Not gonna lie, I love a stress-free purchase that takes one click. I’m an Amazon Prime devotee. Unfortunately, I can’t get everything I need (yet) on Amazon — especially when it comes to those pesky necessities like healthcare, loans, internet service, and insurance plans. These things tend to be stressful and complex purchases, often fraught with emotion. As a result, having at least one human-to-human conversation before purchasing things like this is very common.
In our recent research with Adobe, “Emotions Win: What Customer Expect in the Age of AI,” we dug into how well brands in five industries — healthcare, home services, finance, insurance, telco, and travel — are meeting consumers’ emotional needs. Some findings are surprising, like the fact that those earning higher salaries are more stressed about financial services purchases, while other findings confirm popular opinion, like the travel industry coming in last for meeting consumers’ emotional needs in person and over the phone.
Read on for more key industry-specific findings from our research, followed by actions that brands in considered purchase industries can take to improve their emotional quotient (EQ).
- A personal touch goes a long way, and in every case, in-person and phone interactions performed better than email and chat, often by up to 30 percent.
- Whether they’re taking out a mortgage, funding college or saving for retirement, 69 percent of consumers told Invoca that making a financial purchase is somewhat to extremely stressful.
- While consumers said their experiences with travel brands rank highest for efficiency, there is a tradeoff: they rank travel reps lowest for adaptability, even-temper and empathy.
- Telecommunications brands are falling short in consumers’ eyes when it comes to personalization — ranking lowest of all industries
- Consumers said insurance reps offer more support and personalization than those in other industries.
- Healthcare ranked lowest in adaptability, with a mere 17 percent of consumers saying reps demonstrated this trait. Prescriptive, indeed. On a positive note, they fulfill consumers’ emotional needs more often across all channels — in-person, over the phone, by email and chat — compared to other industries.
Based on this data, clearly there’s an opportunity for brands to do better when it comes to meeting consumers on their level. A few suggestions to consider for upping your EQ game:
1. Get as much info about an individual before connecting in-person or over the phone
There’s a variety of technologies available that provide phone representatives with some background about the caller before (and sometimes during) a conversation with a customer or prospect. With Invoca you can bring pertinent caller information right to an agents’ CRM dashboard to ensure they have the right information to personalize the conversation. For example, this could include which web page the caller was on before dialing, which indicates product interest and where they are in the purchase funnel. This type of information can also inform call routing logic, so that certain agents can be connected to high-intent shoppers.
2. Develop emotional intelligence training for reps
With emotional intelligence, it all starts with raising awareness of how we come across to others. And if you’re in a customer facing role — whether in person or over this phone — this can have a huge impact on business. A study by NewVoiceMedia estimates that U.S. businesses are losing $62 billion per year through poor customer service. While things like awareness of others, empathy, and self-management come more naturally to some, providing training to get reps on the same page with what’s expected of them — and how these behavior modifications can impact the bottom line — is incredibly important.
3. Acknowledge the intangible factors that go into purchase and brand loyalty
Marketers can get very focused on metrics tracking and performance tracking, sometimes overlooking the softer, more intangible factors that go into why people make buying decisions. To quote a recent Forbes piece, “It’s no longer just about what is objectively measurable; rather, a considerable part of customer loyalty now takes place on an emotional level. What makes a good product or service is simply a matter of customer perception.” Harvard Business Review also recently wrote about the topic, citing that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers. They buy from a brand more often, pay less attention to the price and recommend the brand to others. Having the whole marketing team acknowledge this (vs. just the branding and loyalty folks) is an important step in building an experience that connects with consumers in the right way, at the right time.
Want to learn more about EQ? Download our new report!