Why Emotions Matter to your Customer Experience
Last week was full of emotions for me. Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, Wednesday would have been my father’s 90th birthday and of course Thursday commemorated D-Day. Who couldn’t fail to be moved by some of the incredible stories told by the veterans?
But emotions aren’t all ones of sadness, reflection or gratitude.
Emotions are key in influencing our customers’ perception of service and their likelihood of buying from us, becoming a repeat customer and in recommending us to others.
Over 50% of the customer’s experience is down to emotions.
Your customers’ experience can be your single most valuable competitive advantage, whatever type of business you are in. But, when it comes to experience based businesses such as hospitality, leisure and tourism this of course is even more important.
It’s the experience and emotions you create for customers that gets remembered.
Their experience is based on their perceptions and how they feel about your business. In other words, it’s based on their emotions. And you and your team are the key drivers of these.
So, what do we want customers to think and feel about us and when with us; what emotions do we want them to have?
These could be emotions of fun, joy, happiness. They might be ones of pride, excitement, achievement. They might be security, reassurance, comfort, or indulgence, inspiration, relaxation… I could go on!
Think about what your customers really care about and why they buy from you specifically.
When you and your team know the emotions you want your customers to have at each stage of the customer journey it makes it so much easier for everyone to determine what needs to happen at each stage and therefore what actions and behaviours are appropriate. All too often we tell people what they should do or say, but not necessarily explain why.
When getting team members to think about customers emotions here are a couple of exercises I use:
1. The Thank You Letter
This is a useful exercise to get your team thinking about how they want customers to feel about the business as a whole but also about them personally.
The participants are to imagine they have just received an appreciative thank you letter from a customer, one which makes them feel happy and proud.
Ask them to jot down a few ideas about what might be in that letter that makes them feel good. What would be the things they’d like that customer to notice about them.
Then ask them to write the letter they’d love to receive!
The purpose of this exercise is to get them thinking about the perfect customer experience and how they might contribute to it.
2. Customer Needs and Expectations
Delivering excellent customer service and ensuring people have a memorable experience when they visit starts with understanding what they want and expect.
This exercise helps your team recognise that different customer groups will have different requirements and will want different things.
When I’m training I ask participants to identify their main customer groups, then get them to visualise each group – picturing the person (if a family, they might want to split this into parents and children and even sub-divide for different ages of children)
They are to give each person a name, gender, age, where they live, disposable income and other basic demographic information, then start adding in the detail. You can start to build up a detailed profile of them, their family and friends, their favourite pastimes, food, habits, interests, values, etc. Anything that’s important to them so you build up a profile until you feel you know them as a friend. Then draw an image of this person (and family if appropriate). A stick man is fine!
Under the picture I ask them to identify the needs, wants and expectations of that customer, that will be specific to that category and not so important to other categories of customers, thinking about their emotional needs a well as their physical needs?
Recognising that the customer journey and what influences their perception of the customer service can be determined before they even make direct contact with you, this can impacted by how they are feeling at this first touch point.
With these needs, wants and expectations in mind in an ideal world…
- How would they like these customers to be feeling before they arrive?
- How would they like these customers to feel whilst here?
- How would they like these customers to feel as a result of their visit? E.g. how would you like them to feel when they leave, how would you like to be remembered?
Emphasise you want them to be thinking about feelings and emotions, not about actions and behaviours.
At the end of the exercise ask them to identify:
- What you do brilliantly? This might include things you do that are unique or special that make you stand out from your competitors.
- What are the things you do really well, we’re 99% there, but with just a 1% tweak, we could make even better? (i.e. with minimal effort we could make a big difference.)
- Pick one emotion or feeling you are not yet achieving as well as you could. What could you do or put in place to improve this? Get them to focus on things which are within their own sphere of influence, i.e. things they could do, say or put in place that would make a difference.
If you only do one thing to improve your customers’ experience – identify the top 3-4 emotions you’d like your customers to experience when they visit/buy from you.
Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/employee-recognition/