Example 1 – I am a loyalist of X brand. Given this, I would still not hesitate to purchase a product from another e-commerce website or a shop down the street if I get a product at a discounted price over what has to offer.
Example 2 – I don’t care about the difference of a few dollars but I will continue buying from X brand because I know if the product is defective, I’ll get a replacement immediately.
In times of strife, given Example 2 above, it is a brand like an Amazon or a Bendigo for instance that makes customers feel that it cares for their sentiments regarding a product or service rather than treat them as an email in their marketing list. The value of making a customer feel cared for has its dramatic benefits in translating your Net Promoter Score for the better, and you will understand this as you read through.
These are times where customers are spoilt for choices, forcing brands to stay transparent. Else they can be shredded to nothingness in the internet world. As technology tightens the weave of its web around us, the ease of comparing product details and brands at just the click of a button is influencing customer purchase decisions dramatically.
A customer may walk down two blocks every other day to restock his/her daily need groceries, but for every transaction on the web, a sense of distrust can make the same customer shy away and look at a multitude of options before making a purchase – even if it is for something as simple as birthday party supplies.
In a scenario such as this, there are a few companies that have risen above the norm to earn their customers’ loyalty by making them feel cared for. Take for instance Bendigo Bank. At a time when several major banks shut down operations in suburbs and areas far flung from cities, Bendigo opened up community banks that are owned and operated by locals. Profits are returned to the branch’s pool which is used to build infrastructure or help the community better its living conditions. And when I say pooled back, I am talking about $200 million upwards (source). The trust and respect that Bendigo showed in its customers in these rural and suburban areas created genuine connections and strengthened customer affinity. The brand’s willingness to help these people in a time of distress when they had to travel miles on end to reach a bank has only helped improve Bendigo’s credibility, earning it fierce loyalty by just showing it cared for the people here.
Taking it a step further, HostPlus has been actively interacting with customers encouraging them to contact their frontline staff to discuss specifics of their problems. Irrespective of a templatised message and a call to action to contact the call centre, this consistently small gesture has bred HostPlus’ credibility considerably, making a customer feel heard, and hence, cared for.
In an industry facing much customer apathy, HBF Health has carved out a niche fondness among customers. The nearly 80-year-old health insurance fund began digitising its customer experience framework in 2016 after it realised it was facing a slowdown in customer acquisition and retention (source). The company has since deployed automation tools that help it identify a customer standing at a critical juncture of their CX relationship and trigger tailored communication to provide the customer with a more personalised customer experience.
If communication is the key to develop an emotion of feeling cared for in customers, then Apia’s latest partnership is commendable. Apia’s customer value proposition has been its insurance services towards people 50 years and above. In August 2018, Apia partnered with an elderly care organisation to educate the elderly better about their financial securities that enables them to stay longer in their houses. Besides, Apia provides other benefits such as a hire car for free for members to use following an accident for a specific time period. These are simple benefits that translate into an emotion of feeling cared for for Apia’s senior citizen customers.
In its Customer Recommendation and Loyalty Study 2018, Engaged Strategy conducted an in-depth study of various factors that drove a brand’s popularity. Among the various intangible CX dimensions was the emotion of customers feeling ‘cared for’ by a brand. An analysis of 7500+ customer responses across five B2C sectors found that there was a 46-56 NPS point chasm (depending on the sector) between customers who felt cared for and those who did not. This is massive considering this is a single emotion and the Net Promoter Score is measured on a 200-point scale. The B2B results tend to be similar to the B2C scoring.
Engaged Strategy’s analysis of five important sectors in Australia – Banking, Health Insurance, Property Insurance, Motor Insurance and Superannuation – identified these four companies that I have discussed in this article for setting the perfect example of making customers feel cared for.
Take a step back and look at what these brands did. Nothing fancy. All they did was the right things that made their customers feel heard and important. The empathy that these brands show creates a bond with their customers that leads to a traditional form of loyalty. Customers who feel cared for may stay longer with the brand and also act as word of mouth referrals that increases a brand’s profitability and market presence. After all, every interaction has the potential to make a customer feel cared for while reinforcing the brand’s sincerity in providing the best service.
What changes will you make to your processes, people and training to ensure that your customers consistently feel ‘cared for’?
To know more about Engaged Strategy’s Intelligent Industry Analytics, click here.
And if you would like to know more about the core CX values that make a brand click, you might enjoy reading a similar article When customers feel valued, half your battle is won.