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It’s that time of year. Well in fact it’s been that time of year since November really, hasn’t it? The Christmas ads invade our TVs and social media feeds. Every year we wait. We wait for the emotional tear-jerker campaigns to drop, to pull at the heartstrings, to give us that warm fuzzy feeling of belonging.

Every Disney-esque Christmas movie you watch is the same. The core message is that all that matters is love and belonging, kindness and empathy. And while that is true of life, it seems to only appear within CX and Customer Journey on brief occasions.

So, this Christmas, let’s take a look at the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and look at 3 elements of emotion around Christmas to see if we can mend our ways and learn how to improve our CX all year round.

1. Surprise & Delight

Nothing says Christmas like the pile of presents under the tree. But it wouldn’t be as much fun if they were left there, unwrapped. Not knowing what Santa might bring, what weird and wonderful things friends and family have bought you, this is where the joy and excitement come from. A surprise is the unexpected, and it is a place full of emotion and potential bonding.  We all shed a tear at the videos of military personnel coming home surprising their loved ones or the parents finding out they are going to become grandparents for the first time. Surprises that are joyful make us feel good.

a consumer being surprised with a christmas gift.

This remains one of my favourites from WestJet from a few years ago. If you want to understand how to reach inside a customer’s heart and soul and connect, take a look at this (it’s a 5-minute watch but worth it, don’t be a Christmas Grinch).

The joy on their faces, tears, laughter, wonder. These are the values that form emotional bonds between people, but also between brands and their customer. Just like puppies, surprises aren’t only for Christmas.

Look to put a smile on your customers faces as often as you can. Do big things and little things to surprise and delight them.

2. Belonging

This is one we see again and again in Christmas commercials and movies. The need to belong, to feel safe and secure in that belonging, is a core human need. Christmas is one of those holidays that brings that right to the surface. Being alone on Christmas day is portrayed in society as being some sort of emotional rock-bottom.

customers celebrating christmas together with a sense of belonging

Tribal marketing has always concerned itself with this belonging. Apple, Red Bull, and Harley Davidson all have empowered consumers who, because of their tribal brand belonging, represent the brand, often to the point of tattooing the logo on their skin.

This year, John Lewis shone a light on belonging in their Christmas campaign entitled ‘The Beginner’ (90 seconds watch).

We all deserve to belong somewhere, and this time of year, children who don’t feel that belonging are particularly vulnerable. It is a beautiful campaign but again, belonging is not just for Christmas.

Think about how you can invite your customer ‘in’ permanently, to move away from a transactional relationship with them and to form some kind of belonging. ‘Buy 9 cups, get your 10th coffee free’ is not belonging, it is manipulation.

Build a tribe, offer belonging.

3. Connections Take Work

My ‘Love is a Verb’ CX keynote can be summed up in once sentence. Connections take work. In terms of CX or Employee Experience, we take connections for granted sometimes. And just like any relationship, when you take things for granted, well that can spell the end of the good connection- Consumer behaviour

CX takes work every day. Good CX isn’t just an individual moment. It is a collection of moments, of all the work that goes in behind the scenes to make the magic happen. It takes effort.

This Christmas campaign from pharmacy chain Doc Morris in Germany really shows the relationship between effort and the connection reward (a 3-minute watch).

Again, imagine if our customers appreciated the effort we made for them all year. If we dedicated ourselves everyday to the target of making them feel special, to elevate the customer to new heights.

So, there you have it Scrooge. Three things you can do next year to be less ‘bah humbug’ toward your customers. Make them smile and laugh by surprising them. Give them a sense of tribal belonging through your brand and put the effort in everyday for the reward of future connection.

CX isn’t just for Christmas. While we are all more emotionally charged this time of year, the ability for every brand and business to foster deeper and more emotionally charged connections with their customers is an everyday event.

Have a very happy Christmas and holiday season, and I hope that Santa brings you everything you deserve. Santa is a one-man CX machine!

Give your audience the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas. Book Ken to speak at your next event.

Ken Hughes is now considered one of the World’s leading speakers on the subject of customer experience, consumer values, organizational change, leadership and agility. His virtual and live in-person keynotes are famous for their high-energy, thought-provoking content as well as their impactful and inspiring delivery.

A blog to  inspire and delight

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A blog to  inspire and delight