What’s the secret to driving emotional connections with customers?
A new study from Deloitte Digital offers more proof that while shared values and rational thinking bring customers to brands, emotions drive loyalty, advocacy and preference.
Among the findings:
- Sixty-two percent of consumers feel they have a relationship with a brand.
- Sixty percent of brand loyal consumers use the same type of emotional language they would use for family, friends and pets when speaking of their favorite brands — words like love, happy and adore.
- Forty-four percent of consumers would make a recommendation based on emotional criteria versus only three percent who would recommend a product or brand to others based on a company’s values or corporate responsibility principles.
- Only 18 percent cited emotional reasons such as feeling rudely spoken to by an employee or unfairly treated in a dispute for leaving a brand. Rational reasons such as high prices, faulty products or wrong orders are by far the primary reason to leave.
Driving stronger emotional connections involves offering a consistent, contextually-appropriate experience across all interactions and developing two-way relationships between brands and customers that mirror human relationships, according to the study.
A challenge is that like human friendships, customer relationships take time to develop. Among people who consider themselves brand loyal, 76 used the brand for more than four years.
Expectations around relationships with brands are also rising:
- Seventy-five percent of customers expect brands to know their purchase history.
- Fifty-seven percent expect brands to know their service history.
- Nearly half love it when companies bring up their last interaction.
- Two out of three expect companies to integrate their feedback into future product and service design.
Despite demands for more personalization, some consumers are squeamish about brands knowing their browsing history for similar products or services, as well as knowing their individual preferences. Trust was the most identified emotional metric connecting consumers to their favorite brand.
Suggestions for improving emotional connections included carefully handling consumer data and breaking up silos to better respond appropriately and in a timely manner to interactions across touchpoints. Deloitte wrote, “Customers don’t care whether it’s difficult or expensive to humanize relationships at scale.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you have for capitalizing on emotional data at scale? Is greater access to consumer data raising the level of expectations around customer interactions with brands or retailers?