09 December 2015

Getting to the Heart of your Customer

There’s an adage that says, “People buy from people.” While I think this is mostly true – technology and the rise of ecommerce are breaking down this sentiment.

With the success of etailers like Amazon and web search aggregators, consumers are seeking the best product at the best price, regardless of brand.  This is most noticeable in the travel industry, where customers rent cars from Costco, with little knowledge of the organization they are actually renting from.

So – this begs the question – how do I garner customer loyalty?

Picture1I spent a day interviewing in San Francisco’s Union Square to learn how organizations can get to the hearts of their customers.  In these conversations, it was very notable that customers are less committed to a “product” or “service.” Instead, they have options and know it. As organizations, we need to capture their hearts by listening to them and learning the key loyalty factors that make customers feel like they are valued and have a personal connection with our brands.

Personalization for Emotional Connection

Customers want to be greeted by name and receive communication that is targeted to their needs and therefore relevant and helpful. Depending on demographics, customers used different channels and ways of communicating, meaning we need to profile and understand these demographic influences. After all, in the next few years the Millennials and Generation Zers will represent trillions of dollars in buying power.

Leverage Shared Values

No longer do customers buy from just any brand. More and more, they do their research, surfing digital channels to learn about what brands represent and whether they are socially responsible. Patagonia’s environmental responsibility feeds into consumer desires and allows them to identify with their brand. Through crowd sourcing and a digital strategy – organizations allow consumers to self serve and learn about their brand at their own leisure.

Omni-Channel Makes Communication Effortless

Customers expect organizations to have visibility of their entire customer history, so when they use web chat and then call in – they don’t have to repeat information provided in a previous channel. They’re looking for organizations to have omni-channel capability because they use channels seamlessly. Brands like Apple understand that their brand identity and services need to be consistent and seamless throughout the customer lifecycle, regardless of the division communicating the customer.

Responsive to Customer’s Preferences

Across channels, customers demand instant response and the ability to control and manage when they get a response. They are eager to speak with a representative that is likeminded and can handle their request. To provide this level of service, many organizations use affinity routing and queue management to give customers control and to offer fast, efficient service.

Engagement and Adding Value

Customers want to feel like their communication with you is meaningful and helpful. They want you to understand them and practice next issue avoidance, so your representatives are listening and responding in a manner that redirects the customer’s path positively. This two-way dialogue shows you care and understand your customers.

Give Back to your Customers

Recognize your customers with loyalty or perk programs that show you value them. Customers love the fish tank and cookies that the Kimpton hotel group leaves in a customer’s room to entertain kids. They appreciate the free giveaways on their birthdays – customers want to feel special and cared for.

As brands move away from the Comcast model towards a more customer centric approach to marketing, sales and service – there is a trend in all of the aforementioned loyalty factors: the need to know your customers – to profile them and use customer intelligence actively across business units.

Eager for more information? Check out our live customer interviews.

Or, read my blog about the need for organizations to leverage brick & mortar, digital and voice channels seamlessly.

Authored bY

Lynn Olson

As VP of sales and marketing, I have 18+ years of experience in the CX space. I’m a partner at heart – driven to add value through shared goals and knowledge transfer. I carry a true passion for marrying the voice of the customer with an organization’s business drivers and vision to execute on strategies that reinvent customer engagement.


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