Global companies seeking ways to provide a differentiated customer experience should focus on the power of emotion, according to a new study from AchieveGlobal, a global workforce development firm. The study shows the emotional aspect of customer service is most critical, as one in three respondents preferred being treated well over having their issues resolved immediately.

"Understanding that emotion — the human connection — is at the heart of the customer experience is key to building customer loyalty and advocacy in today's socially-connected and ever-evolving world," said Sharon Daniels, CEO of AchieveGlobal. "While slashed prices and special promotions may get consumers in the door, an inability to connect on an emotional and human level while delivering service will hamper any business' customer engagement efforts."

The study, "Why Your Customers Stay or Stray: Insight From Global Customer Experience Research," further reveals that the behaviors most irritating to customers stem from detached emotional awareness and connection. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents noted that being rude, short, unhelpful and impatient was the greatest customer service mistake they have experienced. Using a canned script in dealing with issues (17 percent) and saying "no" or "I don't know" (16 percent) also ranked amongst the top customer experience failures.

Also, given the rising power of social media as a brand advocacy tool, nearly 40 percent of respondents worldwide admitted to posting a negative review online after a poor customer experience. With so many brand options available, customers are also quick to defect once they have had a poor experience, with half of respondents noting that they would try out a competitor after one bad experience and 93 percent defecting after three or fewer poor customer service experiences.

"No matter where you are in the world, a positive customer experience is marked by respect, simplicity, solutions and responsibilities," Daniels added. "Delivering on these simple but critical expectations should be central to any company's business strategy. Consumers are emotional beings, and training customer-facing employees to recognize emotions and respond in a concerned, effective and professional manner is essential to owning the customer experience."

Read more about customer service/experience initiatives.

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