Positive emotions are vital to a good retail customer experience. But how can you ensure customers have a positive experience in your store? The Power of Emotion and Personalization, a survey of more than 20,000 people by InMoment, has some guidance about what emotions matter most to customer loyalty.
Emotion has become the No. 1 driver of a great customer experience, InMoment reports — more important than ease or effectiveness. The study surveyed both customers and businesses about what emotions create positive brand experiences. Here’s what they said:
Satisfaction is by far the most important emotion in creating positive brand experiences. Thirty-eight percent of consumers ranked it as important, compared to 26 percent of businesses.
Other emotions ranked far behind satisfaction for consumers. Feeling safe/reassured is the second most-cited emotion related to positive brand experiences (14 percent). Being made to feel important ranks third (12 percent) while being made to feel “relaxed/at ease” ranked fourth (11 percent).
However, there are some important discrepancies between the emotions that consumers feel are important and those that businesses think are important to their customers. For example, consider that 12-point gap between consumers’ and businesses’ rankings of satisfaction. Businesses are also more inclined to think consumers want to be part of something special (14 percent of companies, but just 7 percent of consumers, say this is an important positive emotion).
The survey also asked what emotions are important to making consumers loyal to businesses. Again, satisfaction topped the list: Almost 40 percent of consumers associate satisfaction with customer loyalty. However, businesses overvalued emotions such as feeling important (15 percent) and feeling a part of something special (11 percent) in creating customer loyalty.
What emotions are associated with a negative brand experience? One-fourth of consumers say they associate disappointment with a bad experience, 23 percent mentioned “frustration” and 20 percent say feeling disrespected leads to a bad brand experience. In addition, 19 percent say a bad experience makes them angry.
Once again, businesses in the survey drastically underestimated the emotions of disrespect and anger, with 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, saying these emotions are associated with a poor brand experience.
Making an Emotional Connection with Customers
What’s the takeaway for retailers?
1) Deliver what you promise. Given the discrepancy between the emotions that businesses and consumers feel are the most important for a business to create, InMoment concludes that many businesses are missing the mark. Brands that focus on trying to make customers feel part of something special or feel important may be overlooking what really matters to their customers. Before you try to bring out strong emotions — to “delight” consumers — you need to master the basics: delivering what you promise.
While these days it’s common to complain that consumer expectations are too high, in reality, InMoment points out, most customers’ expectations are simply for a business to deliver what it promises. If you don’t do what you say you will — for instance, if your store doesn’t have advertised items in stock — customers will feel more than just let down; they’ll feel betrayed.
2) Create personalized interactions. Personalization is a hot buzzword in marketing right now. However, for consumers in the survey, personalized, targeted advertising is not as important as a personalized experience with the business. One consumer in the survey put it this way: “Knowing my needs [is] far more important than knowing just my name or my status on a screen that they look at. I like [it] when they offer recommendations that I may not have thought of at first but feel would be beneficial to purchase, not just another upsell.”
Go ahead and collect customer data you can use for marketing and advertising. But go beyond “staring at a screen” to reach out and make suggestions with the customer’s benefit in mind.
3) Survey your customers. The only way to know if customers are truly satisfied is to ask them. Conduct regular customer surveys and touch base with customers informally to get a sense of how well your business is doing at delivering the essential emotion –satisfaction.