April 30, 2020

The Science of Customer Emotions

Author: Chad Buckendahl

What if I told you that emotionally connected customers are more valuable than customers that are highly satisfied with your brand? I suspect your response would be either “Prove it.” or “Yeah … so what?” I will get to both points in this article shortly, but first, I hope that the ideas expressed here will challenge your thinking in ways that make you consider the impact that the emotional bonds you’re building (or not) with your customers has on Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). 

In a recent article published by Harvard Business Review, it suggests that the payoff is much greater when companies connect with people emotionally. In terms of impact on revenue and profitability, customers who form an emotional attachment to a brand are 52% more valuable than those who are just highly satisfied. That’s valuable information! So why does this matter? For the last 25 years, I’ve spent many days thinking about how to get consumers to buy products online. And, as anyone in this space, I keep a close eye on CLTV. Here’s a fictitious example to explain why this matters. 

I know that if I acquire a customer at $40 cost per acquisition (CPA) and my average order value (AOV) is $32, I need to generate an additional $8 on that customer throughout their lifetime to simply break even on the ad spend — and that’s not even taking into account my operational expenses. Knowing that customers who form an emotional attachment to a brand are 52% more valuable than those who are just highly satisfied, I know that if I spend time trying to build an emotional bond with my customers (and everything else remains the same), I will increase CLTV.

Emotionally connected customers buy more, visit more often, care less about price, pay more attention to your messaging, and refer friends and family. I bet if you brainstormed ideas that help your company build stronger emotional bonds with your customers in 30 minutes or less, you could come up with a great starter list that you can immediately put into action. Here’s how you can get started.

10 Ways to Build Stronger Emotional Bonds with Customers

  1. Email Marketing: Send timely and informational emails to your customer file. I like to send weekly emails where each email carries a theme. For example, I created a 52-week calendar that tied five valuable components to the theme of the week (i.e. New Year Resolutions, Better Abs, Summer Weight Loss).
    • Feature article (i.e. Setting Realistic Weightloss Goals)
    • Video clip (i.e., How to accurately measure BMI)
    • Download of the week (i.e. 7-day meal plan)
    • Recipe of the week (i.e. 15-minute prep, low-calorie vegetable soup)
    • Offer (i.e. free shipping with $50 order)‍‍
  2. ‍Analyze Google Analytics: Spend time understanding who your customers are by reviewing the behavioral and audience reports within Google Analytics (GA). Did you know that there are demographic reports in GA? Spend time in the Affinity Categories report. I can easily lose two hours just exploring the data in GA, and if I stay disciplined (concentrating on information that can help me build better emotional connections with my customers), I can build a list twice as long as the one I have.
  3. Survey Customers: I like Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys for their simplicity and consistency, but any get-to-know your customers surveys in a data-organized fashion will do.
  4. Optimize Customer Journey: Draw out your current customer journey from beginning to end. Find friction points and address them.
  5. Be a Good Corporate Steward: As one of your weekly themes (see idea #1), give 10% of revenue to a cause.
  6. Build Emotional Thinking Into Your Culture: Use the language of emotional connection everywhere you talk about your customers — not just in the marketing department but across the company. For example, if people in product development are working on a new feature, they shouldn’t just ask whether customers will be satisfied with it, they should figure out how it will tap key motivators and strengthen emotional connections.
  7. Let Your Customers Rate You: We’ve all seen sites that allow customers to provide reviews. Put a concentrated program into place with the sole purpose of getting customers to say great things about your brand. You may find that this may require that you focus on training your call center employees more, or maybe it’s as simple as providing happy customers with a link to write a review.

Every customer has expectations when they interact with brands. To exceed those expectations, the best brands will win their hearts. The best way to do that is to make recommendations and share experiences with your customers. These experiences and insights will show that your business really cares about helping your customers over your bottom line.

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