In our previous article we wrote about how customer experience starts with customer understanding and what techniques you can use to gain those insights. Today we’ll focus on other influential factors which have an effect on the customer experience.
I can’t speak for all of us, but I always want to have an amazing experience with a company, if I don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling after my interaction, my mood plummets. And giving me that warm fuzzy feeling isn’t hard to do. Just be nice, make some small talk and listen to me, show me a genuine smile! I want to see and feel that you are serious about serving me and take pride in your job. Customers really do find some aspects enormously important. We could easily say what matters most to your customers, they want to have a one of a kind experience with your company or brand, they obviously want to get value for their time and money invested in your company or brand and in return they also want your acknowledgement and understanding.
A unique customer experience
Achieving a high level of customer experience is extremely difficult and takes a lot of practice. The CEO and his management should put the customer at the center, in the heart of everything they do. Everything needs to resolve around the customer. Companies need to hire the correct people, the ones which carry the same company values, they need to be trained to understand the customer and go beyond their capacities to create the best customer experience ever. Day after day.
A great example of a unique customer experience is the one of Christina, a women who visited the same hotel for the last 3 years to attend a conference. They had an alarm clock with a soothing sound, she had never slept that good before and repeatedly searched the web for the same exact model. The 3rd year she stayed there she send her question to the Twitter account of the Gaylord Opryland Resort where she stayed. They said they didn’t make that model anymore and send her a link to the newer one but that hadn’t got the sound she was looking for. After the conference she returned back to her room, giving up hope that she would ever find the exact same alarm clock.
But that was against Gaylord, the staff gave her the alarm clock with a personal note. It turned her into a lifelong fan.
This leads us to the research of Scott Magids which shows us that customers go through 4 stages of emotional connectivity with a company or brand. Stage 1 being emotionally unconnected, this was probably the case when Christina first came into her room at the Gaylord resort. Stage 2 is being highly satisfied but not fully connected, this would be the case when Christina left Gaylord after her first visit. After her second stay at the resort she was in stage 3 of perceiving the brand differentiation, being satisfied but not fully connected. She liked it there because she slept so well due to the alarm clock. But after her last visit she said she turned into a lifelong fan of Gaylord, she is now fully connected, satisfied and able to perceive the brand differentiation. And this just because they gave her the alarm clock she wanted so badly. Research of Scott Magids showed that fully connected customers are 52% more valuable to a company than just highly satisfied customers, it certainly pays off to try to turn your customers into lifelong fans.
Value for time and money
It speaks for itself that we as a customer want value for our money but also our time is very important. In this day and age where we all lack some much needed free time we don’t like to wait for our services. For example, a women in the UK was put on hold after she wanted to contact Virgin Media because her internet connection packed up. She then waited 12 hours before a call center in India put her through to a call center in the UK just to be put on hold again. But as a compensation for her 12 hours of waiting she got credited with 30 Pounds to her account. Imagine how frustrated she must have felt during her waiting time. Her time was definitely not valuable for the company.
Emotions are key to building the image of the company but bear in mind that negative emotions last longer than positive emotions. Research showed that it takes up to 120 hours before the feeling of sadness subsides and only 35 hours before the feeling of joy is subsided. This gives a bigger timeframe to share negative comments on the brand or company that led to these negative feelings.
When people were asked about their biggest customer experience success or failure in the last ten years, 76% recalled a failure where only 55% of respondents remembered a customer experience success.
Acknowledgement and understanding
Don’t you think it’s awful when you’re calling customer services with a registered phone number that’s linked to your personal file and still need to explain everything? How nice would it be if the call center agent picks up the phone, calls you by your first name and asks you what he can do for you. You just explain your problems and he takes your file so you don’t need to search for the order number or invoice number. That would be awesome, such an holistic overview of who the particular customer is.
But not only the technology needs to be in place to arrange this, you also need to use the right kind of psychology to talk to and understand your customer. We’d like to refer you to our previous articles where we talked about how a customer likes to be treated and how you can show more empathy towards him. It’ll only help you in your relationship.
A great example of customer understanding is the recent story of Etihad airways, before takeoff right when they were already taxiing two grandparents on the plane got a message that their grandson is in intensive care and won’t make it through. Against the rules, the pilot stops the plane and let the passengers off so they could say goodbye. Etihad staff located their car and got it waiting for them in front of the airport, their luggage was collected so they could leave immediately. Without the quick thinking of the pilots and staff these people would never had the chance to say goodbye to their beloved grandson.
The whole unique customer experience, value for time and money and acknowledgement and understanding are purely emotional needs. Emotions are very important in user and customer experience. We’d like to take them into account in our user testing, to go deeper and further in the real reasoning behind their behavior. What triggers them? What makes them angry or happy? What do they hope and what are they afraid of?
Role of emotions
Emotions play a determining role in the relationship between a company and its customer. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Customers feel emotionally connected to a certain brand or company when its personality aligns with theirs and when it enables them to fulfill their needs and dreams.
Emotions are the biggest driving force for customer loyalty.
- Pay close attention to your customer and treat him as a person not as a client number.
- Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement a company can have, it’s free and has a great impact because our peers are more convincing to us than a billboard.
- Yet negative experiences can be pesky for the positive impact word-of-mouth can have.
- Negative experiences stick, and we like to share our really negative experiences. It takes also 12 positive experience to make up for 1 bad experience.
If you care about your business you should care about your customers’ feelings too. They make or break your brand. Do you have a hard time investigating how your customers feel about your brand? Don’t you understand why there are negative reviews going around? Having problems with customer retention and loyalty? With user research we take a deep dive into their world and peel away their reasoning layer by layer until we come to the essence of why your customer does the things he does.