What is Customer Connection [+Tips to Build it in 2024]

Discover the top 11 techniques for building unshakable customer connections, featuring five compelling examples from leading brands.

Rohan CJayadeep Subhashis
July 9, 2024
11 min read

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What is customer connection? 

Customer connection refers to the emotional bond and sense of loyalty that a customer feels towards your brand or business. This connection goes beyond mere transactions and involves trust, mutual respect and a shared sense of value. In its simplest form, customer connection is the difference between a one-time purchase and a long-term relationship.  

Signs of a strong customer connection include repeat purchases and long-term engagements. Companies with robust customer connections often experience higher customer lifetime value, lower churn rates and more sustainable growth.   

Building strong customer connections requires a strategic approach encompassing online and offline interactions. Here’s how businesses can achieve this:  

Online:   

  • Personalized communication: Use data analytics to understand customer preferences and tailor communications accordingly. Personalized emails, targeted social media content and customized website experiences can make customers feel valued.   

  • Engagement on social media: Active engagement on social media platforms helps build a community around your brand. Responding to comments, sharing user-generated content and participating in conversations can strengthen your emotional bond with customers.    

  • Excellent customer support: Offering prompt and effective customer support through various customer service channels such as voice, chatbots, emails and social media can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.   

  • Content marketing: Providing valuable and relevant content through blogs, videos and newsletters helps establish trust and authority in your industry.  

  Offline:  

  • Face-to-face Interactions: Personal interactions, whether through customer service representatives or in-store experiences, are crucial for building trust and rapport.  

  • Events and workshops: Hosting events, workshops or seminars allows customers to engage with your brand personally, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.   

  • Personalized services: Offering customized services and experiences, such as tailored recommendations and exclusive offers, can make customers feel special and appreciated.   

  • Consistent brand experience: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all physical customer touchpoints, from product packaging to in-store displays, reinforces brand identity and trust.  

Why is customer connection important

  
Forming a solid customer connection can benefit your business in numerous ways. Let's see how. 


Boosts customer loyalty: Genuine customer connections hinge on personalized interactions. CX statistics suggest that 80% of customers are more inclined to buy from a brand that delivers personalized experiences. These customized interactions build customer loyalty and strong relationships significantly reducing customer churn.   


Strengthens your brand image: Customer connections built over consistent positive experiences enhance your reputation as a reliable brand. Reports indicate that 63% of U.S. consumers say they'd share more information with a company that offers a great experience. A strong customer connection fosters trust and credibility, reinforcing your brand image.   


Increases sales: Cultivating strong customer connections impacts your business's bottom line. Customers who feel connected to your brand are more likely to purchase your products again and engage in word-of-mouth promotion — the most effective form of marketing.   


Enhances customer lifetime value: Strong customer connections increase customer lifetime value (CLV). Loyal customers spend more over time and are more receptive to upselling and cross-selling opportunities, contributing to sustained revenue growth.   


Encourages valuable feedback: When customers feel connected to your brand, they are more likely to provide honest and constructive feedback. This feedback is invaluable for continuous improvement and innovation, allowing your business to better meet customer needs and expectations. 

Why is it difficult to build customer connections  

Creating genuine customer connections can be challenging despite its importance in today's business world. You may have great products and services but still struggle to connect with customers. Businesses may encounter several obstacles:  

Personalization challenges: Modern customers want to feel unique and understood. One-size-fits-all approaches or generic messages can make customers feel overlooked or undervalued.   

Upfront investment: Building real customer connections takes time and effort. Customer connections revolve around actively listening, understanding and responding to clients to demonstrate care. Achieving this entails training your contact center agents, incorporating personalization and consistently reminding customers of their importance and value. This investment in human resources and technology can be overwhelming but is crucial for long-term success.   

Changing customer requirements: Customers' tastes and preferences are ever-evolving. What's in vogue today may swiftly fall out of favor tomorrow. As a brand, you must ensure your products and services align with customers' evolving requirements.    

Digital overload: In the digital age, customers are bombarded with information from countless sources. Cutting through this noise to create meaningful customer connections requires innovative and targeted communication strategies, which businesses often fail to master.   

Consistency across channels: Ensuring a seamless and consistent experience across multiple customer touchpoints—online, offline and across various devices—can be challenging. Discrepancies in the customer experience can cause fragmentation and weaken the customer connection.  


11 innovative techniques to build and strengthen customer connection  

In this section, we’ll cover some of the best techniques for customer connection. These tips will help you overcome the challenges we covered in the last section.   

1. Respond to customer concerns quickly  

When engaging with potential customers, you enter hyperactive mode; it's equally important to give similar attention to existing customers through proactive customer service. Customers appreciate prompt responses. Quickly addressing their questions or issues shows that you value their time and concerns.   
For example, implementing an automated apology over IVR for customers in a queue beyond a certain threshold and offering a callback at the earliest opportunity reflects genuine care for your customers. Similarly, setting up autoresponders for customer emails and deploying customer service chatbots to handle queries outside of working hours portrays your company as a digital-first organization that prioritizes customers above all else.   

2. Anticipate customers' needs

Another effective way to create a strong customer connection is to anticipate their needs. Preemptively addressing customer requirements demonstrates that you pay attention to and care about their experiences.  

Stay on top of customer service trends to anticipate customer needs. Leverage advanced customer interaction analytics and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and foresee future needs. For example, if a customer buys a specific product regularly, remind them when to restock or suggest complementary items. Implement predictive modeling to personalize marketing efforts and enhance the overall customer journey.  

 
3. Nurture an engaged community  

Creating a sense of community around your brand can deepen customer connections. Imagine a recently onboarded customer facing an issue and seeking help in your social media group or online customer community, where existing users help resolve the problem. It's a highly satisfying experience for the new user to know they are part of an active community; for the brand, it showcases growth through customer empowerment. This involvement benefits the customer and strengthens the brand's relationship with its community.  

Host regular online events like Q&A sessions, live streams and webinars to grow and empower your community further. These activities strengthen the customer connection and foster a sense of belonging and engagement among your users. 
 

💡 Pro Tip 
 
To effectively nurture an engaged community, consider leveraging modern community forum software. Such platforms encourage active participation by recognizing and rewarding customer contributions through leaderboards, points and coveted badges. This gamification element motivates users to participate more actively and enhances their sense of accomplishment and loyalty to the brand. 
 

Community engage software powered by Sprinklr Service

 

 

📚 Read more:How to Start a Successful Brand Community (with Pro Tips) 

  
4. Keep it personal 

Personalization goes a long way in making customers feel valued. Tailoring your interactions based on individual preferences and behaviors can create a more engaging and satisfying customer experience. Offer personalized experiences at every touchpoint, from website visits to email communications to contact center interactions. 

💡 Pro Tip 

Use customer data to segment your customers and create detailed customer profiles. Implement personalized website greetings, product recommendations based on browsing history and targeted email marketing campaigns that address customers by name and offer products or services they are likely interested in. 

Also, consider sending handwritten thank-you notes to high-value customers or personalized birthday messages with special discounts. These small, thoughtful gestures can significantly enhance the customer connection

5. Showcase gratitude  

Expressing gratitude can significantly strengthen your customer connections. Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to remain loyal and advocate for your brand. Here’s how you can show gratitude:  

  • Thank-you notes: Send personalized thank-you notes to customers after significant purchases or milestones. A handwritten note can add a personal touch and make customers feel truly valued.   

  • Exclusive offers: Provide exclusive discounts or offers as a token of appreciation for their loyalty. This can be especially effective during holidays or on the customer’s birthday.  

  • Loyalty programs: Implement a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with points, discounts or special privileges. Regularly update and enhance the program to keep it engaging and rewarding.  

 

  • Public recognition: Acknowledge and celebrate your customers on public platforms, such as social media shout-outs or featuring them in your newsletters. This makes the recognized customers feel special and shows your broader customer base that you value their support.   

  • Surprise gifts: Occasionally send small, unexpected gifts to loyal customers. Even if modest, these gestures can significantly impact and reinforce the emotional connection. 

💡 Pro Tip 

Use your contact center CRM system to track customer milestones and preferences. Set up automated triggers to send personalized thank-you emails or special offers on customers' anniversaries with your brand or after they achieve certain milestones, such as a specific number of purchases. 
 

6. Always follow up 

Imagine a customer purchasing a premium laptop from an electronics store. Following up with the customer a few days after the purchase can look like this:  

  • Initial email: A personalized email from the store thanking the customer for their purchase and offering tips on how to get the most out of their new laptop. The email includes links to user guides, tutorials and relevant support resources.   

  • Phone call: A week after the purchase, a customer service representative from the store calls the customer. This call serves as an opportunity to address any queries or concerns the customer may have about their new laptop, ensuring a smooth and satisfactory experience. It also provides an opportunity to offer additional accessories or services that can enhance the product experience. 

  • Feedback survey: The store sends a follow-up email to the customer with a short customer survey to gather feedback on their purchase experience and product satisfaction. The store also offers an incentive for completing the survey, such as a discount on their next purchase.   

  • Ongoing engagement: The store maintains a continuous connection with the customer through personalized email marketing. These emails provide the customer with software updates, exclusive offers and tips for maintaining their laptop, keeping them informed and involved. This ongoing engagement demonstrates the store's commitment to the customer's satisfaction and helps foster a long-term relationship. 

7. Collect feedback (positively)  

Asking customers for feedback regularly shows that you value their opinions and are committed to improving. Gather insights through customer surveys, feedback forms or direct emails. However, it’s essential not only to collect feedback but also to act on it. Implement changes based on the feedback and inform customers about the improvements made from their suggestions. This demonstrates that their input has a real impact and encourages continued engagement. 

💡 Do you know 

Modern omnichannel survey software enables you to track customer feedback across conversations on 30+ digital and social channels — including voice — and improve customer service with AI-powered CSAT predictions. You can craft and customize surveys by selecting from various questions, such as CSAT, net promoter score, subjective feedback, drop-downs and more.   

Create Your No-Code Omnichannel Survey Now 

 
📂 The Ultimate Collection:50 Customer Survey Questions You Must Know About  

8. Prioritize convenience  

The shortest route to happier customers is keeping things hassle-free. For example, if you run an e-commerce business, it’s important to be customer-focused and make the end-to-end journey hassle-free, from product discovery to payment and support, from product discovery to refunds. To achieve that, put yourself in customers’ shoes and ask yourself questions -    

  • Is my platform intuitive enough for swift product discovery?   

  • Does it have all the payment methods preferred by modern customers added? 

  • How easy is the refund process for my customer to initiate a return and how effortless is it?  

These basic yet critical questions help you build customer experiences that truly matter and differentiate you from your competitors.  
 
In the same context, it’s essential to understand that modern customers don’t like waiting on hold to speak to support executives. Digital-first businesses leverage customer self-service options, empowering customers to resolve their issues independently. This is achieved by providing comprehensive knowledge bases equipped with product guides, tutorials and FAQs, accessible 24/7, ensuring customers can find solutions whenever needed.   

🤴 Speaking of convenience 

Omnichannel routing is another effective tool for ensuring customer convenience when they contact your contact center.  

Modern omnichannel routing software identifies the required skills for an incoming query and routes it to the most qualified agent. As a result, customers connect with the best agent for their problems and get their issues resolved efficiently.   

Moreover, omnichannel routing allows for seamless conversation continuity across different channels. This means that when customers switch from one contact center channel to another, the context of their previous interactions is fully transferred. This way, any agent who picks up the conversation can continue where it left off, eliminating the need for customers to repeat their issues. This seamless context transfer positively influences one of the key psychological factors — patience — critical and often compromised in legacy customer service setups. 

AI-powered omnichannel routing with Sprinklr Service

9. Build a customer-centric culture 

A customer-centric brand ensures that every team member prioritizes customer satisfaction. This approach goes beyond customer service and permeates all levels of the organization, from leadership to frontline employees.  

The 2023 Forrester State of Customer Obsession survey reveals that all customer-focused companies prioritize educating employees on their roles. This emphasizes the significance of training employees to prioritize customers and aligns the entire organization towards a common goal: exceptional customer experiences.   

💡 Pro Tip 

 Regularly celebrate customer-centric behaviors and successes within the organization. Recognize and reward employees who go above and beyond to enhance customer satisfaction.  


Additionally, consider bringing cross-functional teams that include members from different departments to collaborate on optimizing customer experience strategies. This fosters a deeper understanding of customer needs across the organization and encourages a holistic approach to solving customer issues. 

10. Offer value-added services 

Value-added services set you apart from competitors by offering more than just the core product or service. They show customers you care about their experience and are willing to go the extra mile. By providing additional benefits, value-added services enhance the customer experience journey, turning happier customers into loyal brand advocates.  

Here's how you can make the most of value-added services:  

Identify customer needs: The most effective value-added services cater to specific customer needs. Conduct research and gather customer intelligence to understand what your customers truly value. Their input is invaluable in shaping your value-added services.  

Tailor value-added services to segments: Don't offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Consider segmenting your customer base and developing value-added services programs that cater to the specific needs of each group. For example, a fast-food restaurant might offer express ordering lanes for busy professionals, while a clothing store might provide personal styling consultations for fashion-conscious customers. 

Link it to the customer journey: Consider where on the customer journey map value-added service would be most impactful. For instance, free technical support after purchase demonstrates value and builds trust. 

11. Create user-generated content (UGC) campaigns 

People trust the opinions and experiences of real people more than traditional advertising. UGC showcases your product or service through the lens of genuine customers, fostering trust and credibility. These campaigns also encourage active participation from your audience.   

Select a platform where your target audience is most active. This could be Instagram for photo contests or TikTok for short video challenges. UGC campaigns create a sense of community and keep your brand at the forefront of the customers' minds. 

💡 Pro Tip 

While incentives like discounts or prizes can entice participation, focus on creating a campaign that's inherently fun and engaging. The best UGC comes from genuine enthusiasm, not just a desire to win something. Consider offering a mix of incentivized and non-incentivized campaigns to keep things fresh. 

 
📔 From the Vault: How to Leverage User-generated Content to Drive Engagement & Conversions on Social Media 

Successful brand case studies of connecting with customers 

 
Check out some real-life examples of brands crushing it in the customer connection game and making waves in building solid online and in-person relationships.   

1. Amazon 
Amazon's personalization strategy, which includes curated recommendations based on each customer's purchase history, cart items, recently viewed products and similar customer purchases, is a game-changer. This approach not only enhances shopping convenience but also significantly influences purchase decisions. At AWS, 90% of what they develop is a direct response to customer feedback, a fact that piques our interest in the power of customer-driven development.

 
2. Figma 
Figma nurtures a vibrant community where loyal customers gather to seek advice, share guides and exchange experiences related to the platform. It offers valuable resources for users to enhance their design skills and maximize tool usage. In addition, Figma also enhances customer engagement and satisfaction by facilitating discussions and providing user-generated content.  

 3. Starbucks  
Starbucks personalizes customer experiences by customizing drinks and offering a tailored loyalty program. The brand also actively engages on social media, shares user-generated content and responds to comments promptly. These efforts strengthen customer relationships and loyalty. In fact, 61% percent of respondents to a survey reported learning about Starbucks coffee products from friends, family and colleagues, highlighting the influence of positive customer connections. 

 4. Airbnb  
Airbnb connects guests and hosts to create unique travel experiences. Hosts can showcase their properties directly on the platform, helping build a strong sense of community and belonging among customers. 

Airbnb enhances connections between guests and hosts by enabling direct interaction and property showcasing. According to an Airbnb survey, over half of hosts reported that hosting helped them stay more connected in an era marked by the rise of social media and increasing social isolation. The outcome? The platform has built a community of global travelers bonded by shared interests. 

5. Nike  
Nike's communication strategy, centered around storytelling and inspirational messaging, is a key factor in its success. The 'Just Do It' campaign, symbolizing perseverance and empowerment, is a testament to this. It not only inspires but also engages customers, building strong connections and fostering a sense of involvement.   

According to Statista, Nike was the world's most valuable apparel brand in 2023. By partnering with famous athletes, the brand resonates with customers personally and inspires them to push their limits. 

Today, building strong customer connections is crucial for sustained business success. However, many companies struggle with siloed operations and disparate tools, leading to inconsistent and fragmented customer experiences. Despite their best efforts, the gaps between teams and systems often result in customer dissatisfaction and lost opportunities.  

This is where Sprinklr Unified CXM comes in. By bringing your teams, tools and data together on one unified platform, Sprinklr’s Unified CXM platform enables seamless collaboration and provides the context necessary to orchestrate smooth customer journeys. With Sprinklr, you can ensure that every interaction is optimized, consistent and aligned with your brand values.  

Schedule a demo with our experts today and see how building strong customer connections can be effortless. You only need the right set of tools and a reliable partner like Sprinklr. 

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