Out of sheer necessity, many companies are making a concerted effort to develop customer experiences in a positive way from beginning to end. This is in an effort to foster what is now known as “organic growth,” which is simply the rate at which output is increased vis a vis sales performed from within a company.
Many companies understand, or at least must come to understand, that this encompasses all aspects of the company, from products, promotions, and services; in short, the overall brand is being considered, both on and offline.
But many companies, unfortunately, are lacking a strategy that increases customer value across the spectrum of the operation. It must be goal-oriented, and clear. Otherwise, a lot of money and human toil and stress can be expended with little or no financial return.
It is incumbent upon organizations to map customer experience vis a vis customer activity not only in physical stores, but also with respect to social media, call centers, and e-commerce. The companies gather volumes of information gleaned from loyalty programs, surveys, third-party providers, and their own customer tracking software.
While every indication is that companies’ goals are to improve customer satisfaction, this seems like a bit of a shallow explanation of what should go on given that in these cases customer satisfaction is already often high.
The fact is that we can get deeper into a customer’s psyche, thereby increasing their value to us, by looking into their emotional makeup. What motivates them and how do we get them to talk about their feelings are two examples? What makes them feel secure, successful, or that they belong.
When viewed over a consumer’s purchasing lifetime, we now know that those customers who have an emotional connection to a company and, in turn, its brand, are more than twice as valuable as those who classify themselves or are classified by companies’ data as highly satisfied customers. Customers who are emotionally connected: come to your location, physically or online; purchase more of your products and services; care less about price than others; follow your suggestions, and show more regard for your communications. In addition, they are the champions when it comes to word-of-mouth, which is a big deal to any company. Strategies and metrics tracking shows that the more a customer’s emotional connection, the better a company’s financial outcomes.
Despite being a part of the omnichannel customer connection, a lot of the time customers cannot tell how they are emotionally involved with a company. In point of fact, this can also mean they incorrectly explain their emotional connections to specific customer experience components and, accordingly, businesses make their investments in the wrong areas. The more time that passes, however, data analyses becomes more on target and provides better guidance for companies. Companies can better tell which investments more directly apply to greater emotional attachments and, therefore, better financial concerns via customer value.
One aspect that has stood out in our experience is that customers want to have more structure and order to their lives while being able, in some fashion, to stand out above others. It is key, however, to make a determination between what customers say is important to them vis a vis the what emotionally affects them. The actual opening of an account, for example, was shown to have less emotional impact than a thank you note for one’s business.
Of course, it’s necessary to provide customers with what they say is important. If they say the process of opening an account is important, that process deserves due diligence. Yet, the emotional connection is still key to return on investment (ROI).
In retail particularly, emotionally speaking, customers have reported that they wanted to have independence and freedom while feeling that they belong. Furthermore, they say they want excitement in their shopping experience. Personalization appears key here, although, again, emotional responses also do not often track with what customers say they want. Businesses want to be increasingly convinced that their company of choice understands their needs and desires.
While all businesses should always strive to improve customer experiences, depending upon methodologies employed, it can be very costly. Therefore, priorities must be carefully determined, and when investments are made across departments, allocations must be watched. However, it appears that with emotional experience as the primary goal, there is no reason why proper investments cannot be made with the goal of making great financial strides.
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