Wouldn’t it be great if there was one single, relatively simple thing brands could do to motivate customers to stay loyal and spend more over the long-term? Talk about a silver bullet.
There is a way that brands can encourage loyalty with demonstrable results: Make customers feel good — again and again.
Customer decision-making and motivation — how customers act and why — is at the core of customer experience. Knowing how your customers feel, and how those feelings influence the decisions they make, is key to cultivating their loyalty and increasing long-term spending.
The bottom line is that positive emotional connections keep customers coming back. In fact, fully engaged customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are simply satisfied. So, the numbers speak for themselves.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the connection between customer experience and loyalty to find out what brands can do to inspire emotional connections.
What emotions can brands inspire?
There exists a connection between customer experience and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What does that mean for customers? The most important thing brands can do is to make customers feel good on repeated occasions, and as a result, customers create positive associations with the brand.
And a lot depends on what "feel good" really means. It might surprise you that reducing stress and providing entertainment are two of the more significant ways that brands can inspire positive emotions.
How to reduce customer stress:
- Be accessible — be available for customers across digital channels
- Be transparent — let customers know how long they should expect to wait
- Be results-driven — respond with solutions, not promises
How to entertain and engage customers:
- Be genuine — use first names and real communicative language, not corporate-speak
- Be personalized — use CRM data to create connections
- Be unattached to a script — give call center agents the freedom to interact
Brands stress and frustrate customers in many ways. One of the bigger complaints comes from customers who are forced to channel hop or re-enter their information.
This is why nearly 50% of customers say they will stop doing business with a brand that frustrates them. Meanwhile only 32% of those customers will contact the company to complain before taking their business elsewhere.
Making customers feel engaged and soothing their frustrations are vital prerequisites for customer loyalty.
Making it happen: Brands that have a presence across digital channels are always better positioned to serve customers. Then combine this with an emphasis on the right KPIs in the contact center, like Personal Service Level (PSL), which encourages agents to go out of their way to make real human connections and inspire positive emotions. It’s a winning combination.
How to inspire positive emotions in customers
Acknowledging the importance of inspiring positive emotions in customers is an important first step. And how do brands put theory into practice?
There are two key areas where you can get started. It’s about knowing what channels your customers need and what type of service they want.
- Self-service options: 81% of customers want the option of trying self-service before they contact support
- Personalization: 69% of customers say that personalized customer service influences their loyalty
Inspiring positive emotions in customers may be easier than you think — if you know how to do it.
Provide personalized service on the channels that customers use, and recognize that these channels probably include self-service and live chat. The more relationships customer service agents can create and sustain across a variety of channels, the better. This has to do with internal processes, and it should influence the way customer service agents are trained.
Making it happen: Get a better idea of which channels and customer service options your customers demand and then provide these channels, along with a personalized style of service that can’t be replicated by chatbots.
Putting the pieces together
When brands want to continue to inspire positive emotions in customers, they’ve got to implement both the right software as well as teach their customer service agents the right soft skills. It’s about using the best tools to optimize the best processes. Customer service needs to be responsive and available, transparent and results-driven, and these are the pieces that need to be put together:
- Software: Powerful digital customer service software will streamline the service process, route customers to the right agents, and provide a CRM database of useful customer info.
- Soft skills: Emphasizing the right KPIs in the contact center and giving agents the freedom to go off script and use customer data to make connections is key.
Customers want to be treated as individuals, not numbers, and they want repeated contacts with brands to build toward something. In other words, customers don’t want to have to start from scratch each time they contact a company.
This means changing agent behavior to be more personable and trying to create connections. It also means having powerful digital call center software ready. This gives agents more information about each customer and saves that information so they can reuse it over the long-term.
NICE inContact CXone has been created to increase customer loyalty, lead to higher spending in the long term, and provide a quantifiable ROI.
How? By telling customer service agents more about each customer and by revolutionizing the digital-first omnichannel customer service process so that agents can form real relationships with each customer.
Streamlining customer service means less customer frustration and advanced CRM technology means that agents can offer tailored service. This is the silver bullet.