Unleashing CX: The power of emotion in experience design

As human beings, we understand emotions—because we feel them. That is, after all, what an experience is…an emotional sensation in a moment.


Brian Solis
05/29/2018

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Knowing this, it’s difficult to explain how and why companies invest in CX without an appreciation for human emotions in key moments throughout the customer journey. It’s almost as if entire organizations are bereft of feelings entirely. How can this be?

It’s true to say that we’ve worked through a time where we didn’t care about work, where business was about business. Expressions like “don’t take it personally, it’s just business” simmered to the fore - emotionally detaching us from our work and how we approach what we do day to day. To me, that’s toxic business culture, and it’s wrong.

“We need to make it personal. We need to make business human”

Of course, we need to make it personal. We need to make business human. To do so, we must plug into empathy to inspire more emotionally desirable experiences that people prefer, seek out and share. 

Think about it this way: Emotions, whether they are good or bad, become memories. And memories, especially in the digital world, are timeless. Also, we share our memories. 

The business world talks a lot about storytelling. Stories are the backbone of our everyday communications with each other—in fact, they help us relate, remember and they help us empathise. Perhaps it is something nostalgic—when our parents would read us bedtime stories, and we’d fall sleep with stories in heads, we’d imagine pictures and dreams. 

In education, stories are the essential part of teaching and learning. Into adulthood, we might go to the movies or go to the gym or a bar and we begin to recount our experiences, how those places or experiences made us feel. We tell stories to each based on emotion, based on how we feel. However menial, this is storytelling. 

This is amplified today. 

Imagine life without a mobile device… you probably can’t, and I don’t think most can anymore—even though we flirt with detox and calming apps. But in today’s terms, it would almost seem as if we didn’t live because we share everything with each other through these devices. In fact, if we didn’t share an experience, it didn’t happen. 

“What we experience and share, shapes the next persons experience”

That’s the point. What we experience and share, shapes the next persons experience. That someone else sees your post about your experiences that you’ve shared and they feel it with you. It’s the thing that binds us, that connects us—experiences bind people together, emotions also bind us together. 

Brands need to think in the same way

Think about how you can install emotional KPIs within customer journeys - and not just for customers, for employees too. Think about why you go to work; for most people it’s happiness—that’s an emotion, not a paycheck.

In a way, this is all nothing new - human beings have told stories to each other since the dawn of time. But that is exactly what we’re fighting for in organizations: to be more human.

This is a time, when the best businesses understand that brands are now defined by the customers who experience them and share those experiences. Meaningful CX is now about designing the experiences you want people to feel and share. 

To hear me talk more on this topic, register for this webcast I am co-hosting with Dr. Liraz Margalit, Head of Behavioral at Clicktale. On June 7, we’ll be discussing whether brands are really doing enough to understand their customers’ emotions, mindset and intent.