All advertising is designed to appeal to the customers’ emotions. After all, people don’t buy products; they buy into the feeling that they believe owning or using one will give them. Emotions can shape customer perceptions and create an influential brand association among the target audience.
On the ecommerce scene, brands like Dollar Shave Club just seem to get it. They appear to have mastered the art of creating memorable marketing campaigns. The customer response has indeed been phenomenal. The company says it tries to capitalize on the ‘post-purchase high’ to drive engagement. That is the essence of emotional loyalty – going beyond discounts and offers and aligning with the deeper aspirations of customers. These desires include but are not limited to feeling a sense of belonging, adventure, or happiness.
However, most brands have trouble articulating the steps that can drive customer loyalty. No two people think alike, and what is attractive to one may be a complete abomination for another. Emotions are engaged by experiences, and how to be consistent at delivering them is a mystery that few have been able to crack.
Millennials and Gen Z – two of the largest consumer groups driving consumption on the market- are known to favor brands that are authentic and relevant in the way they communicate. So, it is the proverbial tightrope that brands must walk between cultivating a positive brand image and drive revenues. The slightest miscalculation could turn into a disaster.
Thanks to advanced customer analytics, brands can now predict how customers are likely to respond to certain types of messages with increasing accuracy. For example, A/B testing has graduated from testing how customers respond to the visual elements of a website. Marketers are now using it to compare the emotions triggered by competitor campaigns to their own.
The question now being asked is “How do we want customers to feel?” instead of “What do customers usually feel?’ when they interact with a brand. This proactive approach has been shown to increase engagement and retention by a wide margin.
Strategies for Leveraging Emotional Loyalty to Strengthen Brand Relationships
Creating an emotional connection with customers is a process that goes beyond mere CSAT. In other words, it is like the start of a long-term relationship with a significant other. At the time of the first interaction, a customer is not emotionally connected to a brand. It is a gradual process that translates into a higher average order size over time. The exact progression may vary from customer to customer, but the outcome is the same: higher lifetime value and word-of-mouth publicity.
Here are 4 proven strategies to help you build and leverage emotional loyalty with your customers:
1. Customer emotion mapping
You have probably been using customer journey mapping for years now. It is a process used for identifying any gaps in your product or service that can be fixed and improve customer experience and retention. However, when the ‘emotional component’ is added to the journey map, you can understand the ‘why’ behind the actions customers usually take.
For example, NPS scores may tell you exactly how many of them think you are worth recommending to their friends and colleagues. However, emotion mapping goes beyond superficial scores to decode what customers think and feel at each touchpoint. To do this, you will need to follow up with a select number of surveyed customers at different stages of the customer journey. Interview them and make a note of the words they use to describe their experiences. Pay special attention to the tone of voice that they use.
You can identify the distinct emotional factors driving customer experience by correlating these insights with the customer journey map.
2. Omnichannel customer support and self-service:
At the height of the pandemic, most people were in an emotionally vulnerable state. This is true for both customers as well as the agents supporting them. In such times, humans usually crave belonging, care, and recognition. Unfortunately, long hold times and poor follow-ups were common at the time, and trending social media conversations prove that this caused customers a lot of frustration. The learning for brands: invest in omnichannel support with self-service integration.
Technology isn’t as insensitive as one might think. ‘Emotional’ chatbots, capable of detecting emotions and responding with empathy, are now available. These can be leveraged to keep customers engaged and take the pressure off your agents in a crunch situation.
Secondly, self-service avoids the need for customers to contact your team over and over again. Incidentally, repeat calls/chats are among the biggest contributors to contact volumes, increasing the odds of escalation and negative reviews.
3. Know your customers better:
In 2021, customers switching devices multiple times during a single browsing session is no big deal. However, the ability to identify customers across those devices is critical for brands. The reason: a customer could have multiple phone numbers and email addresses that may or may not be on file with you.
This may lead to unnecessary verification and stretch a conversation longer than it needs to be. To help your agents identify customers and communicate with empathy, integrate your CRM with helpdesk data.
This will give them the background context for a particular situation faced by a customer and help them build rapport. It can also help you track your ‘passives’- customers whose CSAT scores have gone from satisfied to dissatisfied over a period of time and re-engage them.
4. Consistent brand tone and voice:
Humans prefer other humans that look and sound familiar. In the context of brand loyalty, this means developing a consistent voice and tone across all touchpoints that customers can relate to. For example, email, phone, chat, website, social media, etc. This can help build trust and credibility with each interaction.
Experts suggest using language that is easy to understand and free of jargon while using a tone of voice – professional or friendly- according to the brand image you want to create in customers’ minds.
Customer satisfaction is an emotion that all brands crave but few are able to generate. Done right, it has the potential to boost sales and customer retention like nothing else. The truth is that the customer satisfaction graph is rarely linear. It is filled with ups and downs. One of the most effective ways to ensure a positive customer experience is efficient and friendly customer service.
If you have been struggling to meet your SLAs, an experienced partner like Helplama can enable you to catch up. Our plans are designed to be flexible to your needs and do not come with minimum volume restrictions. There are no legal contracts to worry about either. In addition, our Zero-Risk Guarantee covers you if you aren’t satisfied. Contact us today for more information!