Customer Service: Do you connect emotionally?

Article by Nicola Bryan ROCCO’s Head of Strategic Operations

The Secret of Success

How many times have you felt that a Vendor doesn’t really empathise enough? Or understand your real needs when they offer a product or service to you?  Maybe they just don’t relate to the frustration and confusion that you have been through and maybe they never will.

When I used to work with Managers on improving customer service, one of the first things I would ask them to do was to think of a brand they love, and think of a brand they loathed, listing 3 reasons for each. It was never surprising that customer service was always a key instigator for each reaction. This highlighted the point I was trying to make; and one that had been scientifically proven*; consumers are very much emotionally led.

“*FMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions rather than information like brand attributes, features and facts” Psychology Today

Most people believe that the choices they make are logical, that analysis and research is carried out and enough evidence has been gathered to justify the purchase and product choice. Yet even if it’s not readily admitted; emotions greatly influence and determine decisions, be that consciously or not.

Take for instance the feeling when you unwrap a shiny new product you’ve desired for a while, it’s a euphoric moment, (you only need to watch the trending ‘unboxing’ videos on you tube to understand) carefully removing the new product from its box and putting it to use, delighting in how ‘my precious’ is already enhancing life in some small way. Then imagine a few hours, days, weeks later, the new product might not be meeting expectations, you can’t get it to work properly, it has a fault, or worse you have buyer’s remorse as it’s just ‘not as advertised’, emotions are upturned and fall to disappointment, frustration, annoyance. At this crucial point-providing a customer with the right experience can be the tipping point between brand love or loath.

“When companies connect with customer’s emotions, the pay-off can be huge” Harvard Business review

So with human emotion being such a complex minefield how do companies in 2017 empathetically tip toe through and provide an effective Customer Experience?  No 2 in the top CX trends coming into fashion this year;

Customer Success programmes

Customer success seems to be gaining in popularity. The notion is not new but more and more companies are seeing the benefit of building a CS programme or team into their strategy. On first discovering this approach I believed it to be just another term for a good customer experience; simply for a company to have success with a customer, but it’s certainly a lot more psychological than that.

The definition of Customer Success Management is predicting a customer’s potential needs and identifying viable options to counteract a product being returned or service terminated. In short; ensuring the Customer has ‘success’ with the product or service.

I remember last year when my Father bought a Mercedes, (I’m sure like any other person on the planet when a new car gets delivered) he spent the majority of that day in his new ‘pride and joy’, not moving out of the drive, flicking switches on and off numerable times, instructions pamphlet in hand, itching his head in confusion. Now bearing in mind my Father is a ‘silver surfer’ with a good level of computer literacy, the technological leaps that had occurred since he last bought a car were far greater then he was able to digest.

This was the first time I saw Customer Success in action. After one phone call to the Mercedes HQ, my Father had a specialist sat by his side in just a few days.  She drove for over an hour to provide a one to one training session and left her direct number; ‘we want you to understand and enjoy the car, so anytime just give me a call’. In my Fathers words ‘I cannot fault their service’. Mercedes had recognised the complexities of their product, used their Big Data to identify the potential customer issues, put a viable strategy in place should there be a code red customer, and achieved Customer success.

 “Sales in the high technology industry is an art and a science. But so is what comes after; the continuance and deepening of customer relationships. Service, support, Satisfaction, and the ultimate factor of retention: Customer Success. A new era has begun; its time for a new approach” Source Customer Success association

A new approach, a fact well known by the members of ‘The Customer Success Forum’ on Linkedin, with 10,000 plus participants that range from CEO’s and CXO’s to practising CS managers and specialists from all size of companies.  “Why reinvent the wheel”  The forum founder; CS Association goes on to say;

“The greatest value in every professional conference or event is found in opportunity to interact freely, the forum is a community to exchange insights and innovations, strategies and tactics in retaining customer relationships”

The Customer Success strategy perhaps doesn’t work for all companies. Yet, a vendor who can recognise they have certain products or services that evoke emotional connections or a product with a higher level of potential frustration, who can then identify the need for additional customer support are the ones who will reap the benefits and gain and retain a deeper level of customer loyalty.

At ROCCO we know that often Vendors in our community do not understand or empathise with the emotional situation and need for the product well enough. ROCCO’s Customer Service survey is something for MNOs to tell their story of Customer Service with their vendors… its quick and simple to understand and each responder receives a free report showing the ranking of the vendors. One of the most interesting reports of the year at ROCCO HQ and perhaps the right piece of research to see you off on a track to find the right vendors.

MNOs can follow this link to complete this quick survey.