The 3 Trends Customer Experience Professionals Can’t Afford to Ignore

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As a Customer Experience professional, understanding three trends today is imperative. Without accepting these tenets, you are thwarting your success before you even begin. However, if you can accept them, you are poised not only to deliver an excellent experience, but you will also position yourself to move it to the next level of greatness.

What are these 3 remarkable trends with so much power and clout? 

  1. Recognizing that Customers decide emotionally and justify rationally.
  2. Embracing the all-encompassing nature of Customers’ irrationality.
  3. Realizing the only way to build Customer loyalty is through Customer memories.

Let’s explore each of these trends and how they affect your approach to Customer Experience Design and Improvement:

Recognizing that customers decide emotionally and justify rationally:

For years, I have been preaching that emotions influence the outcome of a Customer Experience by more than 50%. Emotions are irrational, however, and inspire irrational behavior. Whether the person is conscious of their emotions or not, people buy based on how they feel. Afterward, people then justify their purchase using rationality, contributing to the erroneous impression that the decision was, in fact, rational.

Customers are irrational by nature. After all, they are people, and people are irrational by nature. If you are resistant to this idea, it is time to quit fighting it. When you accept this idea, you can design your experience to evoke customer emotions that drive that irrational behavior into what is valuable for your organization’s bottom line.

Embracing the all-encompassing nature of customers’ irrationality:

It is standard practice for Customer Experience teams to undertake a customer survey to determine why customers did what they did. This exercise will not reveal the real reasons customers decided to buy. Remember, customers think they made a rational buying decision, so the reasons they give you for their behavior will be logical ones. However, thinking something is rational does not make it true.

The fact is your customers didn’t know the real reason they decided to buy. Without their knowledge, hidden influences produce emotions that encourage behavior. These hidden influences range from visual or external clues to emotional or internal clues. Since you can’t rely on customers to account for what made them feel the way they did, you must understand the hidden influences present in your current Customer Experience and how they motivate behavior. Then, perhaps most importantly, you should tweak the hidden influences to drive the behavior you want.

Realizing the only way to build customer loyalty is through customer memories.

Every Customer Experience professional wants to build customer loyalty. From loyalty cards to rewards programs, and even a fruit basket here and there, well-intentioned efforts to win customers’ loyalty are misguided and don’t understand why customers are loyal to you.

Experiences do not form customer loyalty, but memories of experiences do. And despite what you might think, customers don’t remember every moment of the experience the way you think they do. In fact, most memories boil down to two moments in the experience, the highest emotion they felt (the peak) and how the experience ended up (the end). Experts refer to this as the Peak-End Rule.

Having an understanding of how memories form is crucial to fostering customer loyalty. Then, follow up with comprehensive team training to encourage loyalty-forming customer memories. And what is the fundamental concept behind memory formation? That’s right, evoking the proper emotions.

Understanding that people buy irrationally and then justify rationally, that this irrationality is all-encompassing, and that customer loyalty is the result of peoples’ memories of the experience is critical to today’s Customer Experience professional. It explains why people do what they do, providing the proper background for analyzing your present experience to recognize where it needs to change.

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s Blog Carnival “Celebrating Customer Experience.” It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other CX Day bloggers & learn more at CXDay.org.                                                                       

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