An interesting article recently published by Harvard Business Review explored the correlation between how emotionally connected a customer is and how that increases their lifetime value and their spending and recommending behaviours.
“Emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied.”
For most businesses committed to winning through offering fantastic customer experience, the focus is on growing and retaining high levels of customer satisfaction. KPIs are pinned on high NPS scores. Customer feedback is built around gathering data to indicate how a company is tracking in terms of levels of customer satisfaction. And yet, current thinking suggests it’s customer emotion, or ‘connectedness’ that offers the greater return on investment.
“…moving customers from highly satisfied to fully connected can have three times the return of moving them from unconnected to highly satisfied.”
Harvard Business Review, The New Science of Customer Emotions
So why do most companies continue to measure customer satisfaction rather than customer emotion? The answer is that a large range of tools exist that are designed to measure customer satisfaction, but those same tools struggle to measure customer connectedness.
How do you measure emotion? How do you quantify feelings?
Customer satisfaction can be tracked on graphs and charts – it can be turned into a number, and numbers are reassuring because they’re logical. But human behaviours aren’t always logical, and if your measures. and understandings of customer satisfaction stop with a number and are encapsulated in a graph, then you are missing an entire dimension of your customers’ behaviour
And it is this dimension where the greatest value lies.
To achieve the goal of having customers who are emotionally connected with your brand you must go deeper. It’s imperative that you understand how your customers feel about your brand, about your store, about your processes, how they talk about their experience, what the tiny details were that brought them joy or misery.
You have to give your customers opportunities to talk to you using feedback mechanisms that encourage “straight from the heart” responses. And you have to find a way to share these customer stories around the organization so that everyone can understand the impact your brand has on the lives of your customers.
Unfortunately many feedback mechanisms are in themselves a poor customer experience and the method of collection completely sidesteps customer emotion.
Of course the data is important – I am not for a moment suggesting you throw the graphs away! But the challenge is to apply a meaningful layer on top of that – a rich layer of insight to underpin your customer satisfaction scores. When your customers rate you they are doing so based on a human experience they have had while engaging with your brand, but if your feedback program is squeezing that out, how can you possibly achieve the goal of fostering a true emotional connection with your customers?