People are of many different minds about soccer: Some root for the BVB, others for Bayern München, and others for another club completely. What unites all groups are the emotions, with regard to victories and losses. Frequently fans’ emotions boil over, and this further reinforces loyalty to the club. A victory – a “we feeling” – endless happiness and 100% identification with your favorite club. That’s the secret of emotional bonding. And this is precisely what companies need to be aware of: Winning customers’ hearts creates measurable company success.
Emotions are more important today than ever before. Customers make many decisions based on their feelings. Neuromarketing focuses on emotions in marketing. In this discipline, the concern is understanding how purchasing decisions are made. A study of the GfK shows that purchasing decisions are largely made unconsciously and always emotionally: 70% of purchases are made only at the point of sale.
Whether conscious or unconscious, emotions are the key to profitable customer relationships and influence loyalty more than any other factor.
Aggressive advertising campaigns, low prices, and reward systems are attractive to customers, but they do not create emotional bonds. Today, companies are recognizing emotions’ strong influence on the customer experience and using the emotional component to bond with their most valuable customers. The goal of the emotional bond is to reach a level on which the customer identifies completely with the brand. Almost like fans of a soccer club. Emotional customer loyalty is frequently called customer engagement. The greater the customers’ engagement, the stronger the bond to the company. As a result, it is critical for companies to learn more about the factors that promote or prevent customers’ engagement.
Research by the Center for Service Excellence (CSE) at the University of Koblenz-Landau shows that not all emotions have the same effect. In particular, characterization of the emotions (positive or negative) and the intensity of the emotions felt (low or high degree of activation) play a central role. Emotionally bonded customers buy frequently and more, pay less attention to price, and report more positive experiences with a company or product. And the other way around: customers who have had bad experiences pass along their negative impressions. This has a negative effect on branding.
Emotions affect experience and are inextricably bound up with it. Companies should pay close attention to emotions as an effective component of customer experience and integrate them into every CX strategy. The goal has to be to increase customer engagement. Companies that concentrate on emotions as a critical element of CX can increase customer value in the end.