emotional connection

Emotional Connection Matters More Than Customer Satisfaction

There is an excellent HBR (Harvard Business Review) article, September 2016, that talks about the concept that emotional connection matters more than customer satisfaction, and I completely agree.

When you have an emotional connection, you have a relationship, you have a bond that people don’t want to break, there’s value in that relationship, right? So, when a brand screws up, when, let’s say, you get a product and something is wrong or it’s broken, customer satisfaction, you’re not satisfied by that result, so you get in touch, and they make it right.

Because of emotional connection, we tolerate a break in our customer satisfaction.

So, customer satisfaction shifts can be weathered through emotional connection. Emotional connection is what makes customer satisfaction … makes us a little bit more flexible, right? Because we care about the brand, we love the brand.

An example of this is Uber. I love Uber. I love my Uber experience, and the app and it’s my preferred service … my preferred brand. And then Uber stood for something, they got behind something that I could not align myself to, and I had to choose and be decisive about severing my relationship to the brand.

No longer being a customer is an easier way to say that, a less severe way to express that, right? And I was so disappointed, because I loved it. I hesitate because I don’t want to lose this brand. I like this experience, this works for me. People have emotional connection with their brands and they don’t want them to fail or change, they don’t want to lose them, and when they do, it’s a loss.

A brand relationship can endure a satisfaction failure.

So, just like personal relationships, people fight, people make mistakes, people apologize and if there’s enough equity in that relationship, enough connection, enough trust or enough emotional bond, it can weather a storm and it can repair. So, that’s why emotional connection is far more valuable to create than customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is a measurement of the transaction, more so than the overall relationship. It’s a measurement of the transactional, the net result of a series of transactions. So, inherently, it is less valuable than emotional connection.

Bottom line is to focus on establishing emotional connection, be clear on what you stand for, where you resonate, where is the empathy to your target audience, where are your peeps and where … build that love, build that emotional connection that relationship, so that when there is a failure, because there will be a failure, no brand is perfect and people aren’t perfect and relationships endure impacts. When you build enough equity, your brand can sustain that failure. And you have an opportunity to make it right and to even strengthen that relationship.

Good customer service creates more customer satisfaction and actually can stimulate a deeper relationship of how that brand took care of something, took care of a mistake. And that shows character, that shows even more credibility, and therefore, even more love, even more trust, therefore, even more love.

Keri Konik


Kerri Konik

Kerri Konik is a seasoned senior branding executive, who has committed her focus and expertise to bringing big agency strategies to small business, service professionals and experts, so their brands can resonate, compete, and prevail. Inspire Fire is a women-owned business, boutique agency, specializing in strategic branding for small business. Developing brand identity, messaging and marketing that creates emotional connection, increases sales, drives growth and profits, and results in sustainability and enabling a greater impact in the world. Learn more about Kerri at inspirefire.com .

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