3 tips to create an engaging customer experience

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Though it may seem somewhat contradictory, the more technologically savvy buyers become (and the less time they spend visiting stores or talking to services providers on the phone) the more they want a personal, emotionally gratifying experience with businesses.

This puts the onus on entrepreneurs to find ways to not only appeal to their customers’ desire for quality products or services, but also appeal to their hearts.

An article written by consumer intelligence experts Alan Zorfass and Daniel Leemon for Harvard Business Review states, “Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.”

So what does that mean for today’s entrepreneurs? This involves that instead of just generating transactions, your business must make memorable interactions. To gain a competitive edge and win customer loyalty, you must make an emotional connection with buyers.

Throughout the buyer’s journey, your business has opportunities to emotionally engage with your prospects and customers. To succeed at it, you must be cognizant of those occasions to shine and guide your team in what they can do to make the most of those opportunities.

Listen—Really listen: Take the time to fully understand what your prospects and customers need. Whether they’re inquiring about how your services can solve their problems, have a question about their invoice, or don't understand a product feature, give them your full attention. And repeat their need, question or issue back to them to show that you've been tuned in.

Humanize your brand: Your marketing and branding efforts offer many channels for demonstrating that there are people—real people—behind your logo. When you make your website content, blog posts, and social media posts conversational rather than stiff and impersonal, people will find your brand more human and relatable. Also, consider supporting a (non-controversial) cause that people care about. With fall on the horizon there are many walks and events that support such causes as diabetes or cancer. Hosting a coat drive for kids in need, donating a portion of your proceeds to a shelter or participating in some other initiative to show your involvement in the community can create goodwill for your business.

Embrace the power of storytelling: Consider creating case studies and success stories of how your products and services have made a difference in your customers’ lives. Video testimonials can be particularly effective as they show real people expressing their experience with your company.

And don’t forget about your business’s behind-the-scenes stories. Consider crafting write-ups, photos, and videos of your team members. Besides their on-the-job expertise, perhaps they have a fascinating hobby or community involvement that would resonate with your audience.

Get creative—and share your stories on your website, in your blog, in email marketing blasts, and on social media.