- Customer Experience and Contact Centre Services
- Webhelp Payment Services
In part 5 of our blog serialisation of the latest Webhelp whitepaper “Emotion: Establishing emotional connections with customers: What brands need to know” John Leighton Head of Customer Service, easyJet, shares his view on why emotional connection is essential for brands.
Emotional connection is innately important to easyJet’s brand positioning and it’s come naturally. We’re starting to really push the fact that we’re a retailer, not an airline, and we recognise that as a retailer, we’re retailing products that are extremely emotional.
So, as we’ve evolved it’s happened, but our focus continues to strengthen; for instance, it’s a foundation for our relationship with Webhelp.
Measurement of emotional connection isn’t yet ‘on point’ in our industry. In fact, the way the customer service industry measures things – voice of the customer, customer satisfaction, customer effort, etc. – is actually quite linear. We’re doing some interesting work with Webhelp, powered by its business intelligence team, to understand when and how customers are coming in, why they’re calling, what the true behavioural outcomes are – rather than customer-stated outcomes. This will be important in helping us understand the monetary value of emotional connection.
Measuring the monetary impact of emotional connection is much easier for a subscription model when you know your customer base and can see customer reaction to things that you ‘tweak’ – be it service innovation or pricing, for example.
Our own understanding of this will be helped by easyJet’s launch of easyJet Holidays which will give us much greater insights into the links between personal motivators and what products our customers buy. As such, we’ll be able to anticipate what people want from travel and facilitate that need. The product positioning and the sell will be easier as it’s about offering things that will enhance what customers want – and what they’re doing.
There are challenges however. Organisational silos – and even the way companies do things – can get in the way. Despite the industry lamenting it for decades, ‘Service’ is generally still a cost centre, whereas ‘Sales’ is a profit centre.
If you apply that to the airline industry today, this poses challenges. Why is the customer flying? Do they want/need bags? Do they have a new baby? This insight is across marketing, sales, AND customer service…
In terms of the human skills required to build emotional connection, we know that authenticity is key, and we are working internally and with Webhelp on how to make our customer experiences authentic.
We also know that advisor longevity is a key contributor to emotionally connected customers, and Webhelp is a strong force to be reckoned with in this area. For instance, advisor tenure in Cape Town has led to the highest levels of customer satisfaction across the entire company (EasyJet estate).
To conclude, I would be remiss if I didn’t confirm that data is essential to build emotional connections with customers. It’s not just important to have it, but to actually use it purposefully to understand what’s important to customers.
The future is about micro-segmentation based on expert use of data. By understanding who customers are, what pushes their buttons, and what their personal motivations for travel are, and combining this understanding with ‘human’ customer experience, we will be able to create strong bonds with specific customers. For example, at weekends they’re a family customer, but during the week they’re a business customer. Their wants and needs – and expectations – throughout the entire customer journey need to be treated differently.
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