Emotion has become the buzzword of the customer experience industry over the last couple of years. The talk is about how to get customers emotionally involved and connected to business.
As with most of these big buzzword business topics, there is a lot of discussion and theorizing about trends and complicated formulas involving data and strategy. In the case of customers and emotional engagement, there’s a lot of discussion about delighting at every touch point along the journey and how to make all of the different channels for reaching customers more emotionally captivating. And while I don’t conceptually disagree with any of this, I often chuckle a bit at how much time and effort is being expended on research and mental gymnastics when it would seem some solutions are simple, and, to me, just plain common sense.
While thinking about this theme of emotional connection, I considered what gets me emotionally connected to businesses and my first thoughts were about employees, not customers. In my experience, when I get emotionally connected to a business, it comes from the employees, not from marketing or any other construct. In my mind, engaging customers emotionally is really just a function of the emotional engagement and connection of the employees.
I was recently in a restaurant where I asked my server for their recommendations on the menu. When I did that, they opened up and got very animated, it was obvious that they loved their job and they loved the restaurant and its menu. They exuberantly made suggestions about various options and spoke excitedly about what they liked and why. Their enthusiasm spread to me, I wanted to try everything, I began feeling that I wanted the restaurant to be as successful as they did. Was it some great service training or new mind-melding spell I was under? No, I simply fell in love with the server and their enthusiasm. I was captivated, not with any marketing message or new-fangled “delight” at a touch point designed on a journey map, just drawn in by the passion of the employee.
What this recent restaurant experience proved to me was that you can do all kinds of things to try and manufacture more emotional connection to your business but nothing works as well as a culture that supports employees and makes them passionate about what they do and what your business does. This enthusiasm is infectious and spreads like a virus to customers. It makes customers more passionate and makes them want to make the business successful. That, my friend, is emotional connection.
The formula here seems pretty straightforward and simple. Management must be passionate about what the business does and about helping and supporting employees in driving that mission. When employees then align around the goals of the business and feel supported and successful, they get enthusiastic and that spreads to customers. Simple formula, managers enthusiastically help employees, employees enthusiastically help customers, customers enthusiastically help the company. It’s not complicated.
So what does your business do that gets you excited? How emotionally connected are you to your business? How does your menu of products and/or services make you proud and passionate? How are you sharing that enthusiasm with your fellow employees and with customers?
If you are not emotionally connected to what it is your business does, your customers will never be. The path to getting customers emotionally connected is simple and it begins with you.