I’m happy to report that more and more companies realize that emotions are significant to the Customer Experience. It’s an excellent first step.
But it isn’t enough.
Thinking that emotions are important in Customer Experience, or even that positive emotions are important to our Customer Experience, isn’t enough.
In general, business needs to get specific about the emotions in their Customer Experience.
Customers Use Emotions in Their Decision-Making
The prominent economist John Kenneth Galbraith said:
“A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.”
Galbraith understood when people are customers, their emotions have taken the wheel and are driving their behavior. It is true whether they are buying milk or a new car.
Customers make choices all the time, sorting through all kinds of information received by their brains. A common shortcut to any decision process is to go with how they feel about a product. Thus, if you can make the emotions work in your favor, you can steer customers to buy from you.
Most of you likely agree with this so far. The problem occurs when businesses think that this stage of understanding is enough to take your Customer Experience to the next level. If you don’t believe me, then try this:
- Get together three to five people from different departments in your firm.
- Ask them to write down what emotions work in your favor to steer customers to buy from you.
- Look for answers that match.
My guess is that you won’t find any answers that match. Everyone across the organization has a different interpretation of what emotions work in your favor at a customer level.
So here is my first challenge: Should you be evoking the emotions that drive most value ($$$$) for you? Of course!
This concept led us on the quest, with the London Business School, to identify which emotions drive and destroy the most value for Customer Experience. Our research culminated in my book The DNA of Customer Experience: How Emotions Drive Value (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). We discovered there are 20 emotions that drive and destroy value.
The question becomes what emotions does your experience evoke in your customers? To find out, you need to undertake an Emotional Signature exercise to assess your current level of emotional engagement with your customers.
But maybe your company is an exception, and you know, more or less, which emotions drive the most value for your organization. If so, then try this:
- Ask the same three to five people to write down how to foster those emotions in customers in daily, specific actions.
- Look for answers that match.
As you can tell, the key word here is specific. Chances are, even if your team understands which emotions steer customers to buy from you, the individuals don’t get there the same way. For example, let’s say each member of the team said feeling valued and important was the key emotion in your favor. When listing specific actions, some would give customers a loyalty status or upgrade; others might include customers in a roundtable discussion for future product testing while others might send a personal thank you letter. These are all excellent tactics.
However, individuals each using a unique way to make a customer feel valued and important does not create consistency, and consistent results are vital to creating an exceptional emotional Customer Experience. When you don’t define the emotion and specific ways to evoke it, you don’t have a consistent emotional Customer Experience that can take your organization to the next level.
The Importance of the CES and Training
Consistency starts by defining what you want to be consistent. You must identify the emotion you want your Customer Experience to evoke. Then, create a Customer Experience Statement (CES).
The CES is the focal point of your desired Customer Experience program. With it, everyone knows what you are striving to achieve as far as the emotional outcome for the experience you provide. It defines the goal. In our Customer Experience Consultancy, we find that establishing the CES requires collaboration and workshopping by a cross-functional team throughout your organization.
Now, give your team the tools to do it through training. As Customer Experience Consultants, we often find that training for the soft skills needed to achieve a particular emotional outcome is insufficient or, in some cases, non-existent. Furthermore, few training programs explain why emotions are important, the psychology behind the emotions people feel, and how to encourage better emotional outcomes. To combat this lack of training, we create a guide for our clients that uses the fundamental emotion defined by the CES as a foundation for training. It covers all these areas:
- Why emotions are relevant to the experience
- Why the emotion chosen for the CES is important to your organization
- How psychology contributes to the desired emotion
- What the individual can do to encourage better emotional outcomes in specific actions that relate to everyday situations in the emotional experience
Too many businesses are not detailed enough about the emotional outcomes in their Customer Experience, both in what emotion they want and how to evoke it. However, it is in these details that consistent achievement of the desired emotional outcome is found. Defining the emotion you seek and then creating a guide for the team to evoke it – a guide that gets into the particulars of the moment – is crucial to a consistently excellent Customer Experience. When it comes to emotions in your Customer Experience, generally you need to be more specific.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Colin Shaw – View the original post