Getting to the Heart of Customers

by | Dec 3, 2016 | Customer Service | 0 comments

“Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the heart of its customers” – Kate Nasser

We know that in order to gain and retain customer attention it is essential to highlight the uniqueness of the company, and show its humane side. This effectively means that organizations must get to the heart of customers by making them feel special and important. Companies must listen to learn – why customers buy, why they buy from one and not another, what makes them feel valued, and what would create a personal relationship in the mind with a company. Companies can capture the heart and imagination of customers in several ways, but companies must take the time to understand who the target customers are for the company, and what their preferences would be.

For the most part buying decisions from customers are not based on logic or rationale. Customers buy from the heart – they buy for emotional reasons – which is why companies must get to the heart of customers – capture their emotions. Increasingly now, customers when faced with a buying decision, use their previous ‘emotional experiences’ for creating preferences for their current purchases. Companies therefore, must pay close attention to each interaction and customer experiences such that when customers recall a company, they do so with pleasant memories and want to re-associate with the company.

A great way to get to the heart of customers is by asking them what they need and expect. When checking back with some customers, ensure that they represent a portion of a large section of the customer base. This is to ensure that your company gains an insight into what the majority of its customers think. When interviewing a diverse set of customers, it is essential to look at factors of differences such as income, hierarchy, age, and other such factors. In addition, it would help to interview customers who may have recently made a purchase. They would be able to provide sound reasons for their decision. The more information a company can gather about its customer base, the better it would get at providing customized solutions and products. Customers are more inclined to buy from a company that understands their needs, and the products are immediately suited to their needs. It is about getting to the heart of customers by asking them what they need and providing exactly that.

As mentioned, appealing to emotions is a path that leads right to heart of customers. This is what emotional branding / advertising is all about – generating feelings for the products and services of the company and leaving a deep impression. It is about creating long lasting relationships with the customer for the brand – a relationship that should be able to ensure that customers want to buy only from a particular brand, irrespective of what else may be in the market. The reason, for the surge in emotional advertising and branding to get to the heart of customers is there are many yet similar products and service now on offer. Hence, instead of only highlighting the benefits of the offerings, companies now focus on the value customers can gain from the products with respect to their desires, feelings, aspirations, and hopes. This is what ‘hits home’ – the heart of customers.

Marketing and advertising seems to have become a lot more scientific. Companies now have strategies that are designed to make an emotional impact on customers. They know that humans are essentially emotional beings and their emotions play out when making purchasing decisions. The more intense the emotions and stronger the feelings for a brand, the deeper and longer lasting the connection would be for the company and its products. Companies portray their products through advertising in a way that makes people better about themselves, makes them feel a sense of well-being, and other such positive and uplifting feelings. Conversely, companies that want customers to donate or give something to social causes, use advertising to make them feel guilty – inducing the need to comply.

We know how much customers yearn for personalization. Companies hoping to get to the heart of customers use this aspect to foster an emotional connection. Companies address customers by name, send them communication that seems directed only towards them, and provide information to customers that would be instantly relevant and useful. In addition, it would be necessary for companies to pay attention to the channels of communication used by their customers, and ensure that they respond to customers via the channels of their choice. Doing so represents the effort and commitment, a company is willing to make to get closer to customers ensuring that, customers feel emotional connected with the company over time. The fact is that customers have become more intelligent and evolved. They refuse to take companies / brands at their word – they insist on doing their research to learn about brands and understand whether the brand share their values – for example being socially responsible. Prospective customers ensure that they read reviews and comments about the company and their brand before they decide for or against a particular company. Hence, it is no longer easy to sway customers or make an ‘emotional mark’ on them, and companies have no choice but to do what customers want.

Getting to the heart of customers is about giving them what they want. Customers want companies to have and utilize their history with them, such that irrespective of when customers connect, and the channel of communication they use to do so, the company would have their entire ‘journey’. Customers do not want to waste time repeating information they would have already given the company via another channel – they want to have access to seamless and effortless multi-channel communication. Doing so efficiently ensures that the company is able to maintain a consistent and effective brand identity, and shows its commitment to respond to its customer’s preferences and demands. Multi-channel communication also affords customers to have the ability to control and manage their messages to the company, as also when they expect to receive a response from the company.

If getting to the heart of customers is what a company is after, it must ensure that customers feel like the association is meaningful and helpful. The company’s representatives, especially those that front-end with customers, must be adequately trained and equipped, to listen actively and respond to customers, in a swift and effective manner. They must have access to the customer’s data such that they can have a conversation that shows they care for and understand the customers. In addition, customer data must also be used to remember occasions for their customers. Greeting them and offering them freebies or special discounts on such occasions not only reaches the heart of customers, but arouses the interest of prospective customers as well. Customers love companies that remember what is special to them, and show it.

As competition becomes fierce, companies are constantly engaged in a ‘hunt’ to gain new customers, and results that reflect high ROI. However, they often forget to touch upon the softer side – that of getting to the heart of customers such that they feel special and wanted because the company attended to their emotions and feelings. Get closer to your customers by recognizing their emotional and mental needs – no better way to earn a steady and high ROI.

 

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