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In our customer engagement blog, we briefly talked about building an emotional connection with customers. This post aims to elaborate on how important it is to get close and personal with customers and how to do it. According to Psychology Today , “Positive emotions toward a brand have a far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments.”

Companies need to think of customers, not just as a source of revenue but also as people, with emotions. It is important to remember that people like to connect with other people and have positive experiences. Deep down people want to have an emotional connection with brands they associate themselves with. So, stop thinking of customer connection as a cost and start thinking of it as an investment. In business terms, positive emotions equal long term ROI.

Take Apple for instance. Apple probably has the most loyal following. Ron Johnson, former Apple Senior VP of Retail Operations, said: “Apple is not focused on selling stuff, but on building relationships with customers and making people’s lives better.”
It is hard work to build a connection with customers and it takes a lot of patience and perseverance. Here a few things you can do to build that connection.

Conduct research about your customers’ personality
analysisThe first thing to do to make any decision on customer behavior is to research the likes and dislikes of your customers. You need to understand what makes them happy and what interests them. Find out what factors influence their buying decisions. Find answers to questions like ‘What percentage of your customers have children?’, ‘How many of your customers are married?’, ‘How often do your customers shop alone?’, ‘What animals do your customers love?’ and ‘What colors appeal most to your customers?’.

Conduct emotional advertising campaigns
advertisementAdd emotional appeal in your commercials. Advertising research reveals that emotional responses to an ad has greater influence on a consumer’s intent to buy an ad (more so than the ad’s content). Get local heroes on your side and get them to endorse you and use images that your audience can relate to. Show how your brand is going to make their lives happier.

Stand out in the crowd
standoutDo something nobody has done before. Create something different. Use a unique color combination. Say things differently. Reinvent the wheel if you have to. Become special. Get recognized.  Become a name that people remember. After all, if people remember you, only then can they truly love you. Why do you think people love the iPhone?

Design a likeable brand personality/ Personify your brand
badgeJust like a person gets judged on his/her personality, a brand is judged on its brand presence. A brand needs to define and design a personality that its customers will like. A brand can choose to become a serious, fun, responsible, obnoxious or a politically correct brand. However the persona the brand chooses to identify itself with should reflect in all aspects of the company, physically and in values. It should resonate with all the company’s decisions and actions. If you design a fun personality, it needs to reflect in your products, office, stores and designs.

Support your customers’ causes
moralFind out what cause your customers support and do your best to help that cause. Show your people that you are the most ethical brand there is. If your customers care deeply about environmental conservation, get involved in conservationist movements. If your customers care about animals, support programs that benefit animals. Nothing says “I care” like doing things that show you actually do.

Communicate with your customers regularly
thankyouStay in touch with your customers. Send them emails and notifications on their phones to let them know of what you are up to. Inform them about new products, product updates, upgrades or ways to optimize the performance of the product. Use social media to keep your customers updated on the news about the company. Write blogs about your company’s activities or the latest happenings in the industries and your take on those events. Conduct webinars to engage customers with informative materials.

Say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’
customer serviceThank your customers for their business and loyalty towards your brand. Surprise your loyal customers by giving them gifts as a way to say “Thank you! We appreciate all you’ve done for us.” If in case, anything should go wrong, do not hesitate to apologize for the inconvenience your customers experienced even though it may not be your fault at all. Instead make them happier by offering solutions to their problems – even going a step further if needed.  These two simple things will make you someone who your customers will want to associate with. Sometimes it all comes down to good manners.

People are most likely to buy from someone who they have an emotional connection with. It’s no longer only about who sells the best product but also about about who forms the closest connection with customers. So, keep your customers happy, and you’ll never lose them.