Are You Building an Emotional Connection with Your LBM Customers?

By Jack Leary


Customer engagement and omni-channel marketing have been the buzz in the consumer marketing world for a number of years now. But many LBM marketers have been slow to get on board, engaging their contractor customers in new ways.

Most LBM dealers have built good relationships with their best customers, and you may think you know your customer, but how much do you really know? Not all customers have the same needs, wants, and behaviors. Customer expectations and market conditions make it more important than ever to form bonds that enable lasting relationships.

When I think about building an emotional connection, I am not talking about customer satisfaction, although customers need to be satisfied in order to have a positive emotional connection with your business. Customers who are emotionally connected are your fans and advocates for the business. They are individuals who are so passionate about your business, products, or services that they promote them solely for the sake of helping others, usually without any type of incentive. Think of it as free advertising!

Part of connecting with the customer at an emotional level requires listening to them and staying on top of upcoming needs and wants. This means you have to put the customers first. The value is not what we in the business say, but what our fans say about us. Studies have shown that customers who are emotionally connected buy more, are more loyal to the business, and have a higher lifetime value.

Some things to consider:
•    Are your customers fans or advocates for the business?
•    Do you have a customer engagement strategy? If you do, great, how’s it going?
•    Are you executing against the strategy?
•    Is your marketing integrated across all channels?
•    Which touch points will be the most effective in engaging with your customers?
•    How do you connect with customers?  
•    When you do, are you relevant to them?
•    When your customers talk, are you listening?
•    Are you able to measure levels of engagement?
•    Do you have a feedback loop?
•    Are you able to humanize the business by participating in conversations with customers?

Think about an emotionally engaged customer as someone who not only shops at your LBM business, but time and time again they show up with their wallet. They spend as much money with you as they possibly can. They leave your business feeling great about the experience and the money they have just spent. More importantly, they value your business and are willing to do it again and again, while recommending your business to others!

Winning customers’ hearts and minds is only half the battle though. Once your business has connected with a customer, it needs to devote time and attention to keeping the emotional bond between itself and the customer alive. Building an emotional connection requires you to put customers first, regardless of the channel they interact with.

By placing customers at the core, you have a better opportunity to build an emotional connection with your business and their wallet! If you don’t have an engagement strategy, isn’t it time to develop one?

This article was written by Jack Leary, sr. vice president and partner at Impact 180 Consulting Group. Feel free to contact Jack at leary.jack@impact180group.com.