Thursday, September 17, 2015

Winning Customer Loyalty with Empathy

Image courtesy of InMoment
Today I'm pleased to share a guest post by Brooke Cade of InMoment.

With social media taking over, it is no surprise to see more companies turning toward these digital platforms to connect with customers. Today, successful businesses are utilizing social media not only to build their brand and build strong relationships, but to foster customer relations and provide people with the best service.

One way that businesses are building those relationships is through empathy. Empathy has been defined as the practice of putting yourself into another person’s thoughts, feelings, personality, and circumstances to better understand their desires. By taking time to walk in your customers' shoes, you will be able be more proactive in what you can do, what your services can do, and what the company can do in the long run to help them and serve their needs.

How can you use empathy to connect with customers?

Before you start putting together a marketing campaign around empathy, it is important to understand your customers. Take time to talk to them, gather feedback, and know what they are looking for and what they want/need. Hold a brainstorming session with your team, managers, and even stakeholders, to pull in as many ideas through an empathy map exercise.

Throughout the exercise, you will be looking at four aspects of the customer experience: thinking, seeing, doing, and feeling. As you brainstorm about each of these sections, you will not only put yourself in your customers' shoes, but both you and your customers will see a greater ROI all around.

For your customers, as you take the time to actively listen and engage with them, they will feel like their voices are important and validated by your brand. In turn, you will create loyal, long lasting relationships with your customer base. In the end, everyone wins.

How have other businesses used empathy to build better relationships with their customers?
Extra Space Storage recently released a video called, 10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Having a Baby, where they connected with first-time parents in a touching video to help them navigate through the mounds of parenting advice they’ll be getting. Extra Space Storage built a strong relationship with customers - both current and future - by sharing touching stories/tips from real parents.

Another excellent example is with Google Chrome, who created the video, Dear Sophie, to connect with dads. In their campaign, Google Chrome touched on those tender moments of fathers watching their children grow and wanting to preserve those moments in a unique way.

In both campaigns, Extra Space Storage and Google Chrome were able to connect with their customers, and potential customers, that went deeper than the product and services they offer.

How can your brand build a deeper connection?
Utilize the empathy map exercise with your team. Print out a copy for everyone, get a large white board, and get everyone to throw out their ideas in the brainstorming session. Ask open-ended questions such as, “What are our customer’s daily habits and rituals?” “How do they feel after using our product?” and “What are they doing to change their lives?” and write down the answers. After the brainstorming session, take time to debrief as a group and create some actionable things you can do (on all levels) to make the customer experience better.

You may have to go through this exercise a few times, but each time you practice this, you will gain better insights into your customers and what you can do for them. The important thing to remember is, at the end of the day, your customers need to feel like they’ve been heard.

Empathy is an excellent way to show them that they have been heard and you care about what they have to say.

Brooke Cade is a freelance writer with InMoment. When she is not writing, Brooke is committed to learning more about helping businesses and sales professionals improve their customer experience.


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