“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
Photo Credits: Kaboompics | Pexels
“Always remember that everyone with whom you have a relationship has an invisible sign on their forehead that says ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Treat them accordingly” – Eric Philip Cowell
84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is important. Customer Experience (CX) is about meeting humans deepest needs to feel special and to feel acknowledged for being me. It includes the overall interactions the user experiences with brands measured by metrics ranging from promotions, culture influences, and loyalty.
75 percent of companies consider themselves to be customer-centric, but only 30 percent of customers agree. This unfortunate gap exists because companies engage with customers like they were replaceable, according to studies.
When customers have a positive experience with a company, they’re less likely to do business elsewhere and more likely to recommend that particular company.
Memorable experiences, and the ensuing positive word of mouth, can drive customer decisions as much as, if not more than, price and functionality, shows research. Companies are talking about customer experiences, but still thinking from inside to outside unaware of the importance of the human deepest needs.
Attempts to work with journey mapping, lean, service blueprinting, and problem-solving mindsets, still don’t reach the high customer demands. Academics that studies customer engagement focus on managerial variables such as employee selection, training, rewards, and service culture. Customer experience (CX) design — which aims to ensure that customers have positive touchpoints with companies while buying and consuming their products and services — has grown quickly in recent years.
Yet recent Forrester research report suggests that there have been few if any, meaningful improvements in customer experience over time.
Despite the insights gleaned about customers through advanced technologies and data analysis, something still seems to be missing for most companies, says a KPMG report.
Human emotions are the most valued
Stefan Thomke, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, has been teaching the HBS:s executive education classes for many years. When he first asked the executives for their most memorable experiences as customers, he was surprised by their language.
It made me feel special. They showed empathy. They really cared. Personalized the process. Trusted me. Didn’t argue or delay. Killed us with kindness. Owned the problem. Surprised us. Made things simple.
Notice, these business executives weren’t using the standard language of business. They weren’t using business terms like functional value, efficiency, and cost-value analysis. Instead, they were describing a human emotional impact. The missing ingredient in many businesses today is emotion.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
5 ways for companies to infuse customer journeys with emotion
1. Stimulate the senses, and trigger emotions such as surprise, trust, joy, and even anticipation;
2. Turn disappointment into delight. Be prepared to transform negative experiences into positive ones;
3. Plan to surprise. Thrill your customers again and again through continual innovation and unexpected solutions to problems;
4. Tell compelling stories. Companies that infuse stories into the customer’s brand experience can provoke an emotional response and create sticky memories;
5. Run controlled experiments are all about understanding your audience and making sure to trigger the right emotions during a customer’s journey.
Two of the top three reasons why businesses invest in CX are improving customer retention (42%) and increasing cross-selling and upselling opportunities (32%). When a customer is already happy with their previous experience, they are also more likely to buy more and try other things your company has to offer.
Focus on keeping your existing customers happy. The fact is that creating and/or improving your customer experience strategy will help you build an experience that is focused on the customer.
Reading tip: Customer Journey Maps: The North Star to Digital Transformation