What's Love Got to Do With It? Everything...
This is February. The month we traditionally give special people in our life a special token of our affection. You know the deal with #Hallmark-love, sentimental cards, sweet candies, red roses and even exotic expressions of romance that suggest a more intimate rendezvous.
These are the types of things that capture the attention of the person you adore. At least that is the intent, right? But what about the day after? And the day after that. And the day after that. Where is the passion the love, the obsession? Where is the unbridled exuberance of endearing and enduring love?
These questions got the team at //NKST thinking about this phenomena in relation to businesses and their customers. It’s our post-Valentine's Day look at the continuum of short-term obsession of the sale through long-term affinity with the customer. What we affectionately call “Hot! Hot! Hot!” to “Do I Even Know You?”
Hot! Hot! Hot!
In business, we’re all pretty familiar with the full-court press to make a sale. There can be a lot of pressure applied by the suitor. Sometimes it is welcomed. Sometimes enough is enough.
Our point is this, a lot of companies get crazy-excited with the potential of converting a prospect to a sale – score! So much so, that they are willing to do almost anything to make it happen.
As an example, think about wireless providers…there’s always a new deal to get us to sign-on as a new customer. The offer continues to sweeten. It’s better yet if we are actually switching from a competing wireless provider.
Eventually, we say, “Yes!”
At first, we are thrilled with our new relationship. The phones are updated, the monthly cost is cheaper and the customer service at on-boarding is amazing. Similar experiences can be found with automobiles, cable, and appliances, you name it – even furniture.
But like most things, in a few months we are asking ourselves, “where did the love go?”
Did it evaporate or dissolve? Did the feelings that were created, stoked and shared mean anything at all? Or is this simply the post-coital reality that we should get used to?
Do I Even Know You?
At some point, we finally wake up and realize our love is taken for granted.
Perhaps it’s when our coverage isn’t as great as we were told or when customer service isn’t as pleasant as the new business team. Maybe it’s when our promotional time period comes to an end and our rates start to increase. Or even worse, when our best friend is courted by the same provider and gets a better deal than we did!
That’s when we are left with the feeling of being unappreciated and undervalued.
In that moment, do we even know the company who expressed their love to us at the beginning of this souring relationship?
It doesn’t have to be like this…
Love for the Long-haul
Recently we read an article about the choice for businesses and brands to invest long term –
Marketing’s New Marathon: What is Brand Affinity?
While we agree with its initial premise to focus on missed opportunities found in long-term programs to promote #BrandAffinity, this appears to be a one-dimensional solution. One where the brand is longing for the love and admiration of their customers. To us, that’s only half a heart.
In any good relationship we’ve ever been in, affinity works best when it is a shared sentiment between one another. What’s missing in this equation is #CustomerAffinity. This is when the customer desires love and admiration from the brand. When a brand is focused on customer affinity, it’s amazing how much and how quickly it will be repaid with brand affinity. It’s the two-way street of love.
Customer affinity can be as customized as the organization would like. In terms of the wireless provider example, it could range between a random note of appreciation to a one-off reduction or free month of service or even an added or upgraded service for a defined amount of time. It’s truly up to each company how they would like to express their love for their long-term customers.
They are the mutual expressions of affection that say, "You complete me."
Hopefully, this is a helpful thought-starter for you and your team as you invest in your customers for the long-term and feel comfortable enough to show your love to the ones who have shown their commitment to you.
If you’re having trouble expressing yourself in this way, feel free to contact us, perhaps we should talk.
Next time, we’ll cover how to make a love connection between your business, your brand and your customer…the Affinity Love Triangle!