If you’re only thinking about customer satisfaction, you’re missing the (emotional) point

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Every time I see a customer satisfaction survey in my inbox from my bank, The Royal Bank of Canada, I shudder a little. Mostly because I immediately remember the #bankrage from the most recent undesirable experience in the bank, online or on the phone. If you’ve ever tried to complete the RBC survey, you can attest to the fact that even giving feedback is actually quite painful.

Sidenote: Having said that, I might actually complete a customer service survey about how poor the customer service survey process is.

It is important for an organization to set strategic goals and metrics to improve its operational processes and customer satisfaction but, in fact, research gathered from brokerage and investment firms demonstrate that it is more valuable to set strategic goals and metrics to improve its customer emotional satisfaction. 

The customer experience is a critical component to developing an emotional connection. This experience begins with the brand communication, often the initial impression that establishes a promise about the experience that your customers will have with your product or service and ultimately, with the brand. More importantly, it also guides the perception about value and pricing.

One of the most effective ways to form this emotional connection and communicate that promise is through a brand narrative that is supported by a consistent message and experience across all of the brand’s platforms i.e. the website, social media, traditional media and even real-time experiences.

The brand promise across these touchpoints is critical to forming emotional connections. The payoff for developing emotional connections is that it creates an important competitive differentiator that can reduce price sensitivity, increase the level of brand engagement and reduce the rate of customer attrition.

Some brands wear their hearts on their sleeves. #punsonpuns

In other words, if you say you care about your customers you’ve got to walk the talk. If you connect with them emotionally, they will spend more with you and be more loyal to your brand. If you don't walk the talk, your communication will seem inauthentic and your customers will find somewhere else to spend their time and money.

There is no doubt that you want your customers to be satisfied with your offering but no matter how high your customer satisfaction rating is, if people don’t really like your brand and another competitive offering is available with both high satisfaction and emotional connection ratings, you will lose them.

Those brands that have a strategic marketing communication plan that builds and maintains the emotional brand connection will be the ones that stand the best chance of influencing behavior that increases the lifetime value of their customers. 

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I'm a strategic marketing communication consultant who works with premium brands to tell compelling brand stories, guide perception, drive engagement and build loyalty to win hearts and wallets. Find out more about me at, follow me on Twitter @royanndean and Linkedin.

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