Emotional Connections with Customers

“Go beyond merely communicating to ‘connecting’ with people.” – Jerry Bruckner

The times have changed. Customers have changed. The friendly chit-chat in the neighbourhood grocery store is passé. Customers expect and we must add, demand that companies no longer focus on only satisfying their basic requirements. They want to ‘feel’ a synergy and they strongly desire emotional connections with the brand and company they are investing in. Emotional connections with customers, helps companies give them experiences that will leave an indelible mark – positive and extremely delightful. In an earlier exposition, we had discussed that there are many reasons that customers buy. For companies it would serve them well to remember that reaching out and making emotional connections with customers will make them want to buy more and also remain with you. Haven’t you ever wondered why stores and marketplaces play season or festival relevant music – the tunes help make those emotional connections making customers happy leading them to splurge. They also find themselves recommending the place they visited to their other ‘shop happy’ friends and contacts.

Irrespective of your business model, emotional connections with customers is essential and crucial. Such customers are more likely to trust you and remain with you for long thereby adding the strength of loyalty and profitability to your company. Such customers will ensure that everyone they know also knows about you, attracting more business for you, cutting down the huge costs of advertising and marketing.  Also customers see more ‘value’ in being associated with you, which is a rather crucial component for your relationship with the customer. Emotional connections with customers also lets them support you in a number of ways – by commenting positively about your brand and company, countering any unjust comments about you and enhancing your growth by repeat business and brand evangelism.

Making emotional connections with customers is not an automated process and neither does it happen overnight. Before the emotional connection, customers must like and trust you. Trust, we all know, takes a lot of time to build and companies that have been able to consistently deliver awesome customer experiences will be able to build this trust sooner than others. While customers may be a tough lot to please, it would behove your company to surprise them with ‘special offers’, discounts, remembering their special occasions and also keep all the promises you make. Deliver each time and better than the previous time – emotional connections with customers will not remain a dream! Ensure that your customer can see you as dependable, a ‘problem solver’ and know that no matter what you will remain honest, transparent and display integrity in all your dealings.  On a personal level too, isn’t this the kind of person one feels drawn towards?

Consistent positive behaviour will ensure that your customer tells you that they find value in doing business with you. Apart from saying this directly, you will see it in their demeanour – social media comments and discussions, buying patterns, testimonials and referrals, participation in events held by you and much other such behaviour.

Emotional connections with customers may take time, but is not impossible to achieve. Companies that are committed to completely understanding and knowing their customers, will listen actively, take and implement feedback, understand and resolve customer issues, anticipate needs – all this amounts to empathy and a genuine interest in the customer. It will not be long before customers can see your steadfastness in serving them well. Emotional connections with customers means that since they want to remain associated with you, they would also do whatever it takes to keep you in business and contribute to your success. When customers stand by you so, it becomes very difficult for competition to put you down or fail in any of your endeavours.

There are a number of companies that have dedicated resources whose prime job is to gather insights on customers and their needs. They have the responsibility of thoroughly understanding the customer – knowing what makes them tick, what irritates them, what would make them happy and other such personal information. Companies then use this information to market to the ‘target audience’ and customers perceive the product to tailor made. This is a sure shot path leading towards emotional connections with customers.

True passion and genuineness comes also from knowing and believing in the product and company. It is highly important that all the employees and particularly the front-end customer service staff are convinced of the effectiveness of the product to be able to mirror that to the customer.  Companies that treat their employees well can be sure that their staff will be authentic and honest in their dealings with the customers and also about the benefits of the products. Customers also will be able to trust that if a product is not suitable or currently has no value for them, the company will not try to sell it to them just to forward their business. Passion and authenticity need to be consistent for them to make a mark as intended. They need to be reinforced with actions and on-going positive behaviour.

Research and studies prove that customers may continue to buy from a company if the product and services are good and what they need. However, they are not long term players if they do not feel emotionally connected with the brand or company. Such customers are only biding their time and making use of what’s available but the moment another opportunity, outside of your company, presents itself, poof! – they are gone. From personal experience, you would know that you tend to buy more from companies and purchase products that you can relate to. For example there is a friend who continues to buy the same breakfast cereal that she had as a child, despite the numerous variants now available. This is because breakfast in her family as a child was a very happy time and everyone in the family ate the same cereal. She associates the cereal to emotional well-being and times of happy banter and joyous laughter. So connected is she to this particular brand, that now her family enjoys the breakfast cereal together in the same jolly mood, daily. Not surprising! Research proves that companies and brands that have mastered the art of emotional connections with customers are more likely to beat competition and surge ahead in sales and profitability.

Building emotional connections with customers is all about seeing the relationship from the viewpoint of customers. What would you like as a customer?  As a customer, I would for sure want to know that I am the reason and the focus for the company’s actions and strategies. Companies must put customers at the core of everything they do. Companies fail to work up long-term relationships with customers because they forget that building emotional connections is a factor of the heart and not practicality that emanates from the mind. It is about displaying care, concern and empathy for the customer – making what is important to them vital for you too.

Companies who wish to strike the right emotional chord need to look at every interaction as an opportunity to reach out to their customer in more ways than one. They need to ask the question “what would I like to see if I were the customer” each time, relentlessly. The fact is that customer expectations are on the rise given the plethora of options and vast sources of information they have and this is putting great pressure on companies to comply by raising the bar on their offerings and customer service. Is your company ramping up its efforts and steaming ahead on making emotional connections with customers? If not, maybe it is time to start now for continued success and profitability and to have a bunch of customers more than willing to blow the trumpet of your company and its brand. Secure your future through emotional connections with customers.

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