How customers feel about their experience with your company matters more than whether or not they like your product. The first is considered emotional satisfaction, while the second is rational satisfaction.
The foundation of many companies’ customer satisfaction rating systems is based on functional requirements. Did the product arrive intact? Did it arrive on time? Was it what you expected?
This is helpful information, and can determine rational satisfaction – but it doesn’t cover the emotional dimension. It doesn’t divulge customers’ emotional satisfaction.
Just because a customer is rationally satisfied doesn’t mean they are emotionally satisfied, and when it comes down to it emotional satisfaction is what will drive customers to engage and connect with your business in the future.
Emotional satisfaction may actually be the biggest indicator of customer loyalty.
Research Shows That Emotional Experience Matters Most
Other research backs this up. Customers who were satisfied with a product, but weren’t particularly impressed by the purchase experience, don’t behave that differently from dissatisfied customers. For example, a customer study from an international credit card provider found that:
_ Emotionally satisfied customers spent $251 per month on average and used their cards an average of 3.1 times per month.
_ Rationally satisfied cardholders spent just $136 per month on average and used their cards an average of 2.5 times per month during the same period.
_ Dissatisfied customers also spent $136 per month on average and used their cards an average of 2.2 times per month during the same period.
Customers who were satisfied with the product and had an emotionally satisfying purchase experience are more likely to buy more, spend more, and return more often to the business. Here are two further examples that support this:
· A case study from a U.S. retail bank discovered that emotionally satisfied customers ended their relationships with the bank 37% less often than rationally satisfied customers.
· A study at Loreal found a link between sales reps’ emotional intelligence and customer purchase habits as well. When sales employees were hired for their emotional intelligence, they sold over $91,000 more per year than employees hired without considering that criterion.
Putting Emotional Intelligence into Practice
The most important question you can ask when trying to improve your organization’s customer satisfaction ratings is why?
_ Why aren’t customers having an emotionally positive experience with your company?
_ Why is your company working hard to improve customer experience?
_ Why isn’t the customer connecting with your company?
_ Why should customers care?
Dig into customer feedback to answer these questions, and use them to improve the customer’s emotional experience throughout the buying journey – from purchase through post-purchase customer service.
All of this starts, of course, by gathering feedback in a customer-centric way, then making that insight available to your entire organization.