Emotional Bond> Customer Satisfaction

Gonca Sofuoğlu
gonca sofuoğlu

Gonca Sofuoğlu Temiz Müşteri Deneyimi Müdürü

We were always taught that there is a supply-demand balance behind successful businesses. However, the developing and changing world not only changed customer habits but also turned into a situation that requires companies to establish bonds with their customers through different strategies.

Product-based purchasing decisions of the past are now based on experience, which affects the economy differently. Efficiency, quality, and cost ratios, which used to be a criterion in course of purchasing, are now prioritized by almost all brands. Customers who used to proudly talk about brand loyalty can experience new brands without even realizing, and even truly approach another brand without knowing the reason for leaving the brand they are loyal to.

In an environment where productivity, quality, and cost criteria show similarity, the experience offered by brands gains importance in terms of competition. Whatever you call it either customer, users, visitors, or subscribers… now the decisions are made through their experience. The experience economy, which has become the most important topic of the last 15-20 years, is based on the idea that the brand offers higher added value to customers at every meeting point, establishes original bonds with them, and contributes to what they want to do in life.

In short, we have left behind the periods when agriculture and industrial economies were dominant, the product itself remains important, but purchasing decisions are focused on "experience" as our options have increased.

In today's conditions, each of our customers who benefit from our products and services; can reach information, officials, managers to share their positive/negative experience with each and every unit and at any time. As much as the increased number of dealer-service points; their fondness for sharing ideas on digital platforms, reaching out to units, and talking about their experiences also make a contribution to this close contact. Therefore, in terms of brands, institutions, companies, and individuals; not only physical relations but also customer approaches have completely changed together with the digital environment.

As I mentioned in my first sentence; in order to create the supply-demand balance, it used to be enough to produce products that fulfill the expectations of our target audience. If our target audience was expecting low cost, we used to take the steps we had set up in line with this goal and meet customer expectations. And we would be very successful with it. As the expectations were met, our customer would be a "satisfied customer".

Over time, the criteria that determine customer satisfaction have paved the way for a different competitive environment with the approaches of social media and rival brands. Customer satisfaction lagged behind customer experience. The world of customer expectations also changed. The target audience, who previously expected low cost, now decided that they would like to have a different experience at a low cost.

For Ford, which has an important role in the democratization of the automotive industry in terms of everyone having their own vehicle; it was surely not very difficult to meet this expectation of its customers and to offer them the experience. We have become a brand that evaluates customer experience in terms of price-performance, both globally and in our country.

However, we are not alone in the market and we have seen that the most important way to differentiate in a highly competitive industry is through supply-demand and price-performance and even more through emotional bonding.

From the dealer to social media management and from the call center to service; we have prioritized arranging each unit that contacts customers according to current conditions. Our units and mentality are not solely based on customer expectations. We have started creating the necessary infrastructure to transform it into a model that not only meets customer satisfaction but on top of that also takes steps towards forging a bond between customer and brand. We realized that our brand perception and value in the eyes of our customers led us to a much more robust and highly satisfying target with this transformation.

It is obvious that customer is the most important parameter to achieve our vision of becoming Turkey's most valuable and most preferred industrial company.

In this direction, we aimed to project the perfectionism we target in production and product development to our customer relations.

Of course, we have a long way ahead, but I would like to share a few examples that prove we are on the right track. Our dealers represent us in the field. The processes we determine for our customers in terms of providing them experience with certain standards are of course very important and a must-have. But emotional bond does not come into existence with processes or policies. Based on the topic of this article, I would like to share two examples where we can relate the value of forming an emotional bond and providing not only the product but also the experience to customers.

The first is a customer story by Dear Serdar Mındıkoğlu, our Tanoto dealer in Ankara, shared during one of our conversations. At the beginning of our conversation, Serdar mentioned that he knew this gentleman's company beforehand and he specifically liked his life vision and appreciated him in terms of behavior and attitude. So he followed him and met him. When our customer came to look for a vehicle for himself, the first vehicle was sold. Their friendship turned into a business relationship, and we can imagine how difficult this balance is. But thanks to their frank and sincere communication, our customer started to become interested in different models according to his different needs. This interest also resulted in sales. Whenever he needed a vehicle, the satisfaction and emotional bond that has been achieved happened to empower our customer to firstly think of our brand. He is currently in a position to be one of our considerable fleet customers with nearly 50 Ford vehicles.

Another example that started similarly and continued with a completely different interest is from our Şanlıurfa dealer. Our sales consultant Didem says that he was one of our daily customers who came to visit the showroom. Our customer had already decided that he does not want to strain his budget while looking at new models, so Didem started to convey second-hand options ... During the deep conversation, she learned that our customer is the manager of Turkey Educational Volunteers Foundation (TEGV). Dear Suna Kıraç, who we have lost recently, was one of the founders of TEGV, and I also would like to commemorate her with mercy. Let me pop in my advice for everyone to read the book “I Have Ideals Bigger Than My Life”.

After this pleasant conversation, our customer bought a second-hand vehicle that day and happened to become a Ford customer.

Each of our dealers takes an active role in their provinces to provide benefit to their environments as they are deeply ingrained with Koç Holding and Ford Otosan cultures and are eager to utilize every opportunity in terms of social responsibility. They evaluated with Didem whether they can cooperate with TEGV for the upcoming April 23rd (Children's Day) and after 3-months of joint work and also with the positive feedback of our dealer owners, they provided a basis for a celebration in accordance with the meaning and importance of children's day at the field of our dealer for children with disadvantaged conditions, who are trained under TEGV with the motto "Color the Ford of Your Dreams". The cooperation did not end up there, but also the sales of our vehicles were made to the service company that provides transportation services for TEGV's volunteer teachers.

Both examples have sales at their center. The reason for coming together is related to the product, but not limited to. The common point of these stories is the relationship and bond created with mutual understanding and respect. The stories contain an emotionally satisfying experience for both sides. These stories told and moments lived to add value to our business.

I thought about what those who read this article should understand while writing this article. . In order to put our vision into practice, it is very important to create cooperation where the common benefit is at the forefront, not only with our customers but with all our stakeholders. A human; is a social being with expectations, needs, spirituality, and materiality. When giving value, we get value. When we give effort to someone or a subject, we have the possibility to improve our relationships and ourselves. No bond can be forged without value and effort. We are heard when we listen, we are visible when we look.

"Our work is our strength, our customers." We got this point. As these examples increase, I expect it will also support us on "why" it is that way.

See you later!

Stay healthy and with love.