In part 2 of our blog serialisation of the latest Webhelp whitepaper “Emotion: Establishing emotional connections with customers: What brands need to know” Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer – Webhelp UK, India and South Africa looks at how brands can get beyond the hype to find what will work for them.

Brands providing customer engagement services ignore the importance of emotional connection at their peril, as across all age groups, emotionally connected customers behave more positively towards brands.

Emotional connection is a hot topic. But how do brands get beyond the hype?

“Organisations tend to focus a lot of attention on executing short-term tactics that bring an immediate return on investment, but brands can gain bigger benefits when prioritising long-term strategies,” says Jo Causon, CEO at the Institute of Customer Service. She points out that “connections based on feelings last longer than those based on a transient need, resulting in loyalty that stays throughout the entire customer life-cycle.”

And, this loyalty can be strengthened by creating a brand identity that resonates with customers.

As Chris Bryson, Global Analytics Director at Webhelp, who is heavily involved in the company’s work on emotional connection, says:

“Customers feel most emotionally connected with a brand when its value proposition aligns with their motivations and desires. For example, people who strongly wish to “stand out from the crowd,” or “feel a sense of belonging” will choose products or services that help them experience that specific feeling. By understanding consumer motivations and engagement expectations, brands can create customer experience that is in accordance with these, and ensure it’s consistent across every customer touch-point.”

To do this brands must invest in tailored insight and analysis, as Rebecca Price, Partner at creative communications consultancy, Frank, Bright & Abel, adds “The key emotional motivators driving consumer behavior are unique to each brand and category. To identify what will work for their brand, marketers and customer experience professionals need to lean on data and analytics gleaned from consumers, social media listening or messaging analysis.”

Understanding how to leverage human brand attributes to cultivate emotional connection opens up vast potential for brands, as Polly Ashdown, Marketing and Communications Director, Webhelp UK, India & South Africa, points out:

“Brands that really ‘get’ the importance of a human angle, look at making connections

in the most human way possible. They’re less focused on the transaction – i.e. of selling the product or answering the question – they’re focused on building trust, anticipating customer needs, and giving customers the edge. They know that consistency is key to trust and credibility, and focus on the entire experience, rather than one element of the customer journey.”

This is echoed by Webhelp’s people, who are at the heart of customer engagement. They reveal the importance of human values in building customer relationships. As an advisor points out: “Empathy shows we are human beings beyond the processes and ways of working.” This human first approach is reinforced by our team leaders, one of whom explains that: “Advisors do their best to not only help their customers, but get everything solved in a way that matters for them.” This is a core value for Webhelp, as we do a human-centric job – with personalized contact on a daily basis. People are really at the heart of what we do.

As David Turner emphasises, there are no short cuts to achieve this:

“The desire to have emotional connection to a brand has to be part of each company’s employee value proposition. The brand needs to have a strong vision, be worth working for, and appeal to customers, colleagues and shareholders. In the past, too much focus was placed on the latter, but today, the successful brands are able to articulate in a compelling and vibrant way, who they are and what they stand for. People aren’t looking for jobs any more, they’re looking for experiences. You need to take people on the journey.”

And as people are at the heart of customer experience, human interaction – and the art of conversation – are fundamental. As Webhelp’s founders, Olivier Duha and Frédéric Jousset explain: “We believe people connect best with people, and our emotional intelligence – together with our innovation is how we go the extra mile.”

You can follow blog the serialisation, and join the conversation, on the Webhelp LinkedIn and Twitter sites or read the Whitepaper in full below.