For outstanding brand success and customer loyalty, companies need to talk to consumers the way they crave--through 5 distinct customer love languages.

Staff Writer

Several years after Gary Chapman published The Five Love Languages, the book hit the New York Times best seller list and stayed there, highlighting how different people experience, express, and receive love. The original concept dealt with personal relationships, but customers have their own five love languages, too.

1. Feeling valued

People generally have a very basic fear of not being good enough and facing subsequent rejection and isolation. So when companies make buyers feel like they matter, like the business is looking out for them in some way, people often feel safe with and connected to that business.

“One of the best ways to nurture a strong emotional bond is to make people feel valued, and to drive feelings of status and reciprocity,” says Bram Hechtkopf, CEO of Kobie Marketing. “These types of perks instill a sense of gratitude and belonging in members beyond a single touchpoint–powerful emotions that resonate with customers…and keep them coming back. For brands, this means taking what your customers value the most and finding ways to give your most loyal members more of that special thing.”

2. Feeling heard

Feeling heard isn’t just about having someone listen to you. It’s about having that person internalize what you’ve said and take action on it, keeping their word to you.

Brennan Wilkie, SVP of Customer Experience Strategy with InMoment, puts it this way: “As in all relationships, the first step [in the consumer-business relationship] is to make sure the partners both agree on what’s been promised. Step two is keeping the promise…For brands, consistent keeping on that promise over time, just like in a loving partnership, generates emotions that build long-term trust and happiness with customers.”

3. Surprise and delight

People take pleasure in it when a partner does something unexpected or goes out of their way to keep the relationship fresh. The business-buyer relationship is no different in that customers want brands to break out of the box a bit.

“Since romance is a two-way street, marketers have to build [a] personal relationship with their audience via relevant, dynamic, targeted content in order to spark their interest…,” says Linda Vetter, VP of Marketing at Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “Tactics like these can bring a little more excitement to otherwise standard marketing campaigns…Further, if brands make this a strategy, rather than just a one-off campaign, they will most certainly be able to turn the consumer romance meter up a notch.”

4. Receiving discounts

Discounts help consumers feel like a brand is concerned about helping them stay financially secure and, therefore, living their best life. But according to Ed Kennedy, Senior Director of Commerce at Episerver, to work well, discounts have to be relevant to the buyer.

“The more personalized the offer,” Kennedy notes, “the stronger the connection customers feel to the brand. Brands can personalize their offers by browser and purchase history, as well as real-time behavioral triggers, by leveraging the power of machine learning technology.”

5. Feeling understood

In a personal relationship, feeling understood typically means that one person has a grasp of what the other needs, why they need it and where they are in the process of obtaining it. When a business can understand customers in the same way, buyers feel more satisfied because the companies are able to provide them with more targeted services and offers and the appropriate points.

“Understanding your customer’s love language starts with listening,” says Nancy Lim, Director of Marketing at CallRail. “Our customers leverage call tracking, recording and transcriptions to help them grasp when and where a customer decided to convert and exactly what led them there. If a customer calls a phone number displayed on an ad or SEO page, for example, call tracking allows marketers to look back at his or her path to picking up the phone, not to mention gather insights from the call itself. In this way, call tracking does more than track calls: It writes a narrative for the customer journey.”

Although it’s tempting to see the customer-business relationship as merely a matter of cold, hard transactions, it’s actually much more deep and rich than that. If shoppers and companies can tap into customer love languages and communicate well, both sides potentially can enjoy an experience filled with superior trust, loyalty and satisfaction.

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