How to positively influence your customer’s behavior

Published June 30, 2021

When it comes to customer retention your goal should be not just to retain loyal customers, but to generate emotional loyalty for your brand and increase the number of customers who don’t just act, or feel loyal, but are loyal.

Remember, it’s not just the low prices, rewards program or ease of access that keeps loyal customers coming back. It’s the positive experiences they associate with the brand and its reputation for providing a humble cup of coffee to anyone in need. 

Emotional Loyalty - Making that human connection

Emotional loyalty is just one type of customer loyalty that brands can build. But it can be hard to measure and even harder to generate, and you shouldn’t overlook its importance. Emotional loyalty is far and away the most effective type of customer loyalty because it connects with your customers and gets to the heart of how they feel about your brand, rather than how they act based on other factors—which is what behavioral and rational loyalty do—with their routine and logical aspects. 

Here are some ways to generate more emotional customer loyalty:

  • Anticipate customers’ wants and needs. Give product or service suggestions to your customers before they know they need or want them.
  • Personalize the customer experience. Make your customers feel special with things like attentive customer service and personalized ads.
  • Give them a nice surprise. Your customers will appreciate a free gift or special offer, especially if it’s unexpected.

It may be easier to understand the distinction between different types of loyalty programs from a customer’s perspective, but brands might have a hard time distinguishing why their customers are loyal. I know why I’m emotionally loyal to Dunkin’ Donuts, but how would Dunkin’ Donuts figure out the reason behind my loyalty? There’s no way to know for sure, but a few key metrics can provide insight. 

Emotional Loyalty Metrics

In order to measure emotional loyalty, you have to differentiate how customers act vs. how they feel about your brand. There can be overlap—after all, customers are human and multiple factors influence the choices they make—but certain metrics can prove effective in gauging emotional loyalty. Consider the following: 

  • NPS (Net Promoter Score) – What are the results of customer surveys asking how likely they are to recommend your brand? 
  • Customer influence and advocacy – How many customers are influencing others by advocating for your brand and referring you to their friends? 
  • Customer sentiment – What are the emotions customers are feeling about your brand?
  • Brand affinity – Do your values sync? Whether or not customers believe your brand aligns with their personal values is important. 

Positive experiences turn into positive associations and if customers associate you with emotionally positive experiences, they’re more likely to become emotionally loyal. So, how can you ensure that your customers are experiencing your brand in a positive way? Here are a few suggestions. 

Ways to Increase Emotional Loyalty

Show them you care about the world. Regardless of the type of loyalty you foster, your customers need to see the value in your brand. And while convenience and delight are important, more and more it’s about demonstrating (and meaning it) that you care about society, the environment and helping those in need. Especially for millennials and Gen Zers, this can often be priority number one.  

Give them ease and convenience in every channel. Yes, the word omnichannel is everywhere but for good reason. Digital-first has created shopping experiences that start in one channel and end in another often with touches in other channels in between. And today’s consumer has little tolerance for interruptions in their transactions. When you put time and energy into making sure they have a seamless experience you’ll increase the chances of making your customers happy.   

Create experiences, not just transactions. For years younger generations have been powering a movement towards appreciating experiences over things. Going to a live concert rather than listening to a favorite song on the radio, traveling to a destination rather than seeing it in a movie or taking a class to learn a new skill are where many of your customers find their inspiration. According to, there are seven reasons why having an experience is more important to consumers than buying things and one of them is “experience defines your purpose and passions.” That’s why brands are branching out and adding innovative and exciting activities their customers can do during their shopping experience.   

Run an emotional marketing campaign. Tug at your customers’ heartstrings a little bit and they might start to feel an emotional connection or affinity with your brand. 

There are many ways to emotionally connect

Pleasing your customers isn’t anything new to you, but really emotionally connecting with them might be—and it presents a tremendous opportunity to increase loyalty. The great news is that the suggestions in this article are just a starting point, there are many, many ways to please and connect with your customers so that they have that emotional loyalty to your brand that keeps them coming back. 

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