Introduction - Companies need to connect with their customer’s emotions
In today’s competitive market, companies that connect with their customer’s emotions reap huge rewards. Once a major bank introduced a credit card specially designed to spark the emotional connection of Millennials, their new account opening increased by 40% whereas the usage of the card increased by a whopping 70%!
Every customer journey is unique, and businesses can build long-term relationships with their customers and drive business growth by understanding their customer’s emotional state during their customer journey process.
Emotions have a significant impact on customer behavior, and brands can encounter business growth if they are successfully leveraging customer sentiment.
What is a brand, if not just a customer’s mental representation of a product that is rich with emotional content rather than the necessary attributes?
And it is true that a customer’s positive emotional response creates a more significant impact on a brand’s popularity and its business growth than mere customer satisfaction metrics.
Given this massive opportunity to create new value, organizations should target customer emotions and sentiments as a science. They should strategically target customer feelings that drive customer behavior - and gauge the customer satisfaction metrics, brand awareness, and customer loyalty better to ensure growth and profitability.
Understanding the customer journey
The customer journey refers to the entire experience that a customer has with a brand from the moment they become aware of the brand to the post-purchase experience.
This journey includes all touchpoints that a customer has with a brand, including advertising, website experience, customer service interactions, product experience, and eventually the post-purchase experience. The goal of understanding the customer journey is to create a more personalized and empathetic experience for customers.
What is journey mapping?
Journey mapping is a technique that allows businesses to understand customer journeys better through a visual representation of all the touchpoints that are critical to the customer and help businesses improve their CX by identifying potential pain points and scopes for improvement.
The role of emotions in a customer journey
Emotions play a crucial role in the customer journey as they can significantly impact the customer's overall experience and influence their purchase decisions. According to a study by Forrester Research, "Emotion is the #1 driver of loyalty in the customer journey, outranking effectiveness and ease." Therefore, it is essential for businesses to understand the role of emotions in the customer journey and leverage customer sentiment to drive business growth.
One example of a brand that has successfully leveraged emotions to improve the customer journey is Disney. Disney's emotional connection with its customers has become a key factor in its success. A study by Temkin Group found that Disney has the highest CX rating of any company across 20 industries.
The study also established that Disney customers are 13.2 times more likely to recommend the company than customers of other companies. The emotional connection that Disney has developed with its customer base has become a critical factor in driving this level of brand loyalty and recommendation!
Since we have gathered the importance of emotions in the customer journey, it is necessary to find out ways in which businesses can leverage these emotions and make the most of them. One of the most potent ways of doing the same is through an emotional journey map.
The emotional journey map
The emotional journey map is a technique that takes journey mapping to the next level, by mapping the customer’s emotional states at every touchpoint during the user journey. It involves mapping out customer emotions at each stage of the journey, including their thoughts and feelings.
Thus businesses can comprehend the kind of feelings that their customers are experiencing while they are at different phases of their consumer journey. It leads to a deeper understanding of customer behavior from their emotional perspective. As a result, businesses can tailor their CX approach in a way that tends to the customer’s emotional states positively at every touchpoint during the user journey.
Let’s consider an example of a customer willing to purchase a new car. He comes to know about Autotrader - one of the biggest online marketplaces for buying and selling new and used cars, with more than 16 million unique visitors to the website each month.
As a brand, Autotrader understands that purchasing a new car is a significant milestone in every individual’s life, and is therefore bound to evoke a series of emotions like excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty. That is why, they have developed a personalized and empathetic approach to help their customers navigate the emotional journey of buying a car and this has been one of the high points in their business development strategy.
● At the research stage of the journey, Autotrader provides customers with an easy-to-use website that allows them to search for cars based on their preferences. Autotrader also offers a range of tools and resources, such as car reviews and comparisons, to help customers make informed decisions. By doing so, Autotrader helps customers feel more in control of their decision-making process and reduces their anxiety.
● As the customer moves to the next stage of the journey, which involves visiting the dealership, Autotrader provides customers with a range of resources and tools to help them negotiate the price of the car.
● Autotrader also offers a range of financing options, including pre-approved financing, to help customers feel more confident in their decision-making process.
By understanding the role of emotions in their customer journey process, Autotrader has successfully optimized its end-to-end customer experience, resulting in maximizing real value in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The importance of emotions in a customer journey
If organizations wish to drive business growth, they should be attuned to the emotional states of their customers, since emotions play a significant role in user journeys.
● Emotions drive customer behavior
A customer who is happy and satisfied with a business will be more likely to make a repeat purchase from the same business. On the other hand, a customer who is feeling frustrated with a business is unlikely to return ever. This proves that emotions have a significant impact on customer interactions with a brand.
● Emotions are contagious
Emotions are truly contagious, and customers will pick up the vibes of people around them. A customer is more likely to have a positive experience when interacting with a happy and enthusiastic salesperson.
● Emotions impact customer loyalty
When it comes to customers who are really happy and satisfied with their experience regarding a particular business, they will develop a positive emotional connection with it and are likely to become loyal customers for the brand and also its lifetime advocates.
Thus, it is true that the best way to maximize customer value is to move beyond the typical customer satisfaction metrics and connect to the customers on an emotional level - tapping into their fundamental motivations and their oft-unspoken emotional needs.
The power of emotions in driving customer behavior is unparalleled. Hence, several brands curate their business development strategy by proactively connecting with their customer’s emotions across multiple touchpoints of the customer journey. Nike's "Dream Crazy" ad featuring Colin Kaepernick was a controversial and emotional ad that resonated with many of its customers. According to data from Edison Trends, Nike's online sales increased by 31% in the wake of the ad's release.
Now that we understand the importance of emotions in the customer journey let's explore how companies can leverage customer sentiment for business growth.
1. Use emotional data to improve the customer experience
Collecting emotional data from customers can help businesses understand their customers' needs better. By understanding the emotions that customers are experiencing at each touchpoint in the journey, businesses can tailor their customer experience to better meet the needs of their customers.
For example, if a customer is feeling frustrated at a particular touchpoint in the journey, businesses can take steps to address that frustration and provide a better customer experience.
Domino’s Pizza did just the same by developing a real-time tracking system that allowed its customers to track their pizza orders from start to finish - with updates on baking, preparation, estimated delivery times, etc. This reduced the anxiety and uncertainty of their customers regarding the pizza order and their status, leading to a better customer experience.
2. Train employees to recognize and manage emotions
Training employees to recognize and manage emotions can help businesses provide a better customer experience.
For example, Zappos is known for its exceptional customer service. The company has a team of customer service representatives who are trained to provide a personalized and empathetic experience for customers. By understanding the emotions that customers are experiencing, Zappos has been able to build a loyal customer base and differentiate itself from its competitors.
3. Use emotional data to drive business development strategy
Emotional data can help businesses identify opportunities for growth. By understanding the emotions that customers are experiencing, businesses can identify areas where they can improve their customer experience and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
For example, if a business identifies that customers are feeling frustrated with long wait times, it can invest in technology solutions to reduce wait times and improve the overall customer experience.
4. Create exceptional products that resonate with customer emotions and desire
When it comes to exceptional products and services that tap into the unspoken emotional needs and desires of a customer, they will automatically gravitate towards the business that is developing these products or offering these services.
Customers tend to believe that these businesses are actually connecting with them telepathically, understanding their expectations, and fulfilling them through their exceptional offerings.
Apple is known for its sleek and user-friendly products. By understanding the emotions that customers are experiencing, Apple has been able to create a loyal customer base that is willing to pay a premium for its products.
5. Engage with customers on an emotional level
Engaging with customers on an emotional level can help businesses build a stronger relationship with their customers. This can include personalized interactions, social media engagement, and other initiatives that make customers feel valued and appreciated.
Starbucks has built a brand that is centered around creating a warm and inviting environment for its customers. By understanding the emotions that customers are experiencing, Starbucks has been able to create a unique customer experience that is difficult for competitors to replicate.
Conclusion - Emotional connection is no longer a mystery
The advent of big data analytics has presented organizations with clarity, discipline, and rigor regarding their long-held desire of connecting with customer emotions that truly matter. Emotional connections and customer sentiments are the new drivers for competitive advantage and business growth.
Ultimately, businesses that prioritize the emotional journey of their customers are the ones that will thrive in today's competitive business environment.
By engaging with customers on an emotional level, businesses can build a stronger relationship with their customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors. They can do so through journey mapping and emotional journey mapping - two powerful techniques for businesses to understand their customer journey better and create a more personalized and empathetic experience for them.
At Numr CXM, we have our revolutionary Journey Builder Tool, that will make your business more streamlined and help you in improving your CX initiatives, thereby leading to an enhanced customer satisfaction. Find out more about this proprietary technology in our website.