Customers appreciate the speed and convenience of digital transactions. But to earn their long-term loyalty, companies must build emotional affinity. Digitalist Magazine Editorial Director Jeff Woods spoke with SAP CMO Maggie Chan Jones about making those connections with customers in digital spaces.
Jeff Woods: Are human interactions still necessary to establish an emotional connection with the customer?
Maggie Chan Jones: Every touch point, whether in the store or on Instagram, is an opportunity to establish an emotional connection. What’s needed is an omnichannel approach that addresses all aspects of the customer experience, including face-to-face conversations and digital interactions. For example, the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, and World Tennis Association are engaging with fans in ways that feel familiar to anyone from their personal social channels.
Woods: What are some of the best examples of traditional brands that are transitioning that emotional connection to the digital world?
Jones: Not to toot my own horn, but I believe our One4 Project campaign is an example. SAP and Grammy Award–winning Imagine Dragons joined forces to support refugees. Proceeds from every iTunes download of the song “I Was Me” will benefit the UN Refugee Agency.
Our efforts show how to engage employees, stakeholders, and communities across multiple platforms. The campaign went viral in a matter of hours with the support of iTunes, the U.N. Refugee Agency, and Imagine Dragons. It’s amazing how one employee’s idea sparked such an incredible response!
Woods: Can luxury brands and products maintain the fidelity of their brand connections with digital technology?
Jones: The foundation of every customer experience is the relationship between the shopper and the sales associate. By accessing a customer database, an associate can see what customers purchase, what they like on social media, and what they tweet about the brand. In turn, customers receive the ultimate service, whether they shop in a store, online, or through a mobile app.
Burberry, known for its flawless customer experience, has a digital marketing approach that contributes to the strength of its brand. By catering to customer needs proactively, the retailer is strengthening that emotional connection.