice and has had experience of cases where the importance of getting to know the customer beyond simple analytical feedback has proven to be essential to gauging client loyalty.
Nearly every company tracks market drivers such as price and product innovation. But today’s customers aren’t deciding how to shop based on analytics—they’re also highly influenced by their emotional experiences with a brand.
Apple and Samsung have been bitter rivals for quite some time in a battle to lead in the world of smartphone supremacy. According to CNN, the two companies have previously accused each other of copying the other’s technologies and going through endless legal battles. Samsung recognised the gravity of Steve Jobs’s death on its business and released the statement, “We agree that it is just not the right time to announce a new product. New date and venue will be shortly announced”. The emotional mind-set that occurs when a customer is genuinely loyal is so powerful that cost and competition will often make little to no difference so this would have proven a potential disaster for any competitor to market against the revolutionary loss of Steve Jobs.
Researchers, by virtue of their experience, generally have a firm understanding and appreciation of what drives customer loyalty and what this represents. Bryan Urbick, Founder and Chairman of Consumer Knowledge Centre quotes, “Most research projects these days involve a certain element of finding out what emotional footprints brands leave behind – what triggers loyalty and what turns customers away.” As B2B competition gets even fiercer, companies will need to become emotionally intelligent with their clients’ needs and wants enough to know how they’ll receive their product. If a brand is able to consistently connect with its customers on an emotional level, it is much more likely to achieve strong customer loyalty. Emotional intelligence (EQ) can be defined as the awareness and effective management of ones’ own emotions and other peoples’ emotional information. Gone are the days of campaign-aggressive suggestions of what the customer should have or want, which often leads to resentment on the customer’s part and, at worst, no sale. The business that applies emotional intelligence will find a win-win outcome in which the customer finds the best product or service for their needs, resulting in increased Customer Engagement, sales and satisfaction.
Tuning into and appropriately responding to the customer’s emotional needs is a prerequisite for achieving Customer Engagement. Customer Engagement is important because engaged customers are the ones that stick around for years, eventually becoming living billboards who bring in new business with their ebullient recommendations. Ultimately, Customer Engagement boosts your organisation’s profit margin, share price, and ROI. To fully engage customers, you must offer an exceptional buying experience, not just another product but one with which the customer is able to emotionally identify. Customers’ emotions aren’t one-size-fits all; in order to figure out what each customer wants, the relationship must consist of three key tools that help them maximise this relationship:
- Emotional Awareness
- Social Awareness
- Impact and Influence
How customers feel when they interact with a product determines how they feel about the company itself and the manner in which the company relates with them individually rather than collectively. After all, loyalty is lost or strengthened in every interaction between a company and its customers. If you question a genuinely loyal consumer about why they love their favourite brand, it is often because of the way that brand makes them feel (valued, listened-to, appreciated etc). Any brand can get in that close; it is all a matter of listening, reaching out to, and cherishing the consumer.
Creating customer loyalty and good relationships can seem daunting for some brands. It is easy to succumb to the belief that the competition makes it difficult to be distinct, let alone ensuring customers seek you out, time and time again. Somehow we mistake money off coupons and promotions as drivers of loyalty – though these can help, they are more often drivers of volume sales, but not necessarily loyalty as it is becoming more apparent that customers are more than just analytics but real people who make up a huge emotional difference!
Ultimately the situation will present itself to all business leaders as to how they weigh the growing positive trends of their established products, services, and efforts spent building their CRM against the fact that they may get better results by applying an emotional temperature change towards their customers. Some things just don’t go down well on paper and cannot be stored in a database, and this is where Emotional Intelligence will help add leverage to any company’s pursuit to develop a superb customer relationship.