Today is Valentine’s Day. Though often associated with boxes of chocolates and grand gestures, it’s more importantly a day when we all stop and show appreciation for the loved ones in our lives. From wives and boyfriends to secret admirers and school crushes, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating relationships of all kinds.
But companies often forget that they have a relationship with each of their customers. Just as communication and empathy are critical between significant others, those same principles also apply to business relationships. Emotion is becoming an increasingly critical part of the customer experience. A recent Forrester report states, “Customers who experience disgust, anger, or a feeling of neglect during a brand interaction are about eight times more likely not to forgive that company.” The feelings consumers have toward a company can directly impact key metrics such as spend and loyalty. It’s therefore essential to foster a positive emotional connection between brands and customers.
Easier said than done, right? Wrong! Here are three things your business can be doing right now in order to build emotional bonds and drive deeper customer loyalty.
Leverage artificial intelligence
In order to drive positive emotions, enterprises need to create systems that listen to and understand consumers. People want to feel like they’re being heard and that their time is valued, but too often companies put customers through the wringer with frustrating and repetitive processes. Businesses should consider conversational AI that listens to customers and provides personalized, relevant information to complete tasks. Conversational AI captures and predicts the intent of conversations, allowing customers to resolve issues with ease. Additionally, AI systems are intelligent enough to detect when certain cases should be escalated to a live agent, ensuring customers reach the most appropriate channel as quickly as possible. Artificial intelligence makes it easy for customers to get what they need, which leads to an increase in positive emotion.
Provide an omni-channel experience
Customers are using more channels than ever to reach businesses – everything from apps to text messages. But to keep people happy, consistency is key. It doesn’t matter if a customer is on a messaging app or calling the IVR, they expect the same experience in every channel and they don’t want to repeat information they’ve previously provided. Omni-channel platforms connect customer service channels, carrying context from previous interactions and saving consumer preferences, which allows customers to seamlessly move from channel to channel. Consumers benefit from fast and effective interactions across all channels, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Offer self-service options
Whether it’s the rise of a “do-it-yourself” mindset or general fatigue of inadequate automated systems, we’re seeing a craving for self-service options. When possible, customers want to solve issues on their own. By leveraging virtual assistant technology, businesses can weave in self-service capabilities across channels. Not only does this empower customers to resolve their own problems (thereby increasing customer delight), it reduces operational costs along the way.
Valentine’s Day is a chance to get in touch with your emotions. But don’t forget to pay attention to customer emotions too. Your business just might thank you for it.