Why emotions matter

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CX Network

emotions customer experience

While the world is moving in an ever-more digital direction, human-ness, empathy and emotional intelligence are also on the increase.

Dr. Travis Bradberry, president of Talent Smart, and emotional intelligence consultancy, discovered that 90% of top performers are high in emotional intelligence. Complementary to this, their research shows that likeability is about sincerity, transparency and capacity for understanding others.

What is true for individuals is true for society and true for corporations. Emotions matter. Logical engagement is good but it is not enough.

The Global State of Customer Experience report showed a distinct trend for the importance of emotional engagement as part of the customers’ experience. As Colin Shaw, founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy states, “Emotions are a huge part of the customer experience. Emotions drive or destroy value for a business”.

Customer centricity: the framework for emotional connection

In order to connect emotionally with customers, organisations must begin by putting those customers at the very centre. By designing products, services, systems and processes that start with the customer – their wants, needs and intentions – the organisation is already showing awareness and empathy for how their customers are operating.

Assessing the challenges faced by customer experience practitioners, the 2018 report identifies ‘building a customer first culture’ as an absolute priority with practitioners, commentators and also solution providers.

Are your customers human?

Customer centricity is important, but it won’t get very far without the acknowledgement of who those customers really are and how they behave. The availability of big data, automation and dashboard analysis can turn customers into statistics, dissolving any human element and focusing instead on moving a metric through a series of processes. Maintaining the human element is essential from product design to UI/ UX of a new marketing campaign.

Oliver Kipp, Chief Customer Office, MaritzCX says, “Failing to engage customers on more than just a rational level is more than a lost opportunity for a brand. It’s a failure to recognise that even the most basic choices people make are informed – both consciously and unconsciously – by their emotions.” Understanding, and responding to why customers do something, is more important than understanding, and analysing how they do something.

With a customer journey mapping strategy that brings their customer to the centre of any business decisions, Menzies Aviation is building on their premium travel service. Denise Spinkova is VP Executive Service with Menzies Aviation and shares Kipps’s view about the importance of recognising the human-ness of customers: “..the lowest common denominator, the most important factor, and a subject I’ve written about before: the human element.”

Is your workforce human?

Products and services tailored to empathise with customers are essential. How important also are systems and structures that recognise the human-ness of the organisation’s workforce?

Shanna Pederson, Head of Customer Experience, Corporate, BT describes two initiatives that positively impacted their customers’ experience because they motivated a key driver for employees. Firstly, by recognising that “frontline sales teams needed ‘skin in the game’”, they achieved 92% increase in customers scoring ‘high satisfaction’ with their account managers.

Secondly, BT implemented a win:win programme providing employees with the chance to “take part in projects focused on improving things for our customers, in return they receive exposure to senior leadership and great networking opportunities.” This programme echoes the Google 20% policy; allowing employees to invest 20% of their time to side projects, a policy that keeps innovation frothing. 

While incentives and programmes can clearly deliver results, Spinkova emphasises that culture is important to really recognise the human-ness of the workforce, “your brand comes to life through people – employees and customers alike… A community where the customer and employee input are not mutually exclusive but rather aligned by the common, human element.”

Metrics for emotions

Ultimately all strategies require a combination of competencies and Shaw points to engagement metrics as a way to understand the hierarchy of emotional value. Ranging from a ‘cluster’ of ‘destroying’ emotions including irritated and disappointed, to the desired cluster of ‘advocacy’ that includes emotions such as happy and pleased, the benchmark provides organisations with their ‘Emotional Signature’.

Ironically, perhaps the best way to improve emotional engagement within the organisation is to start with a dashboard.