PART I-MODULE 6

The Emotional Intelligent Entrepreneur  - 
Understanding the Client 

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Understand the Client: How Emotions Influence Decision-Making and Why Is it Important to Understand Emotions at the Base of Customer Behaviour

This module will highlight the importance of understanding emotions that stand at the base of costumer behaviour and how to meet their expectancies.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “making an emotional connection with customers is now more important than delivering customer satisfaction”

Behavioural economics has demonstrated how dependent we are on emotions when it comes to our decision-making process, even when we think we are using rational mechanisms of thought.

Entrepreneurs should therefore focus more on the
EMOTIONAL CONNECTION with the CLIENT


Clients can be described as emotionally connected when the company/product/service is aligned with their motivations and help them fulfill deep and most of the time unconscious desires 

“The advent of digital, especially mobile, has contributed to the fact that many goods and services are now considered commodities […]. All the possible providers look the same. They are delivering good products and delivering them well”

In a situation where the service provided or the product offered are not anymore a reason of differentiation from other providers, we should therefore not take anymore into consideration the cognitive system of decision (the rational mechanisms) of the client .

What is left are the emotions evoked in the client and the relationship built with them. 

There is a stronger and stronger need to address the emotions. Customer experience and emotional connection are the new connotative feature of competitiveness. 

People will pay a premium to those companies and providers that they believe having made them feel the way they wanted to feel. Positive emotions will be the differentiating feature in the decison-making process of the client.  

Understanding the emotions of the client and showing therefore emotional intelligence is a key factor for the success of an entrepreneur.

For instance, showing empathy can evoke positive feelings. Feeling understood, the potential client will be more keen to select that company over another.


Real life example

The flight company JetBlue launched a series of humorous videos – titled “Flight Etiquette” - in which they show empathy with the inconveniencies that clients can experience while at the airport or during the flight.

The potential client might identify with the situation represented by the videos, and in a situation of parity of price and offer, select the company that made him feel understood. 

More details HERE

Fostering emotional connection with the client and improving understanding of their feeling will allow the entrepreneur to:

1- Efficiently identify the needs of the client
The emotionally connected client will be keen to open up more and willing to share their experience.  

This will allow the entrepreneur to gain insights, better adapt the product/service and better meet the expectancies of the client. 

2- Start a process of fidelization of the client
What and how a client FEELS about an interaction with a company/entrepreneur has a huge impact on their loyalty to the company

3 - Rely on a word-of-mouth effect and consistently reduce the costs of new clients research

4 - Reduce price sensitivity of the client
price sensitivity being the degree to which the price of a product affects consumers' purchasing behaviors 

The Value of Emotional Connection

Increasing the emotional connection with the client can therefore result in significant financial gains. Emotionally connected clients are more than twice as valuable as satisfied customers.  

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How to understand the client, connect emotionally and meet their expectancies
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Obstacles and challenges

The most effective mean to maximize consumer value is to move beyond simple cunsomer satisfaction and try to connect with the client on an emotional level.

We have seen that building a positive relationship and evoking positive emotions in the client can be determinant in their decision-making process about which product to choose/ which company to select.

This require a comprehensive understanding of the wants and needs of the client. How to do it? 

In order to establish an emotional connection with the client, the entrepreneur can appeal to the emotional motivators.

Emotional motivators are defined as hidden desires and emotions that drive the behaviour of the client.

The process of selection of the right emotional motivator – that is to say the process of understanding the hidden wants and feelings of the client – goes through different stages.

Process of understanding the client and their needs  

1- Profile the client

2- Analyse customer interaction with the business

3- Conduct market research

4- Use existing client information 

1- Profile the client


Client profiling involves building a description of your customers, that includes their characteristics, location and behaviour. By segmenting (grouping) them based on their gender, age, where they live, where they work, their family size and how, why and what they spend money on, you can get an idea of how your products and services may best meet their needs.

Questions to consider when profiling your customers:
Where are your customers located? / What are their spending habits? What motivates them to buy? / Do they have a budget? / What is their average age, gender, occupation, interest and hobbies? / Have they used your products or services before? / How likely are they to refer your business to others? 

2- Analyse customer interaction with the business

Customer interactions or ‘touch points’ are any aspect of your business that customers may encounter or come in contact with. This may be as simple as the moment they step through the doors of your business, to which pages they visit on your website. Customer touch points are important as they help shape a customer’s impression and experience with your business.

Improving these touch points can help improve your clients’ experience and perception of your business. It may even be helpful putting yourself in their shoes and trialing being a customer of your business to gather ideas and identify gaps for improvement.

3- Conduct market research

You can use market research or the data collected on your existing customers to identify trends and patterns. These trends and patterns can help you understand what motivates customers to buy, and the best approach to take in your marketing activities. It can also be used to help build customer awareness of your products and services.

One of the best ways to understand your customers is to communicate with them. Ask for their feedback on your business and ways that you can improve your business products or services to better meet their needs.

4 – Use exisisting client information

You may already have information on your customers that can help you better understand them. This can include sales trends, survey or feedback data, or customer database information.
This information can be useful for identifying customer trends or insights (e.g. more sales during lunch hours, or an increase in sales of a particular item over the summer period). It can also help you in business planning or marketing activities.

Once relevant research has been conducted, the entrepreneur will be able to understand which emotional motivators drive the behaviour of the client and apply the relevant strategies.

In ‘The New Science of Customer Emotions’, the authors identified more than 300 emotional motivators. Here follows a selection of the 10 main motivators that regroup all the principal categories taken into consideration by the study and the corresponding strategy to apply. 

Identifying and measuring emotional motivators can result difficult as clients are not always aware of them
Customers often cannot tell which aspect of the Consumer Experience activated more powerfully their emotions.

Emotional connection is not uniform
Emotional motivators may vary according to the product/service and according to the stage of the customer in the customer journey (the path of sequential steps and interactions that a customer goes through with a company, product and/or service). 

Emotions are unpredictable
Emotions and emotional connection are not constant. Data and analyses have a very limited scope when it comes to predict what the client will do next, even though they are extremely useful to monitor the overall experience. 

“Emotions are difficult to measure (even if we are getting better at it) but also even if you can measure it, they are only accurate at that moment” 

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Assessment

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Funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union 

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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 2019 EIDE Project 
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