Founder & CEO Beyond Philosophy
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The three customer epiphanies that will drive new thinking in CX

5th Oct 2016
Founder & CEO Beyond Philosophy
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Lately, many customer experience (CX) teams have complained to us that after some initial improvements, their CX measures are plateauing. They ask us, “Now what?”

To me, the issue here is simple: they are using old thinking to solve new problems. I feel so strongly about this issue that I wrote a book about it. The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives for Moving the Customer Experience to the Next Level comes out in October 2016.

I use the word 'imperative' a lot these days. So much so that one might wonder if that word means what I think it means. It does, and when it comes to your CX, understanding three concepts is imperative to move it to the next level:

  • Recognise that customers decide emotionally and justify rationally.
  • Embrace the all-encompassing nature of customers’ irrationality.
  • Realise the only way to build customer loyalty is through customer memories.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these:

Recognise that customers decide emotionally and justify rationally

I have said it before, and I’ll say it here again: Your customers are people, and people are irrational by nature. Furthermore, over 50% of the CX is emotional, whether felt consciously or subconsciously. Customers buy based on how they feel. Then, customers justify their purchase using logic and reason, creating the false impression that it was a rational decision. However, emotions are neither reasonable nor logical.

Emotions are irrational and often inspire irrational behaviour. When some organisations hear me say that, they feel uncomfortable. However, those that take up this idea are loads better at evoking the emotions from their customers that drive value for their bottom line than those that don’t. My suggestion if you are resistant to this idea is to quit fighting it and accept it straightaway.

Embrace the all-encompassing nature of customers’ irrationality

Hidden influences arouse emotions that encourage behavior without the individual’s knowledge. They take multitudinous forms, from visual or external clues to emotional or internal clues. So people can nearly always tell you why they did something, but it is not the real reason. They are not lying; it’s just that they may not even know why themselves.

Remember, people think they made a rational buying decision. Even if they admit it was emotional, they cannot accurately account for what made them feel the way they did. It’s up to you to understand the hidden influences your present CX has, how it sways behavior, and tweak them to induce the feelings and actions you want.

Realise the only way to build Customer loyalty is through customer memories

There are many misguided attempts 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 don’t work. Why? Customer loyalty has little to do with the experience and instead is a function of the memory of the experience. People return based on their memory of previous experiences. That means having a good handle on how to form great memories becomes vital to fostering customer loyalty. Training your team to encourage terrific customer memories also becomes critical. What is the key to creating these memories? You guessed it; by evoking the proper emotions.

We have done the easy stuff for CX. The NPS score no longer climbs at the staggering pace it once did, leaving many organisations unsure what to do next. It is frustrating and more than a little disconcerting.

Once you know the challenges, however, you can make the proper changes. Taking action is paramount; in fact, I named my company after the idea of shouldering a belief ‘beyond the philosophy’ and into practice where it will make a difference. Understanding these three imperatives is important because they help you take the correct idea into action for your CX design.

As customer experience consultants, we know many organisations are not there yet. They have neither resolved the emotional context of their customer’s behavior nor have they begun to explore how the emotions the experience evokes drive or destroy value for their bottom line. We will continue to drive that point home. I remain hopeful for them. After all, it was not so long ago when nobody believed this model would work.

However, for those of you that know the importance of emotions in CX, these three tenets should influence your thinking about customers. The facts are that people buy irrationally and then justify rationally, that this irrationality is all-encompassing, and that customer loyalty is the result of their memories of the experience. It explains why people do what they do, providing the proper background for analysing your present experience to recognise where it needs to change. Because if there is one thing we know about customer experience, it’s that the need to improve it always is (that’s right, say it with me now) imperative!

Join us for the worldwide online book launch webinar to learn about these fascinating and compelling concepts for business. Please click here:  The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives for moving your Customer Experience to the next level (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).                                                                                    

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world's leading Customer experience consultancy & training organisations. Colin is an international author of six bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker. Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

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By PaulineAshenden
14th Oct 2016 06:53

As you say Colin, understanding emotion is the key next step if companies want to really engage with customers. Companies need to make every interaction memorable – there’s more on how to achieve this in this Eptica blog post http://www.eptica.com/blog/why-making-it-memorable-key-customer-experien...

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