12 Feb Customer Love Benefits Both Sides: Appreciation Is The Chocolate In CX
Do you love your customers? Do they know it? It’s vital to business to show your customers appreciation. Holidays like Valentine’s Day are a reminder to do more than consume mass quantities of chocolate. They highlight the fact that expressing appreciation nurtures relationships. Customer love nurtures your B2C relationships.
Saying thanks is more than an empty polite gesture you were taught to please others and get another slice of cake. It reflects the human desire for appreciation. That extends beyond personal relationships with friends, family and significant others to business. Love them or lose them, that is the mantra for customers, and the statistics back this.
A 2018 report from Zendesk revealed that keeping customers happy means longer relationships, positive sentiment and future purchasing is more likely:
“Among survey participants reporting a good customer service experience, 87% reveal that their experience actually changed future buying behavior, from recommending products or services to other people (67%) to purchasing or using more products and services from that company (54%) to considering purchasing or using more from that company (39%).”
The same study showed that poor customer service had the opposite effect:
“Of those reporting a bad customer experience, almost all of them (97%) changed their future buying decisions. More specifically, 58% stopped buying from the company, 52% switched to a different company for that product or service, 52% told others not to buy that product or service, and 48% were unlikely to consider that company when making future purchases.”
Sounds like a bad breakup.
Those percentages reflect in profit too. Shep Hyken over at Forbes mentioned the NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report, saying “it reveals that poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. That’s up $13 billion since its last report in 2016.”
Wow. That’s a lot of chocolate hearts.
The Psychology of Appreciation
There is a real psychological basis to empathy and appreciation. Humans are wired to behave differently when receiving it. It doesn’t mean that when your customers don’t receive it that they will tell you in loud, angry voices or by shaming you on twitter. Reports show they are more likely not to say anything at all:
“Shauna Geraghty, a clinical psychologist and head of talent at the global customer support innovator TalkDesk revealed on the company’s blog that over 90 percent of customers who are dissatisfied with your customer service experience will –rather than telling you that something is wrong and how you can improve it — just not come back.” Entrepreneur
Treat your customer well and they’re less likely to ghost you.
This isn’t about manipulation for an effective bottom line. Your customers are more aware than you might think. They aren’t just numbers, they’re people. People respond positively to gratitude – tangible, authentic, gratitude.
Eric Mosley, CEO of WorkHuman, connects gratitude with recognition and together they have an expansive affect:
“Gratitude goes hand in hand with the act of giving recognition. When we recognize one another, it makes us even more appreciative and inspires the person we’ve thanked to give that feeling to someone else, leading to a swell in happiness, well-being, morale, energy, and engagement–all of which directly influence performance, productivity, and retention. This is the gratitude effect: a ripple of acknowledgment and appreciation that surges forward, transforming and inspiring us, and improving business outcomes.”
We Love Our Customers (no really, we do)
You may not write them a love song (here is some customer support song inspiration), but customer appreciation is more than a random email with a digital card or an ad that says “We Love Our Customers”. The actions and the words need to match. A generic message with no real value attached rings false and gives customers a negative impression of a brand. Like the partner that only gives flowers when making an apology, the gesture feels like disappointment rather than affection.
Customers want to be valued as individuals not just numbers. Ok. It’s not possible to take every one of them out for chocolate mousse cake, but there are many ways to show customer love.
On the simple end, meet your customers where they are. That means providing omnichannel customer service: phone, website, text, social.
Offer customers self-service options like a quality FAQ and video instructions.
Hallmark is the company known for creating products to pull the heartstrings. (A Hallmark moment anyone?) They don’t just make products for loved ones, they also recognize the B2C relationship in their Valentine’s Day card offerings. Sending cards at holiday times to customers is one way of giving a more personalized touch.
If the budget, the customer list, and the data is bigger the possibilities are endless. Loyalty programs, discount codes, freebies, social shoutouts, contests, and charitable donations that reflect the values of your customer base – these are all ways to show appreciation.
You don’t have to stop there though. Create your own brand-centric form of appreciation.
By The Way, Don’t Forget Your Employees
Yes, without customers you wouldn’t have a business. Without employees you wouldn’t have anyone to run it either. Appreciating your employees has a direct effect on how they engage with your customers too. Customer love and employee love go hand in hand.
It seems obvious, but it’s good to be reminded that behind all of your products, balance sheets, and reports are living, breathing people. Show some customer love and your brand will get love in return.
In conclusion, here’s a feel good customer love story for you, love and pizza! Happy Valentine’s Day.