How To Improve The Customer Experience By Humanizing Your Brand

Hand writing Smiley on the Customer - Customer RetentionA recent Forrester report revealed that, in order for companies to deliver an exceptional customer experience, they must focus on making emotional connections.

There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests human connections can help drive enthusiasm, loyalty, advocacy and lifetime customer value. A study from The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) and Google found that B2B buyers who felt a strong connection to a brand had higher rates of consideration, purchase and willingness to pay a premium.

Humanizing your brand isn’t something you can achieve overnight, but it does begin with one simple premise: trust. The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer study discovered that 80 percent of respondents said that they bought a product or service because they trusted the brand behind it.

Not sure how to become trustworthy in the eyes of your customers? Tap into the humans who are already powering your brand: your employees.

Here are four ways to show customers the human side of your brand and create a better customer experience in the process.

1. Empower employees to solve customer problems

By empowering employees to make important decisions and service customers without a manager’s permission, you begin building a culture of trust that reflects outwardly with each customer interaction.

When employees feel empowered and confident, they are happier at work, and are more likely to talk positively about your company—which improves the customer experience.

“This is the big challenge for brands now,” said Jeanette Gibson, VP of Community at Hootsuite, during a panel at this year’s Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD). “Everything is a 24/7 culture, and the expectation is that every employee should be able to represent the brand.” Companies need to infuse their culture into every employee so they can deliver an exceptional customer experience.

2. Give your employees a voice—and let them help you listen

While crowdsourcing authentic stories from external advocates is an integral part of infusing emotion into your brand, the same concept can apply to employees. Whether customer-facing or not, every employee has the potential to humanize your brand by sharing their own positive experiences and ideas.

Employees can also monitor feedback on social channels in order to get a pulse on how customers feel about your company, and take action to ensure any issues are quickly resolved.

Customer service and social media expert, Peter Shankman, also a CMAD panelist, advises organizations use employee advocates to strengthen ties with your external community. “Find a couple of voices for the company,” said Peter. “Let them give away information in their own way—a way that people will enjoy, and will be able to use.” Once a few employees start creating more customer happiness and building brand awareness, others will want to join in.

3. Surprise and delight your customers

Often times, the smallest gestures can make a large impact on strengthening a customer relationship and increasing engagement. A hand-delivered coffee, or a gift card for a customer’s favorite restaurant are simple ways to let customers know that you value them.

But sometimes, a thank you is enough.

Bryan Kramer, CEO at Pure Matter, and CMAD panelist, provides an interesting perspective on customer appreciation. “A lot of times, brands are playing reactive and they’re trying to be customer service after the fact, but what if we created ‘thank you’ departments that actually reached out before the issues happened?” he asked. By creating a proactive experience, customers are more likely to feel appreciated by your brand. “It puts you in a totally different place when you go to engage with people.”

4. Get company leaders active in your community

A recent study of social CEO’s revealed that the use of social media helps to build trust—particularly if those participating are part of the C-suite.

Provide some training around the rules for engaging on social media, and invite your CEO and other leaders to tweet and post so that your customers can associate a face with the brand.

Follow these steps, and your brand will create strong emotional connections, and a sense of trust, that only humans can provide.

The_CMO_s_Role_In_Closing-lgFree report: The CMO’s Role In Closing The Customer-Employee Gap

This report introduces Forrester’s model for bringing customer data, communication and collaboration technologies together to amplify the returns on each, and ultimately evolve to a differentiated “customer-activated enterprise.” Learn how CMOs can create a better customer engagement model that can win, serve, and retain more sophisticated buyers.

Download the report now

16 Responses to How To Improve The Customer Experience By Humanizing Your Brand

  1. […] personal with your customers. Ask them for their feedback and opinions, and let them interact with the real people behind your program. It will make them feel closer to your brand, and much more inclined to advocate on your behalf. […]

  2. […] who participate in advocate marketing programs have an emotional connection to the brand, making these relationships stronger over time, even if that customer changes […]

  3. […] that suggests consumers really want to “engage and understand the brands they buy, and feel an emotional connection.” It’s important at every point in the process, says Jenny, to tell the story and build a […]

  4. […] for the ask – and do it personally. Because what you’ll quickly realize is that you’ve got a lot more referenceable customers […]

  5. […] and prospects. This is especially true for video. “Personalized videos can bring a much-needed human element into your marketing,” Jeff […]

  6. […] order to achieve this emotional connection, you need to show customers the human side of your brand—like your awesome employees. Empower your employees to solve customer problems, and encourage […]

  7. […] can become relatable advocates for your company. Give them the tools and guidelines they need to act as a voice for your brand, and you’ll reap the […]

  8. […] to complement the brand experience that ads deliver. Advertising humanizes a brand. The same can be accomplished by improving customer experience. The easiest way to humanize customer service is using visual content. The task of offering visual […]

  9. […] are some of Chandar’s tips for using technology to humanize your marketing, transform your customer experience and follow other marketing leaders into “the era of […]

  10. […] engagement. Taking the Swiftmas approach and delighting your top customers is the best way to humanize your brand and create a unique customer experience. It will also inspire customer reciprocity—if you do […]

  11. […] a face on your community is something that many advocate marketers overlook. However, your customers want to learn about the […]

  12. […] Making it personal. Katie asked advocates to recommend a San Francisco coffee shop. Once she had this information, she […]

  13. […] of the most successful referral campaigns that we’ve done, because it was personal. It had that human element to it, and wasn’t a robotic […]

  14. […] you get when you tell someone about something you love. And being able to monetize that kind of emotion, says Steven, is GrubHub’s approach. “I knew we had this untapped latent demand and joy for the […]

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