You can buy and roast the best coffees around but if you aren’t working on creating an ‘emotional connection’ with your customers you’re missing an opportunity to gain a sustainable advantage. Research tells us customers who are emotionally connected to a brand or business are much more valuable, in terms of revenue and profitability, than customers who are just very satisfied with your service or offering. So how can we as coffee entrepreneurs create better emotional connections with our customers?
When we try and get to the bottom of what an emotional connection with customers really means, things get a little fuzzy. We come across ideas like “making it personal” and “really listening to your customer”, or even, … “creating a history of trust.”
One of the better explanations is that an emotional connection is created when your customers are left with the impression that you really “get” them.
Starbucks were early adopters of this way of thinking. In the 90’s they developed a strategy around ‘The Third Place”. The third place was somewhere between work and home, where their customers could relax and hang out with friends, listen to music, surf the web and drink great coffee. By focusing intensely on their customers’ experience, this strategy allowed them to build “coffee communities” a-block-at-a-time, that ultimately spread across the world.
Customers appreciate that you really “get’ them when you identify their needs beyond the obvious (the menu, free-wifi, ambience etc.). For example, coffee shops that provide “pooch parking” complete with water bowl, address a simple yet important need for dog walkers. The same could be said for coffee shops that provide cyclists with a safe space to park a bicycle. An enterprising car-guard at a local surf spot in Cape Town noticed that his “customers” had nowhere to put their car keys when they went surfing. By offering a safety deposit box for keys, he soon became indispensable to the local surf crowd.
Tuning in to your customers needs will help you to identify opportunities for making their experience special and unique.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Emotionally connected customers buy more of your products and services, visit you more often, exhibit less price sensitivity, pay more attention to your communications, follow your advice, and recommend you more.”
Making an emotional connection with your customers makes good business sense.
As it is December and the season for relating, we wish you happy relations with your family, friends and customers.
pic: the creative exchange