Turning first-time buyers into lifelong customers can be a challenge. But one simple concept can help make it much, much easier.
The secret? Empathy.
Move beyond the basic customer transaction by creating real, human moments. When you provide positive, authentic and memorable experiences, you have a higher chance of creating lifelong brand advocates.
Let’s take a look at the eight ways in which you can infuse empathy into your customer interactions.
- Step into another’s shoes again and again.
Empathy requires emotional awareness with a focused appreciation of human experiences. You likely already incorporate empathetic training with your employee value proposition, so take it a step further and apply the ideas outwardly from your employees to your customers. 80% of consumers indicated they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and empathy is the first step toward this connection. Learn how Hallmark Business Connections infuses empathy into the customer care experience here:
- Adjust your tone to a human frequency.
Celebrate, mourn, apologize, laugh and have real conversations with customers. Surprise them with genuinely personalized emails, social media engagements and customer service experiences. As a result, your consumers will be more interested in you, your brand and your story. 47% of Millennial women know their favorite brand’s origin story, and this desire to experience the people behind the company is growing. Create transparency and trust by being human and initiating interactions that build real customer relationships.
- Share behind-the-scenes content.
An easy way to promote transparency involves embracing social media and your ability to share real life with your customers. Photos, videos and stories of the real people who answer phone calls, build products and ship packages foster personal connections. Promote your employee recognition culture. This encourages customers to connect with employees further.
- Be efficient but effective in your interactions.
We live in a world of expecting things to be done yesterday, so keeping efficiency at the top of your list when planning marketing, transactional interactions and general customer service is critical. Inc.com notes that customer service reps should think about their own frustrations when it comes to time-related customer service issues and how those hurdles may influence their own interactions with businesses. Imagine the possibilities of increasing performance and connection when your business addresses problems through the understanding of customer-centric feelings and ideas.
- Say “Thank You” like you mean it.
Design your loyalty program with care and express gratitude to each loyal customer as if they were your only one. When infusing empathy into each aspect of your business, put yourself in the place of the customer and build a program you would be eager to join and proud to represent. You know the feeling you get when a company just seems to understand you? Spread that feeling through your own interactions.
- Get to know your customer.
Find ways to identify your customers beyond their transactions. Encourage customer service representatives to ask about and live the customer’s experience, uncovering valuable information that will allow them to help in a more empathetic way. Understanding your customer is often as simple as taking an extra few moments to listen, apply empathy and offer a solution beyond what’s expected. And don’t forget to share what you learn throughout your organization.
- Continually promote your cause.
Plan marketing touchpoints with the dual purpose of increasing profitability and strengthening your community. Consumers prioritize pooling strength in the businesses they choose to support with their paychecks, especially in our growing culture of acceptance and highly emotional social movements. By integrating cause marketing into your business model, you are building advocates not only for your business but for the future you imagine through the programs you support. To learn more about social responsibility in marketing, read our blog: 5 Inspirational Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility in Marketing.
- Learn (and promote) what makes people remember your brand.
Build meaningful and valuable customer interactions with each transaction. Creating an empathetic employee culture will not only provide a positive work environment of committed and loyal employees, it will also spread that commitment to your customers. Take this sweet story of a beloved stuffed animal left behind in a hotel room and sent back home to his overjoyed young owner with a collection of photos showing how it enjoyed an extra day of vacation with hotel staff before being returned. That right there is a genuine connection we can all appreciate.
Whether you’re connecting with one person or one million, Hallmark Business Connections can customize our products for your business to help get the right message across at just the right time. Find out how we can help you infuse empathy into your direct marketing and customer experience today.