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Make an Emotional Connection

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The interpersonal skills of employees can make or break the customer experience. Even when a shopper is having a problem, those who are treated well and respected tend to come away with a better overall feeling about a brand.

A new study by workforce development firm AchieveGlobal drives that point home, finding that an emotional connection developed through customer interaction is at the heart of effective customer service. The findings suggest that one in three global respondents preferred being treated well over having their issues immediately resolved.

“Understanding that emotion -- the human connection -- is at the heart of the customer experience is key to building customer loyalty and advocacy in today’s socially connected and ever-evolving world,” said Sharon Daniels, CEO of AchieveGlobal. “While slashed prices and special promotions may get consumers in the door, an inability to connect on an emotional and human level while delivering service will hamper any business’s customer engagement efforts.”

The study, “Why Your Customers Stay or Stray: Insight from Global Customer Experience Research,” finds that the behaviors most irritating to customers stem from detached emotional awareness and connection. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents noted that being rude, short, nasty, unhelpful and impatient was the greatest customer service mistake that they have experienced. Using a canned script in dealing with issues (17 percent) and saying “no” or “I don’t know” (16 percent) also ranked among the top customer experience failures.

A negative customer experience not only threatens the sale at hand, but also the brand’s reputation. Nearly 40 percent of respondents worldwide admitted to posting a negative review online after a poor customer experience. And, with so many retail and brand options available, customers are also quick to defect once they have been wronged; half of respondents indicated they would try out a competitor after just one bad experience.