No, there is no typo in this blog post title. Emotion in business was the key theme at the Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit 2012 in London, one of the must-attend events for CRM professionals. Scribe was a co-sponsor of the event with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In case you are not familiar with the conference, the Gartner Customer Strategies and Technologies Summit helps both those new-to-CRM and CRM-veterans explore popular topics such as CRM strategy development, organizational collaboration and customer metrics, along with dedicated tracks for sales, marketing, customer service and customer experience.
The opening keynote started with a “feel or die” theme – all about getting “up close and personal” with customers, by Gartner’s VP and Fellow working in the Executive Leadership and Innovation Group, part of CIO Research Steve Prentice and ended with a “be brave” theme by Swedish trendspotter and futurologist Magnus Lindkvist, recognized, among other stellar achievements, as ”the best Swedish export since Abba and meatballs” on his website! In between were lots of sessions on various aspects of customer engagement, such as mastering your customer data, creating a single source of truth, gamification, and other strategies that foster the emotional connection that wins customer loyalty – those customers who keep buying from your company and are happy enough to evangelize that experience.
Now, as a psychology major, I love the topic of emotion, but emotion in business?! As you can imagine, there were skeptics. Is this the latest in psychotherapy? Or just good ol’ high tech hype? One person I spoke to said that it wouldn’t be long before businesses employ crowd-sourcing to create and control the emotions of their customers. Is that a really plausible scenario? Let’s face it: emotion in business is not really new. In sales, we often say that customers make logical decisions for emotional reasons. For a long time, this connection with the customer started with the marketing efforts, followed by the relationship the prospect built with their salesperson. A customer’s trust was earned through credibility at each step of the way. Today this emotional connection gets created early, often before a company realizes the sales process has begun. This connection extends beyond sales and marketing, and includes both your entire organization and, more importantly, the many communities the prospect belongs to.
So can a company successfully create an emotional connection with prospects who have heard from their peers that they are frustrated with your inferior service, feel like your company doesn’t know them, or discover that you are mistreating your own employees? Emotion, which really is about loyalty, is not new to business, and neither is deception. Prospects and customers quickly learn the truth. So today, as “word of mouth” becomes louder and spreads faster, companies are advised to invest in initiatives that focus on the customer and create customer value first and foremost. My parting message? Customer first or become obsolete!
Lynn Harrington, Director, EMEA