Establishing emotional engagement in your business is a huge task. Thinking about where you could start engaging with your customers on an emotional level seems like a tricky task. However, it is an important question to consider.
Research by Forrester found that that emotion was the number 1 factor that ensured customer loyalty in 17 of the 18 industries involved in their study. Ensuring that your emotional engagement strategy is on point is becoming more and more crucial to attracting and maintaining customers.
In order to start making these changes, you need to keep a few ideas in mind.
#1 Make your brand align with the emotions that drive your customers
It’s now a fact that the majority of our buying decisions are influenced by the emotional subconscious. In fact it has been estimated that around 90% of our purchases are influenced by emotion.
In order to take advantage of this, instead of working hard to emphasise effectiveness and ease within CX, companies need to start focusing on emotion and how interactions with the company make customers feel.
This is part of the reason why people buy luxury items such as Mulberry handbags. It’s not just the bag itself but the in-store service and the packaging that it is delivered in that make the customer feel special. It’s not just shoved into a plastic bag, it’s designed so the box it comes in feels premium and the item is wrapped intricately with care. It signals luxury, high quality and it makes the customer feel like they’re treating themselves.
This sense of a Mulberry being a guilty pleasure is what the brand taps into and takes advantage of, as well as being a trusted high quality brand.
However, even if brands are liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers’ most profitable behaviours. If you don’t understand your customers’ emotions then you don’t understand them well enough.
#2 Know that customer emotions change
During the buyer’s journey, the emotions towards a particular brand will change, for example, the positive feeling that they get immediately after a purchase will dwindle over time, particularly if the company isn’t getting in contact with them.
A recent HBR article said that “in banking, the desire to “feel secure” is a critical motivator when attracting and retaining customers early on. When cross-selling products later, the wish to “succeed in life” becomes more important.”
Being aware of these changes and adapting to them throughout the buyer’s journey is essential to retaining customers and keeping them happy in the long-term. If you know that it’s been a long time since your customer purchased something, send them an email reminding them of their 3-year product guarantee, or encouraging them to sign up for your blog or newsletter. By keeping them involved you show that you’re still there for them and maintain the positivity that they originally felt for you.
By aligning your emotional connection strategies with your specific customer engagement objectives: acquisition, retention, cross-selling, and so on, you’re more likely to maximise results over the length of the buyer’s journey.
#3 Get customers involved in innovation
If, as a customer, you feel engaged, you’ll be more likely to give your time and feedback to a brand. Despite this, there aren’t many companies actively involving their customers in innovation.
By adopting a crowdsourcing mentality to innovation and using the ideas and involvement of your customers to shape the direction of the brand, you will send out a really powerful signal of commitment and engage your audience.
Airbnb set their Twitter fans the challenge of submitting Vines of their Airbnb trips to the company, these were combined together into a single short film ‘Hollywood and Vines’. This not only led to an innovative part of marketing, but got customers directly involved with the brand’s story.
#4 Make your communications more targeted
You may want to get a single message out there, but it isn’t always effective to deliver it in the same way to all of your customers.
By thinking about your different personas and using appropriate segmentation, you can shape your messaging and proposition so that it becomes more relevant to the individual. For example, if your younger female audience is more prevalent on Instagram, think about how you could target them by using the language that they use and the images that will resonate with them in their preferred channel.
By understanding the emotional drivers and aspirations of your different customers, you can engage with them on a deeper level and align your communication strategy to what will resonate with them.
#5 Be bold and be distinct to compete on experience
Your self-service portal looks exactly the same as your competitor’s; the app that you have is almost identical with the same functionality. How can you genuinely compete on experience if you’re not differentiating yourself from your competitors?
If customers can’t immediately see that you’re different from the rest, then they are unlikely to switch from what they already know, even if they don’t really love it.
Challenge yourself and ask what can you do that is genuinely different. Refresh the page and start again and don’t just get whatever your competitor has for the sake of it. The key is to stay in tune with your customers. Keep their emotions in mind whenever you’re making marketing decisions and you’ll be certain to see better results.
To dive deeper into the world of emotion check out our most recent eBook 'The Essential Guide to Emotional Engagement: The Secret to Customer Experience Success' which explores the role of emotion in capturing the Voice of the Customer and how to emotionally engage your employees.