5 Ways to Rekindle Customer Love

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The Holistic Customer Experience Begins With Love

The customer experience is where human and technology mingle, where meaningful journeys can be forged and cherished forever. They say you can’t buy love and that is true, but you can earn your customers’ love quite easily nowadays by making some adjustments.



At the end of the day customers’ needs are quite simple. They want everything to be running smoothly, to not be taken for granted, and to have a satisfying experience when they interact with a brand that is getting some of their hard-earned money. Though our world continues to advance by leaps and bounds, in many respects customer service hasn’t caught up yet, and much of that has to do with the sluggish transition to digital.

There is still not enough connection between the various parts of a company, between the people working in a company and the tools they use to serve customers. These weak links in the service chain lead to all kinds of knowledge and communication gaps that there is simply no justification for in this age of connectivity.

So even though we can run entire companies from the palm of our hand now, interaction with a brand can still be a choppy and unsatisfying experience in many ways. Yet in this transparent and borderless world we have created where consumers have the freedom to switch services and broadcast their thoughts to the rest of the planet, companies need to start thinking about how to make the customer journey a truly holistic experience. This is only possible when each vital part in the chain contributes to forming a perfect whole, meaning the ultimate experience every time a consumer comes into contact with a company.

Love Is Like Oxygen

True love doesn’t require much effort, it comes naturally and automatically. There is no need to look for it or think about it – it is simply always there. That is why true love doesn’t drain us like other things do. Just the opposite is true –love fills us up, giving us an abundance of motivation and drive. Love is what makes us jump out of bed in the morning and be excited about the day ahead. By the same token, a holistic customer experience is made up of a series of sweeping and all embracing encounters at every touch point along the digital journey. Every incident may be unique, and may have occurred at a different time or place. But from where the customer is standing, it is all one and the same thing – how they feel the brand is relating to them. Customers want that relationship to be like any other; consistent and ongoing with the same attitude and same fuzzy feeling throughout. They really want to love the brand but not all brands have the means in place to allow the love to flourish.
kindlelove

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Five Ways To Rekindle Customer Love

Based on what we already know about customers, let us take a look at the elements that contribute to the holistic customer experience. Putting them into motion together is sure to bring back that lovin’ feeling:



#1 Customers want personalized content
“Show me you know me” is the most basic condition for any good relationship. This is a no-brainer.

#2 Customers want simplicity
“Keep it simple’ and ‘Fit it into my life” because the rest of the customer’s life is complicated enough and they want any interaction with a brand to take as little time as possible.

#3 Customers want effortless engagement
All customers really want is a frictionless customer experience: “Some companies spend a lot of time and energy on wowing their customers, but the studies actually suggest that it doesn’t do anything for either customer stats or propensity to buy.” Salesforce’s Mike Milburn, The New Age of Service

#4 Customers want immediate response
With all of this connectedness comes a lot more data and a lot less tolerance on the consumer’s side. Companies are learning the hard way that timing is everything when it comes to extreme customer centricity.

#5 Customers want to be in charge of the process
“Let me do it” because 72% of customers prefer self-service over picking up the phone, and 91% would use self-service if it was available, according to IBM Retail Research.



Key Takeaway –
In today’s brisk world, how customers feel about a brand means everything. Those that get it will rush to incorporate systems that automatically inject some love into every phase of the customer journey. That make giving the customer that extra bit of care seem completely natural and effortless.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Some companies do put a lot of efforts to put their customer’s need first. The problem is that when you offer something useful to customers, the need to get more grows more, that is where most of the companies fail to deliver. We, as humans and as customer, has insatiable needs, you fill one cup with good thing, the attention then suddenly moves to other as first one is now not important as it has been filled in with time.

  2. Interesting point, Michael.

    Vishal, if you give your customers the right solution that enables them to freely interact with the company, they might feel they are taken care of. Also, I think that the right solution can adapt to the growing needs of customers, without overburdening the company in the process.

  3. Hi, Thanks for sharing your thoughts Yifat, I think I agree with some of what you’re saying, however, I can’t help but question some of your points though, would be interested in your response and further thoughts on some of my points.

    “Customers want simplicity…they want any interaction with a brand to take as little time as possible” My response to this was Really? Do you really want your interaction with a First Class lounge to take as little time as possible? If people don’t want to spend time then can someone please explain why Apple Stores have such high dwell time and footfall? Pretty sure it’s quicker to buy Apple products online without entering said store.

    Customers want effortless engagement, again my response was really? Don’t relationships require effort from both people? If there is no effort there is no relationship, just a transaction of a commodity with no meaning. Rather shouldn’t we look into whether the effort required is valuable or not.

    In the case of budget airline the effort I make in ordering a meal on the plane if I want one is of value to me. If I want to have no effort in thinking about food I pre-order or I fly with someone else.

    I’m guessing you’re talking about effort in the instance of the company failing to do what it’s meant to, right?

  4. Love – I like the idea. And I agree that because there’s a short supply of love, there’s financial reward for companies that provide it to customers. But then, there’s that weird, contentious mingling of love and money again. It’s hard to walk away from these two without thinking, “this play date could end badly.”

    What’s missing from this conversation – and many others – is intent. If a vendor is only about

    * making goal
    * “driving” revenue
    * “crushing it”
    * chasing sales

    then customer love (and loving customers) will be hard to create. (Love: should we have a business process for that?)

    I’m all for love, but in business, love just sounds tinny to me – unless the right intent exists. If the business purpose is just about money, save love for personal relationships. I’m fine with keep customers happy.

  5. Hi Andrew

    I agree with you entirely. Despite the growth in books such as Kevin Roberts’ ‘Lovemarks’, extolling the virtues of developing brands that customers love, reality is somewhat more prosaic. Research by Liljander & Roos on ‘Customer‐Relationship Levels – from Spurious to True Relationships’ shows that the vast majority of customers – more than 95% – do not even consider themselves to have a ‘relationship’ with the companies they do business with, let alone anything as all encompassing as love.

    Rather than waste time and effort trying to kindle anything as uncompromising as love in customers, the vast majority of brands would be much better trying to make sure they deliver the business basics – good quality products, at fair prices, that do what they say on the tin, with a modicum of support when required – as Barwise & Meehan describe in their book ‘Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most’.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

  6. I LOVE these comments! Trust, rebuilding value and bonding, humans having insatiable needs, feeling taken care of, intent, delivering what matters most. I think if you put it all together you have a great recipe for success in anything in life.

  7. Eb, thanks for your comments. Your point is well taken, but maybe it would be fairer to say that this relates to the digital space. When customers interact with a brand online, they generally want to complete the process as quickly as possible. As for face to face interactions and brick and mortar stores, I think most people still want to receive service as quickly as possible. Even if they are going to stick around the store or lounge (as your examples suggest), they don’t want to be doing so waiting for someone to help them out, they’d like their requests responded to immediately. Wouldn’t you agree?

    As for your comment on effortless engagement, I think the point might have been missed with your example of a budget airline. You don’t think customers would be happier to be prompted with information that might be relevant to their flying experience (i.e. informed that meals are not included in the cost of the ticket)? The effort for the client, in this case would be, having to remember to order a meal without being prompted to do so.

    The point is not about a company failing do what it’s meant to in terms of obligation to the client, but rather what it should do to provide a better experience and gain customer loyalty in the process.

  8. Andrew and Graham, while I think your points are fair, I believe that there is a certain level of brand loyalty that reaches the level of “love”. Take @REI for example: many of their customers are fiercely loyal to the brand and will only buy outdoor gear from them. This is because REI has gone to great lengths to provide their customers’ with a fantastic experience and their customers, in turn, reward them with loyalty and brand advocacy. You could probably say the same about Apple and the “cult of Mac”.

    In any case, I understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s important to address a level of customer satisfaction that goes beyond being content with your brand, product, or service and enters the arena of “love”. It may not exist in every setting, or even most, but when you’ve achieved it, it’s important to make every effort to hold on to it as long as possible and rekindle it if you’ve let the fire die down.

  9. Hi Yifat

    Liking is not love. Loyalty is not love either. We all know what love is. And the slightly uncomfortable, tingly feeling that you get when you see the person of your desires. We should leave love for this wonderful feeling. And use the many other perfectly adequate words that describe liking, loyalty and what not, (there are an estimated 250,000 distinct words in the English language to choose from). To do otherwise is simply lazy usage of the extraordinary explanatory elucidation provided by the English language.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

  10. Graham, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe, as I’m sure that many others do, that there are many forms of love. I don’t think one cookie-cutter definition can quite encapsulate a word of that is so subjective. Moreover, I wasn’t equating the love some consumers have for a particular brand with the love a husband and wife have for each other, or a mother and father have for their children.

  11. “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” Even though I find it silly, this slogan has been successful for Subaru. So it must tap into a popular emotion. Still, I’m well aware of the gratuitous uses of the word. Marketers who think themselves sedulous about customer care have hijacked ‘customer love’ as their mission, thinking that the word masks their true mercenary intent: revenue and profit. To me, regardless of interpretation of ‘love’, love espousing marketers come across as patently insincere.

    Just now, I did a little research on two of my marketing heroes, Ted Levitt and Peter Drucker. Lots of great insight about creating lasting value through customer relationships. But alas, no love to be found. I think they had the right idea.

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