When you look at today’s most successful or iconic businesses, I think you’ll find that on the whole they spark a positive emotional response in their customers. The inverse is true too. You just have to look on Twitter to see the streams of frustration from unhappy customers, or tweets from brands that make customers feel their concerns were listened to.
Many successful brands, including Aston Martin and TOMS, have forged deep emotional connections with their customers who feel a strong affinity to their brand and see it as part of their own identity.
It’s interesting to see how the emotional connection develops now as well. In the past, these emotional connections were made in-person by bank tellers, sales assistants and other service reps who knew their customers inside out, built strong relationships with them and were able to deliver that personal touch that made these customers feel like VIPs.
That personal touch hasn’t left us entirely - Salesforce’s new UK Customer Experience report reveals that for independent retailers this is still the case and it’s really not surprising that these retailers are topping the customer service tables too, largely because they offer this type of personal service. In fact, 84% of Britons rate the personal touch of independent shops as above average to very good.
However, the research also shows that shopping in the UK is now mostly done online. So how do online businesses create a deep emotional connection with each individual customer without supplying that in-person experience?
I think it’s down to using the right tools to understand what your customers really want and need. To do this, businesses need to gather data from every single touchpoint a customer uses, whether that’s email, social, phone or in-person and use that information to create relevant and personal communication.
When this data is stored in a single place, accessible to many people across the organization, businesses have a single system of engagement that can help teams across marketing, sales and service to gain a complete view of the customer and begin to truly understand them.
In addition, AI-powered predictive intelligence tools are fast becoming critical for identifying and delivering insights that will enable businesses to accurately predict what consumers will need, and want, in the future. These sophisticated algorithms can make decisions and recommendations based on implicit and explicit behaviour. With every customer interaction, the algorithms get smarter - self-learning if you like. This means that brands can automate the understanding of what customers want, enabling them to rapidly offer a highly personal experience.
This type of personalisation, almost before the shopper even knows they want it, has been proven to delight consumers, because it makes us feel ‘special.’ In turn, this brand connection drives loyalty and business success.
For insights and tips from leading customer experience experts, download our Creating a Connected Customer Experience e-book.