Treat Your Customer Like Your Date

Today, businesses spend a ton of resources attracting new customers without an understanding of what it takes to sustain a positive customer experience (CX). In fact, surveys reveal 80 percent of companies believe they deliver superior CX, yet only eight percent of their customers agree. If you take your significant other out on a date, do you dress like a slob and ignore them? Not if you want the relationship to continue ‘ just as you do with your customer.
According to Daryl Travis, author, “How Does It Make You Feel?” and CEO, Brandtrust, in order to create a great CX it’s essential to have an understanding of experiences that trigger the emotions that drive your customer’s brand preference. Travis recently shared some tips with Retail Customer Experience on how business can use emotion to create a better CX.
How Your Customers Feel
According to psychologists, what people remember about a CX is determined by the intensity of emotions created in specific moments’not the overall experience. ‘This is true for most experiences throughout our lives. Our non-conscious mind categorizes and catalogues experiences according to the nature and intensity of emotions,’ writes Travis.
When processing new stimuli, the non-conscious mind associates past memories and responds emotionally before rational thought occurs. When neurologists discovered that 95 percent of thought, emotion and learning occur this way, behavioral economists realized non-consious emotional responses shaped by past memories determine customer attitudes and behavior’not conscious, rational decisions.
Leverage Emotional Insights to Build Trust
Travis says that when considering CX, it’s important to be mindful that trust and faith are essential emotions. When customers perceive your company as trustworthy, they buy your products. Demonstrating trustworthiness can be done when a situation is negative as well.  Trustworthiness is demonstrated by being reliable and concerned for your customer’s needs. The company must demonstrate that it will always act in a caring way toward the customer, no matter the circumstances.
Build empathy
Even though budgets are limited, it’s important to invest in a deep understanding of your customer. With this clarity, teams are able to focus, certain that what they are doing matters to their customers. This is where empathy building can help. It’s also important for senior leadership to understand what customers experience throughout their daily lives. This often shifts how they look at their business, sparking fresh thinking in an empathetic understanding of customers.
Internalize the CX
For an initiative to succeed in improving the CX, senior leadership needs to ‘live’ the brand. This involves articulating the brand promise internally so that people understand what is expected. Each aspect of delivering a positive CX needs to be ‘caught, not taught,’ according to Travis. Leaders intent on changing employee behavior must do so by exemplifying the vision for how the brand is to be experienced. By sharing an understanding of the emotional drivers for a positive CX, it’s possible to refocus employees around what works. Applied social science research has demonstrated that emphasizing the positive rather than trying to eliminate the negative is effective in improving an organization’s capacity for change.
Implement a Plan
Finally, it’s necessary for a work plan to be undertaken to facilitate acceptance and adoption of the behaviors necessary to bring the vision and values of the new CX to life throughout the organization. This process will help to transcend ambiguities and inspire colleagues to internalize and live the new experience promise.
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.