I recently walked into a client meeting, without an agenda. Now as an agency person, every meeting typically follows a strict process. We document our weekly activities, report on metrics, outline upcoming campaigns, and track against our success metrics. But the freedom to just walk into a room, look your client in the eye, and just chat? That rarely happens. But it should.
For the next hour and a half, my team and the client team, caught up on both personal and work issues. We talked about summer with our kids, my upcoming foodie birthday plans to get #40bitesonmy40th, we chatted about a partner party they hosted in a whirlwind Vegas trip, and naturally we moved into brainstorming about upcoming initiatives for the company. Off the cuff, we talked through ideas, narrowed down options, and came up with a plan. It was collaborative, invigorating, and overall, it helped us all feel like we are in this journey together.
Too wishy-washy? It may feel like that. However, the fact is for both our clients, and their customers, that emotional connection is what makes the relationship so strong. It is why you stick around with each other through bumps along the way, instead of cutting ties at the first sign of trouble.
According to Harvard Business Review, the research 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 – tapping into their fundamental motivations and fulfilling their deep, often unspoken emotional needs.” So what does that mean?
There are several emotional motivators that results in that feeling of connection. These motivators not only are important for client satisfaction, customer success, but also for employee retention. They offer a sense of belonging, purpose, and security. It makes one feel valued.
Some of the motivators include:
- Projecting a unique social identity that allows you to stand out from the crowd
- Understanding the future vision; having a strong, positive, mental picture of where you are heading
- Freedom to innovate and act independently without restrictions
- Feeling the thrill or excitement for what is ahead; being able to innovate
- Protecting the environment; feeling like we are all in this together and taking proactive steps to protect what you have
A full list of these emotional motivators can be found here.
In the end, if you are able to make these connections with your clients, customers, employees or other stakeholders, it is even more important than having a highly satisfied customer. Why?
The emotional investment is deeper than customer or employee satisfaction. In return for the investment in connecting, these stakeholders will spend more time with you in-person, worry less about the cost of your services, listen and collaborate with you, seek your recommendations, and will think about you more often resulting in more recommendations for your services
The time you spend with them will be well worth it — for everyone in the relationship. It’s a win-win.