Drive Up Your Emotional Connection To Improve Sales

Feb. 8, 2018

While price affects what consumers buy, it isn't the sole decider. Successful office coffee service operators are the first to tell you this. Coffee is a commodity. If they get into a price war, they usually lose. However, what they sell instead is service. This is what Amazon, office supply stores and other retailers can't offer. Service is what causes customers to switch providers and what every operator strives to market to potential customers, whether selling coffee service or micro markets. Besides the obvious, such as delivering the right product within the agreed upon timeframe, what does good service look like? First off, it doesn't look like a clearance tag. But secondly, I would argue that it creates an emotional connection for the customer.  

Customers buy with their imagination 

I was reading about price, service and loyalty from a service consulting business, Stella Services, and the emotional aspect really resonated with me. The article covered the three emotional ways customers make decisions about a purchase: imagining themselves using it, feeling special to the provider and relating to the company's values.  

The process is no different when selling service. The decision maker decides what they need and goes looking for a provider. Imagine this decision maker is then confronted with several options, all roughly the same price. How does the decision proceed? It's all about visuals. Can the person picture themselves or their co-workers using the service offered? Does it look exciting, pleasing and well maintained? This is where a good website and expensive-looking proposal with well-taken pictures comes in. Social media also plays a role since this will show your solutions in action and is a go-to place for the new generation of Millennial decision makers.  

They want you to care 

Feeling special can also be considered having personalized service. I have heard of operators doing this by sending the decision maker's favorite type of soda every few months (especially if it doesn't sell in the vending machine). Others text the decision maker from a trade show with a picture of a new product that fits exactly with what they wanted. Before the decision maker is a customer, this might mean including testimonials that showcase personalized attention. Afterward, it is all about continuing to strengthen that emotional connection. That is good service.  

Aligning with values 

We all want to be part of something good. The most successful retail companies are able to create a feeling of community. This might not be possible in vending, micro markets and OCS, but showcasing public works, volunteer efforts, employee recognition, etc. certainly is possible. Social media is an easy place to do this. It is a free platform where decision makers can see that an operation is a company with a deeper meaning -- a commitment to more than making money. That feeds into the idea of good service. And in the end, it is service that sets the industry apart and will ultimate keep us in business.