When customers are asked to rate the service they receive (on a scale of 1 to 5), have you ever wondered what they base their decision on? You may be thinking of factors like cost, quality, variety, timeliness, or other things particular to your products or services. If you do a good job on those fronts, you’ll likely have a satisfied customer (they’ll give you a 4). But what researchers have learned is that customer satisfaction isn’t enough if you want a successful business—because a satisfied customer is not necessarily a loyal customer. Someone who gives you a 4 is six times more likely to go somewhere else, compared to someone who gives you a 5. What does it take to earn a 5?
It has to do with creating an emotional connection. When customers form emotional attachments with the people who work at a particular place of business—because they consistently treat them with respect and kindness—they go from rationally satisfied customers to emotionally satisfied customers. Studies show that, once that happens, they are willing to drive a few more miles and even pay a few more dollars to do business with you over a competitor. That’s because decisions people make about what they buy and where they buy are largely driven by emotions, not logic.
Buying goods or services is not just a financial transaction anymore—it’s a psychological experience. Have you ever wondered why people spend 2-3 times as much money for coffee at Starbucks when they could buy a decent cup of coffee at McDonald’s? At Starbucks, it’s an experience—it’s the chrome and wood trim, it’s the sound of that cappuccino steamer with jazz music in the background. You can read a book in an easy chair, buy the New York Times and catch up on the news, or connect your laptop to WiFi and surf the net. And you can order drinks that make you feel like you’re speaking another language (“grande latte macchiato”). It just feels cool and trendy at Starbucks.
There is an area of the brain called the limbic system—it is the emotional center. When something gets in your limbic system and you form an emotional attachment, you become fiercely loyal to that object even when it makes no rational sense. Over time, you actually form addictions to certain brands that have little or no logical explanation—they’re driven primarily by emotion. Companies know if they can get in your limbic system, you will be hooked. This is why some people always buy Skippy, others Peter Pan; or some always choose Coke, others Pepsi. Not because the products are that different, but because they have emotional memories wrapped up with the brand. Did you know Bloomingdales’ uses scents in the air like baby powder to trigger happy emotions, and used car dealerships spray the interiors of their vehicles with a “new car smell” just to trigger your limbic system?
So, the goal of your business should not just be to do a great job, but to get in their limbic system; not just to rationally satisfy your customers, but to make sure they are also emotionally satisfied. The former can easily be persuaded to go elsewhere, the latter are fiercely loyal. Our workshop “Beyond Service Excellence” looks at four key opportunities to make or break the emotional connection with customers: attitude, communication, performance, and service failures.
If you’re interested in learning more about this program, please contact us at RDR Group for a free, no pressure consultation.