Emotional Connection is the Key to Customer Engagement

Digital services can be detrimental to personal connections. Learn why it’s important to make emotional connections and increase customer engagement.


In the drive for organic growth chances are your bank or credit union is evaluating every aspect of the customer service experience. This can include your branding, branches, call center, communications, products, promotions, online experience and much more.

This is certainly a time consuming and worthwhile venture. However, I was struck by a comment in a Harvard Business Review article stating, “overall customer satisfaction is often already high, and seldom a competitive differentiator.”

“Emotionally connected customers buy more of your products and services,  visit you more often, exhibit less price sensitivity, pay more attention to your communications, follow your advice, and recommend you more.” — HBR.org

Is Customer Service the Same as Customer Engagement?

I don’t know about you, but I expect a high level of service and when I get it, I appreciate it. But really – it’s no big deal. In fact, I bet you pride yourself on delivering outstanding service.

However, in a transactional business like banking we often focus on being efficient, friendly, professional and responsive. I ask for a loan; you give me a loan. How about a credit card or checking account? No problem. The challenge is, we tend to focus more on the product and process rather than on the customer or member.

Get Staff to Engage Customers and Use CRM Software, High Definition Banking, Barbara SanfilippoSo here’s a key question. Do you really know your customer or member’s emotive drivers? What are they trying to accomplish in their life? Why do they want your credit card or loan?

I can assure you they don’t want a product. You think someone really wants to borrow or go into debt? Of course not. They want to achieve a sense of security, buy that new home or plan for the future.

Our job is to engage and make an emotional connection. Always ask, “What don’t I know or understand about what is most important to my customer or member?”

Emotional Motivators Build Strong Customer Relationships

The HBR.org article lists ten significant High Impact Motivators that affect customer value. On that list I was delighted to see the following four “emotional motivators” that I believe your frontline staff can definitely impact:

Have confidence in the future Perceive the future as better than the past; have a positive mental picture of what’s to come
Enjoy a sense of well-being Feel that life measures up to expectations and that balance has been achieved; seek a stress-free state without conflicts or threats
Feel a sense of freedom Act independently, without obligations or restrictions
Feel secure Believe that what they have today will be there tomorrow; pursue goals and dreams without worry
Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, Daniel Leemony

Every day you have an opportunity to help a customer or member improve their financial well-being. You help them save for the future, improve their credit score, invest wisely, adopt sound money management skills and achieve peace of mind.

All of these impact the four key emotional motivators: confidence, a sense of well-being, freedom and security.

Emotional Connection Impacts the Customer Experience


If you are serious about creating a differentiated customer experience stop focusing on products and start engaging, educating and connecting. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How skilled, confident and proactive are our people in uncovering goals and dreams?
  2. Is it time to upgrade our training and process to focus on building deeper relationships rather than selling a product-of-the-month?
  3. How can we elevate the role of our customer contact staff and managers to be viewed as professional relationship managers and financial partners?

Let me assure you, emotional connection is the key to organic growth and loyalty. If you want to be relevant in the lives of your customers and members you must move beyond a transactional experience.

In fact, during a recent telecoaching call with a group of Financial Service Representatives, one gal shared how a member commented, “No one has ever asked me such important questions or demonstrated such a concern for my welfare!”

Imagine your staff is now making powerful emotional connections with customers or members. The conversations would be empowering and transformative. As a result, the opportunities for future business, loyalty and referrals are endless.

What are you waiting for? Act now – focus on genuine connection versus transactions!

Thanks for reading,
Barbara Sanfilippo

Take Action

I am happy to answer any questions on capitalizing on emotional drivers for maximized customer engagement. Call me at (858) 674-5500, ext 101 or use the Contact Us form.

We are interested in your feedback. www.HighDefinitionBanking.comYour Thoughts?

I’d love your feedback! Have you had a positive or negative experience with customer engagement based on emotional connection I would love to hear about it an possibly use it as an example for an upcoming keynote presentation. Please comment below!