These days, customers have no problem remaining digitally connected to brands. Chatbots are at their service, social media is at their fingertips, and smartphones let them have it all wherever they go. However, just as some people claim that technology is robbing us of human connection, one might ask if the human touch is also disappearing in the customer-brand relationship. Can customers have an emotional connection with brands anymore? Or does this connection even matter? If you listen to the research, emotions definitely count. According to a Customer Thermometer study, 65% of customers who feel an emotional connection believe the brand cares about people like them. The same study reveals that this positive feeling leads to other bonuses for brands, including lower customer attrition rates and greater consumer spending. So no matter how digitally savvy your company may be, warming your customers’ hearts is key to making them happy in the long term. Here are five ways to bond with your customers for a successful relationship.
Well, obviously, you might say. But we’re not just talking about a shared language. Speak to them in a way they understand and enjoy, and make every exchange sound like a conversation with a friend or colleague. Using similar vocabulary and a friendly tone of voice (both oral and written) makes your customers feel comfortable and ready to open up to you about their needs. Sometimes, a formal tone is appropriate, depending on the kind of brand or the customer profile. At other times, smile emojis are the best way to go. Be true to your brand image, but remember to be true to your customers as well.
There will always be unhappy customers. The big question is how to make them feel better and win their confidence back. The best thing your agents can do is just feel everything with them. A frustrated customer who just wasted an hour trying to modify a reservation? Share that frustration and show some empathy. And what about an elated customer on social media who just loves the new coffee she ordered? Share her joy through GIFs, emojis, thank you messages…maybe even a discount off her next order. Practice empathy when needed, have a sense of humor, and share customers’ happiness as much as possible.
When customers trust you, they forge an emotional connection. Customer Thermometer research further states that customers who feel emotionally connected are willing to pay more, especially if it means getting a safe and secure experience. What does this mean for your brand? Offering a secure and easy payment process, for example, earns customers’ confidence, which in turn makes them happy to support your brand. This emotional connection then leads to them supporting you over and over again. Make every experience a painless one to earn their trust.
Customers love brands that see beyond business and reach out to others in need. The previous study found that 55% of emotionally connected customers feel that they are making a difference in the world when buying from brands that support charitable causes. When their money helps a good cause, they feel better about their purchases—and more respect for your brand.
Never underestimate the power of personalization. To really connect with your customers, give them the attention they deserve. Agents should never rush service interactions just to meet target contact center metrics. Customers with difficult cases should receive follow-up calls, and goodwill gestures should always be offered in these situations. In short, every customer needs to feel appreciated. That emotional connection will go far toward winning their loyalty.No matter how great your website, apps, or social media channels may be, customers need to feel that your brand has a heart. Customers still crave a human connection, and your employees play a critical role in its delivery. A little bit of humor, a friendly tone, and a willingness to listen are all ways to stay connected to your customers for the long term.
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