Building emotional loyalty with customers and employees might be the secret to long-term business success.
Emotional loyalty is the strong emotional bonds people attach to brands, products, services, or providers. Its practice rests on doing good business through a great experience that meets people’s needs.
Transactional rewards are one helpful strategy to incentivize loyalty in customers and employees. But it is only one component of a triad of factors that build emotional loyalty.
The notion of rewards, relevance, and recognition, a mnemonic coined by American marketing executive Paulo Claussen, helps brands understand the critical elements of solid and effective loyalty programs. Studies show that more emotional ties bring the most loyalty.
Research also demonstrates that positive emotions significantly impact customer loyalty more than other customer satisfaction data. According to that research, emotionally loyal customers will visit their favorite brand 32% more often and spend 46% more money than those with less emotional ties.
One way to measure emotional loyalty for a brand is by using tools such as customer analytics, which measures customer sentiment, according to Kristyn Emenecker, chief product and strategy officer for Playvox, a contact center software provider.
“Through customer sentiment, you can provide an entirely new dimension to understanding customer loyalty, above and beyond something like NPS [Net Promoter Score], CSAT [Customer Satisfaction Score], or other more traditional forms of measuring customer happiness and therefore loyalty,” she told CRM Buyer.
Company Commitment to a Never-Ending Process
In her experience, brands sometimes may think that loyalty is one-sided, and they use just one specific marketing program and its results.
Those results only answer questions about how much of an increase occurred in a brand’s footprint or customer base. But they forget to consider measuring the entire customer journey and the roadblocks customers may have during that journey, Emenecker offered.
“That means measuring each touch point and understanding if the customer had a successful outcome in terms of getting their issue resolved,” she continued.
Brands face two other challenges in trying to measure emotional responses objectively. They may use traditional methods to measure “success,” like CSAT. They should consider looking at how the brand made the person feel.
“That is where something like sentiment analysis can help you understand the true impact of a particular campaign or program,” said Emenecker.
She also warned against anyone looking at emotional loyalty as a “one and done” campaign. It is a company-wide commitment and journey.
“Consumers will continue to have a breadth of choices, and earning customer loyalty is a never-ending process,” she insisted.
Why Measuring Emotional Loyalty Matters
Taking consumers’ and workers’ emotional temperatures has always been necessary. Yet companies often neglect that measurement when seeking customer feedback — finding out what employees think is even further out of most corporate boundaries.
Human beings make decisions to be loyal based on positive emotions, positive reinforcement, and good experiences. That justifies exploring the tools that will help brands measure emotional loyalty.
This concept is even more essential today. Companies have endured tremendous strain, and many more employees work from home. Such contacts involve more distance communications, not just face-to-face and phone conversations and live chat.
To understand, benchmark, and measure loyalty, corporate leaders must recognize the basis for commitment is positive, memorable experiences. That process includes avoiding very emotionally negative experiences, according to Emenecker.
One way that Playvox measures emotional loyalty is to digitize identifying emotional responses. Brands can do that by sending a survey after an interaction to get direct solicited information. This survey can include asking questions such as “Have I taken care of all of your needs today? Or have I provided you with outstanding service?” she explained.
Coaching With Sentiment Scores
Playvox coaches its customers — large brands and smaller retailers — on specific questioning skills and reactions. The company takes on a teaching role to encourage its tool users to implement better strategies to build emotional loyalty.
Part of that coaching uses an indirect assessment of sentiment. Software developers have released many tools that do speech and text analytics. Playvox has its own tools to help users accurately detect their emotional score assessments.
“We provide a sentiment score across 100% of interactions so that our retail clients can see how they are hitting the mark in terms of creating the right sentiment that is going to translate to that customer emotion and loyalty,” said Emenecker.
She continued explaining, “They can see how they are trending. They can see past experience, but they also can automate the same process they were doing with humans in terms of quality to identify conversations where the customer displayed negative sentiments.”
That leads to a solution where there is a problem to understand and fix. It is a comparison between the direct solicited responses and the indirect data that enables organizations to use tools to improve that situation.
Instilling Positive Emotional Experiences
Playvox does a good deal to help its customers figure out how to translate interactions where participants may not speak live. That is a pressing need, given today’s growing use of digital messaging platforms with chatbots. It is an educational process of sorting out what kind of questions you can ask in quality assurance, Emenecker noted.
The company assists its user customers by training employees to understand and create positive emotional experiences with customers. Its coaches employ quality monitoring and listening techniques to teach the predictors.
Then the coaches show them how to promote, train, and measure emotional scores from the standpoint and scorecards for agents.
The process involves post-exchange assessments and ongoing training sessions for employees who interact with customers. The process is not generated in an AI-prepared report, noted Emenecker.
“It is a combination of a lot of different components. It is something we feel very passionate about,” she said
To maximize effectiveness, software designers started by using AI and natural language processing (NLP) to determine sentiment detection as part of the post-interaction process. The machine learning team added tools on the workforce management side where dissatisfaction or poor experiences existed, according to Emenecker.
That has helped deal with negative emotions expressed in conversations, such as customers verbalizing, “I’m frustrated,” “I’ve waited forever,” or “I can’t get the right person who is able to respond.”
In developing its software, Playvox started real-time monitoring of agent interaction calls on clients’ systems and discovered situations that existing data did not predict.
Its AI model does what is called real-time anomaly detection and makes recommendations to help humans pick up the pattern of interactions based on the number of tickets coming in on related topics.
That sort of AI intervention helps agents provide real-time guidance. Developing and improving the model is not easy to design, noted Emenecker. But it shows the direction Playvox is taking to use customers’ emotional clues to improve the overall customer engagement scores.
Workforce Engagement Add-On
Predicting behavior and detecting emotional qualities in agent interactions is not what CRM platforms provide. Much of Playvox’s technology is provided to existing CRM systems by application programming interfaces (APIs) and software module add-ons that Playvox installs for its users.
“We are not a CRM. Rather, we are a workforce engagement software provider. So, we are the management tools. I call it the management suite for operations. We have all the tools that they use to manage the operations, not to actually build the tickets, or the service, or the customer information,” Emenecker emphasized.
Those tools include quality monitoring, analytics to understand what is happening, and the surveys they can send. Playvox is the workforce management system to forecast volumes and schedule employees.
“That is the category that we have been in, and we partner with clients and work closely to support their CRM platforms,” she added.
Emenecker is a big believer in customer engagement scores and how Playvox can use NPS or other scores and create predictors of them. Those factors comprise the wide range of models the company is developing for its next steps.