In the previous blog of our Reimagining Insights series, Lou and I shared Experience Management Absolute #1: Narrow the “brand canyon,” focusing more on how customers and employees feel about themselves rather than just what they think about your brand. This week’s blog delves into Experience Management Absolute #2: Shift your focus from rational to subconscious thought, building an emotional motif for both customers and employees.
To really get at the emotions that make the peaks and valleys along your customer journey more memorable, you need to uncover the mental models that customers use to simplify their view of the world. Research has shown there are a limited number of “deep metaphors” that guide customers’ decision making. These metaphors can be stories, phrases or specific words, and can be triggered by other sensory stimuli such as sight, sound and smell, not just the specific words themselves. Moreover, most decision making is actually subconscious, unless the customer experiences pain points that cause them to slow down and shift to more conscious thinking (see Matt’s book reviews forThinking Fast and Slow, The Power of Habit, and Clued In here). By understanding which deep metaphors most apply to your customer journey, you can focus on an “emotional motif” of just 3-5 emotions for your experience design efforts and ongoing “clue scanning” to spot whether the experience is congruent with your emotional motif. You can also build an emotional motif for your employees, too, given the importance of your frontline employees in delivering an exceptional customer experience.
It’s truly exciting that the technology is catching up with expertise-driven approaches for delving into our subconscious thought and how we feel during the customer experience, rather than the words we use to rationalize that experience in our conscious thought. In the past you needed to use less scalable approaches to develop these powerful insights, such as direct observation in physical environments or in depth interviews during an intercept or other controlled environment more distant from the actual experience. These qualitative insights can be gathered in ways that take advantage of careful research design to uncover the deep metaphors at play and how they influence our emotions and behaviors. This used to require more expensive research as part of your UX/UI investments to optimize physical and digital experiences such as website and mobile app design, content marketing, in-store shopper marketing, store format innovations, or other experience management investments. Those can still be valuable, but can now be combined with additional approaches using platforms such as Qualtrics combining surveys and text analytics of unstructured data (e.g., online ratings and reviews, social media interactions, messaging platforms, voice-to-text transcripts of calls to your contact center, live chat, and open ended questions from surveys) to make them more scalable and allow you to do more for less.
These innovations for your research toolkit have several significant implications:
Your CX north star vision will be much more powerful if it is developed taking into account actionable insights into which deep metaphors customers are using to build their mental models of their experiences with your company
Your CX north star vision needs to incorporate explicit focus on the emotions you want to reinforce that are congruent with your deep metaphors
You can achieve a higher ROI on your investments in CX through a more modern approach to customer listening that uses the toolkit above. Not only will you generate additional insights that help you improve the effectiveness of your experience design efforts, but the savings on research and testing can create a self-funding flywheel for your investments in your CX capabilities
Your balanced portfolio of AI use cases should include some that focus on measuring emotions and how to optimize content, calls to action, and frontline employee behaviors based on these insights
By building alignment for your CX north star vision, creating “clue consciousness” in your employees about the experience you are looking to deliver, and providing democratic access to insights about how congruent the experience is with your emotional motif, you can spark a continuous innovation cycle that further boosts your ROI from your CX investments
We hope that this blog sparked some great ideas for you! If you’d like to continue the conversation, “share your spark” with us here!