Most brands are keenly interested in creating experiences that move their customers on an emotional level—the trick lies in figuring out which factors companies can and should wield to elicit that response from the individuals they seek to serve.
Experience outcomes have a lot to do with all the usual elements, like brand professionalism, but they also have everything to do with how customers feel before, during, and after an experience. Companies can only do so much to manage customers’ feelings, of course, but that does include evaluating how those individuals feel as they share experiences and using that feedback to make meaningful changes.
Today we’re going to touch on four ways that companies can create more emotionally meaningful experiences:
- Identifying Customers’ Emotional State(s) of Mind
- Evaluating Emotions’ Impact on KPIs
- Shifting Customer Emotions
- Empowering Staff & Processes with New Intelligence
Method #1: Identifying Customers’ Emotional State(s) of Mind
As we mentioned, companies can’t control customers’ emotions, but they can gauge how those individuals feel before and after an experience. Whether it’s via a quick post-purchase survey, social media, or other listening tools, organizations can easily learn not just how their customers are feeling, but also how those feelings inform their decision to come to the brand for a specific need and what their impression is after the interaction.
This information is invaluable for meaningfully changing and/or improving experiences, and gives brands a real shot at better managing customers’ emotions as they interact with the organization. Of course, it should also mean a better experience for all parties involved.
Method #2: Evaluating Emotions’ Impact on KPIs
This one probably goes without saying, but it really can’t be understated how large an impact customer emotion has on KPIs. A customer who’s made to feel angry, for example, probably isn’t going to do wonders for a brand’s retention or cross-sell/upsell KPI. Brands should thus always view KPI improvement through the lens of customer emotion.
This topic connects heavily to the idea of meaningful experience improvement as well. The most transformational process changes can ripple through an entire organization from the bottom up—a better experience occurs, customers become happier, and all the best KPIs light up as a result of the positive emotions that experience improvement instills toward the brand.
Method #3: Shifting Customer Emotions
This point definitely forms a Venn diagram with our first method, but the idea of shifting customer emotions during an experience really deserves its own bullet. Brands shouldn’t restrict their emotional evals to seeing how customers feel before and after an experience—they should also evaluate what can be done to elicit positive emotions (and quash negative ones) in the midst of customer interactions with a brand.
This lens affords customer experience (CX) practitioners a chance to tweak experiences in truly meaningful ways and can be thanked for conventions such as, say, auto dealerships offering customers coffee while they wait for repairs. Likewise, every experience a brand provides should also be thoroughly evaluated for pain points, bottlenecks, and other broken touchpoints that risk upsetting customers. Brands that find and fix these areas will have shifted their customers’ emotions mid-experience, which is powerful.
Method #4: Empowering Staff & Processes with New Intelligence
To expand upon the point made at the end of the last section, knowing how customers feel only really means something if brands execute on those emotions. It also means that companies shouldn’t confine that execution to a CX or customer-facing team. In fact, why not share those learnings throughout the business? Even teams who work far from the frontlines usually have something to do with providing a great experience, and should thus be let in on new learnings.
Finally, as we already talked about, process fixes are a must once companies have learned how experiences make their customers feel. Besides, actual fixes are really the only way that brands can create emotionally moving experiences for their customers in the first place. Using these methods as an improvement taxonomy can help any brand actually reach that goal.
Check out our full report on the importance of customer emotion created by longtime CX expert Simon Fraser.