Customers are looking for specific outcomes when they engage with a service provider. Think of the last time you made reservations for a special romantic holiday? Or you contacted your insurance company to make a claim? Or you went to your dentist with a toothache? In each case, you had a specific goal in mind. You wanted to achieve something specific, right?
Think again of these types of situations (or similar ones you can relate to). In each instance you had certain prevalent emotions running at the time you contacted any of these service providers – potentially very different emotions in each case.
A key element of customer experience management, as you know, is creating positive memorable experiences. So, given the three scenarios listed, which of the three service providers do you think would create a better customer experience?
- The one that focuses primarily on efficiently delivering the outcome you are looking for? OR
- The one that gives attention to the emotional state that you bring to the interaction as well as to efficiently achieving your desired outcome?
Let’s remember that creating positive memorable experiences will always by definition tap into the customer’s emotions. Without emotional connection, it won’t be memorable and some neuroscientists would argue that it could hardly be described as ‘experiential’ either.
Perhaps you have also found as I have that some companies seem to be “tone deaf” when it comes to picking up my frequency, my emotional state, when I start my engagement with them. This doesn’t mean that I always engage with a service provider in some heightened emotional state (although my husband might disagree). The point is: multiple providers of services across many industries would gain greater repeat business from customers and more positive referrals if they were more keenly attuned to picking up where are customers are at before putting them through the ‘sausage machine’ of business processes.
One executive said to me: “But customers buy our products as a grudge purchase. They aren’t coming to us to get some ecstatic, delightful experience.” Agreed. Many products are purchased and services demanded without any expectation for them to give great pleasure.
“To gain greater repeat business from customers and more positive referrals be more keenly attuned to your customers’ emotions.”
Great customer experience is not always about “delighting” the customer or “knocking their socks off”. That isn’t always practical, feasible nor appropriate. But it is always about making sure that the customer feels better after the experience than he or she did before.
Having emotionally intelligent employees on the front-lines and designing emotional intelligence into business processes as much as possible is one sure way of increasing the likelihood of consistently having a positive effect on each customer’s emotions. The pay-off for doing so, both from a bottom-line perspective and from a business purpose perspective, far outweighs the cost.