It may sound trivial at first, but emotion’s role in digital customer experience is becoming more significant. As organizations continue to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and digital consumption is increasing, brands are putting a heavy emphasis on customers' experiences and making a meaningful connection with the consumer. As such, emotion-driven experiences are increasingly important in our digital-first world.
During a recent CMSWire webinar with Annette Franz, Founder and CEO of CX Journey, Inc., titled “Breaking through the digital noise: what’s emotion got to do with it?” we explored the business impact and value of emotion-powered experiences. Franz emphasized that data and technology are important to designing and delivering a great experience, but nothing can take the place of the human touch and authentic experiences.
There’s a real opportunity for brands to show they care by taking the time to understand customers and infusing that data and their learnings into every touch along the customer journey
During the webinar with Franz, we surveyed the attendees to see what’s most important when they are deciding to build a relationship with a brand. We found that 61.5% said exceptional customer experience was the primary factor in building loyalty. While we aren’t saying this is applicable across all audiences, it reveals how exceptional experience can have the most influence.
But what makes a customer experience exceptional?
At a high level, the answer is empathy – and care – help brands successfully make connections with consumers and stand out from the competition. Through empathy, brands are able to understand, be aware of, and be sensitive to consumer emotions and motivations. Empathetic brands get to know their customers so that the experiences they deliver align with customers’ needs and expectations, while also reducing friction along their customer journeys.
Now when it comes to care, it is not as straightforward. This is where brands have to do a bit more legwork to get to know their customers. Care means something different to each and every person, so finding a way to demonstrate care as a brand can be a bit more challenging.
In my webinar with Franz, we discussed the notion of putting the “customer back in customer experience” as one of the best ways to demonstrate care. Brands need to take the time to understand customers and moments or stages in their lives, problems they need to solve, jobs they need to do, etc. To achieve this level of customer understanding needed to demonstrate care, brands need to:
- Listen, and ask: Solicit feedback from customers and prospects to understand how well the brand is performing against expectations and needs.
- Characterize: Brands need to do the work – and invest in the research – to develop personas and a true understanding of who their audience is, what their pain points are, and what problems they are trying to solve.
- Empathize: Brands need to walk in their customers’ shoes, i.e., create journey maps, to really understand the experience their customers are having and deliver empathy across touch points.
Once brands have an understanding of consumers’ needs, it’s time to put that knowledge to work. We surveyed our webinar attendees on this to find out what a brand could do to show they cared or to make a consumer feel special. It showed 54% answered “present tailored information or offers” and 46% said “help me find what I am looking for.”
This is where personalization comes in. As consumers' expectations continue to rise and they want to be assisted, inspired, rewarded, and convinced throughout their journey, personalization is one of the best ways to ensure that brands are delivering hyper-relevant content and information at the right time and on the right channel.
Brands have an opportunity to show their customers that they care by continuously learning about them and proactively using that data and insights. Brands can use data to deliver personalized experiences across touch points in the customer journey to ensure they delivery value and help solve problems for their customers.
When a business focuses on emotion, empathy and care, while combining this magical formula with thoughtful personalization, the effect will be powerful. Harvard Business Review recently detailed the results from a retail organization that executed an emotion-powered customer experience strategy. It showed that the brand was able to:
- Increase emotionally connected customers by 5%
- Increase retention by 4%
- Increase customer advocacy by 6%
- Increase same-store sales growth by more than 50%
Plus, top-rated intimate brands have double the number of consumers willing to pay 20% more for a purchase than customers interacting with a brand missing an emotional connection.
It goes without saying, building emotional connections and strong bonds is the best way to ensure brands are maximizing opportunities and increasing relevancy, profitability, and revenue.
Bringing emotion, empathy and care into content and marketing strategies helps brands break through the digital noise, create a deep connection with consumers, and in turn, deliver exceptional experiences that drive business results.
Take note: Want to learn more about the role of emotion in digital customer experience? We invite you to view our on-demand webinar where we continue this thought-provoking conversation.Access now →