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Why bother with emotion? This is a business setting, and our customers are the most part B2B. It’s tempting to emotions wouldn’t be that important, but they actually are.
Emotion is a huge factor in when it comes to experiences, whether it’s in a business setting or not. Here’s an example to illustrate.
[Personal connections are critical to B2B interactions, especially as the level of risk buyers feel increases. Emotion comes into play because people’s jobs, career, and reputation are at stake.]
How do you personally feel about your job working? [Ask audience to answer, then prompt why. Listen for the proportion of rational reasons v. emotional ones.]
There are 2 types of answers you can give to this question – rational or emotional ones. Rational are about the pay, benefits, working space, distance from home, etc. The emotional reasons are how you feel doing the work, how you’re recognized by others, and how much fun you have.
The emotional reasons are more often why you decide to stay where you are or make a change.
So what do we know about how emotion affects customers? When customers contact a support center they are bringing 2 things with them – the problem they’re trying to solve and the emotion that goes along with it.
Arizona State University has done a study for the past 6 years on the topic of Customer Rage. They interview people about problems they’ve had with products/services in the last 12 months. This chart shows what customers who complain really want.
People want their emotions addressed – to be treated with dignity, to get reassurances, to be told thank you for business, to get an apology. Yes there’s a small group that wants revenge.
The red/gray bars on the right are much shorter than on the left, meaning people’s emotions aren’t always getting met.
You’ll also see addressing these needed areas doesn’t cost the money.
Another reason to pay attention to emotion is it STRONGLY influences decisions. We like to think of ourselves as rational human beings first, but what scientists who study the brain have now learned is that emotion plays a much bigger role in decisions than we ever thought.
This is actually not such a foreign idea. In 2002, JAMA found that the number of complaints patients make is positively associated with that physician’s risk of getting sued. Angry patients are more likely to take action and sue their doctors.
And a series of studies done by the University of Illinois Law School in 2010 found that apologies can help resolve legal issues. This includes all kinds of issues - medical malpractice, divorce, custody battles, and personal injury. In fact, there are 36 states with apology laws to allow physicians to show sympathy/make statements and not have it used against them in a lawsuit.
[Forbes Consulting says that 90% of all decisions are preceded by an emotional response.]
So what do customers do when they have negative emotions (besides lawsuits)? If they have a happy experience, they’ll tell 4-6 people. If unhappy they tell many more, 9-15. And there are a few really mad customers who will tell just about everyone they know (20+).
They’re sharing their bad news in a variety of ways, with email/phone/in-person being the biggest channel.
And of course, they’ll leave. 89% of consumers went to a competitor following a bad experience.
What about for Freeman customers? They will leave too. Reed research shows there’s a limit to how long Freeman exhibitors will tolerate service failures. If we screw up in an exhibitor’s year 1 or 2, they will give us another chance in year 3. BUT if service failures continue for 3 years, exhibitors will not return in year 4. Even though exhibitors have to use us, if they’re unhappy they just won’t exhibit at the event at all. They’ll take their funds somewhere else.
So far this has all been theory or what other organizations have learned. What’s that mean to us here at COMPANY?
We conducted an Emotion Research study we did with our customers. The rest of this presentation will show what we learned.
This study was done to support a our largest client. This was a qualitative research study. We held sixteen 45-minute telephone interviews. 9 repeat exhibitors and 7 first timers; Mix of event and booth sizes
We used a neuroscience approach to better get at respondent’s underlying feelings. It’s a technique of quickly exposing pictures and asking people to reflect on a great/bad exhibiting experience. [The science is based on the brain mechanic fact that people feel faster than they think.]
This research gave us great direction, but more importantly it helps us understand how to make great experiences all along the customer’s journey with us.
These yummy things make people happy. That’s what we’re looking for in this Emotion Research. What are all the yummy things that make exhibitors happy so they’ll want to come back again? And when they come back they’ll really enjoy working with us rather than seeing us as a necessary evil.
Chip Bell, CX consultant, has book called “Sprinkles”. In it he says sprinkles is what makes a good cupcake. It’s all about adding unique experiences that makes the customer thrilled and enamored so it takes their breath away.
There are three big emotions we learned from the interviews that really influence whether a customer has a great customer experience.
Empowerment – This is about being strong, powerful, in command and control of your own work. Customers want to feel relaxed, energized, and organized even under adverse circumstances. They want support to fix any surprise mishaps that may occur.
Achievement – This is about working hard and seeing a payoff at the end – in this case with ROI (leads, sales, networking). It’s crossing the finish line and being excited to join the winner’s circle. Customers want an ally to help them feel the money they’ve invested will make a difference.
Anonymity – This is about feeling like you’re just one of the masses, feeling second rate, wanting to breakout and standout. Customers are worried they won’t stand out and won’t get personalized and timely services. It’s also about having to wait for solutions and it could be hours/going nowhere.
Now we know the building blocks of emotional happiness. What does it look like in real life? How can you make experiences great?
The 3 emotion drivers informed a customer concierge program. Specific customer feedback was used to design the experience for key journey moments.
Additionally, employee concierges were assigned to attend groups of customers at the onsite event. They were trained in how to specifically act and what to say to address the 3 emotion drivers.
The results were very positive. Customer renewals increased by 20%.
Blow Them Away Happiness The concierge program deeply tapped into core emotions. In several cases, positive regard was so customers made extraordinary efforts to recognize their concierge.
To deliver great experiences for customers, focus on customers’ rational AND emotional expectations . That means getting their order right and if we screw up delivering on the service recovery.
While we’re doing this, to the best of our ability we need to make sure we help them feel empowered, help them achieve their goals, and help them feel less like one of the masses.
• Office space
• Manager believes in you
• Feel trusted to do your job
• Recognized for hard work
• Friends make it fun
How do you feel about
working at your current job?
How emotion plays into customer experiences
Sources: FassForward Consulting Group, 2014; ASU Center for Leadership, 2013; Beyond Philosophy
Emotions are important to decision making
What customers do with negative emotions
Source: FassForward Consulting Group, 2014
Source: Temkin Group, 2014
What we did
• Emotion Research Study
o What emotions drive customer intimacy
• Qualitative format
o 16 interviews, 45 minutes each
o Repeat and first time customers
Goal – Create great experiences all along the
There are three big emotions
I’m not noticed
Give me timely,
Sense of Control
Command over my
Fix my mishaps
Feeling of Success
My hard work has
paid off with ROI
Be my success ally
•Offer to solve problems
•Don’t interfere with selling
•Proactively offer support
•Provide packing materials
•Follow-up contact info
•Offer package flexibility
•Provide custom order tools
•Direct traffic in busy areas
•Provide landmark maps
•Check in regularly
Design for the complete customer journey
Customer Concierge Program
An experience designed to address emotions
Results: 20% Increase in Renewals
Sense of Control
•“You were part of
•“You helped me
solve big problems”
Feeling of Success,
Tied to ROI
• “This saved us
•“I could focus on
•“You made me
•“You showed me
For great experiences that bring business value…
Getting the order
right is vital
recovery is key
Deliver on rational AND emotional expectations