Destroying Brand Experience, One at a Time

by Colin Shaw on July 28, 2015

Brands are a fluid concept that can be destroyed in an instant. Brands make promises that should be kept by the people that deliver the experience. When the brand experience falls short of the promise, Customers feel disappointed, frustrated, and frankly, hacked off!

For example, I recently purchased my new car. Having seen the adverts, undertaking the research online, and comparing various reviews, I narrowed my choices between a GMC Yukon or a Lincoln Navigator. Therefore, the next step was a visit to the local dealers.

Let’s take a look at my two experiences and see what we all can learn about fulfilling the brand promise for our Customers at the Customer Experience level.

First: The Yukon Experience
On visiting the Yukon dealer, my wife Lorraine and I were greeted warmly. We explained what we wanted and we were walked into the back area of the dealership to be shown the latest car, amongst all the puddles and dirt.

Brands and dealers are going to great expense to show the car off in the best environment.  However, this particular dealer was not.

The test drive was good as it enabled me to get a sense of what the car felt like. Therefore, we can learn that playing with the product is a key part of decision-making. Now that I had a better idea about this part of the puzzle, I needed to know the price.

When we returned from the test drive, I asked our sales rep, how much the car cost.  He said, “It’s clear that you are at the beginning of your buying process. I would prefer to give you a price when you have seen all of the other cars you intend to review.I want to be the last guy you talk to about the car you want.”  I told him that I understood that but from a practicality standpoint, that didn’t work for us. So I asked him again, how much?  He refused. I was amazed. I said, “If we walk out of the dealership without the price, we will not return.”  He said, “Okay.” So, we left–with a bad opinion of the representative, the dealership and the brand at GMC.

What we can all learn from this: I find this amazing I even have to say this next sentence. When a Customer asks you how much a product is, tell them. In this case, refusing to tell me a price showed me that the dealer representative was simply trying to coax as much money out of me as possible. This approach does not inspire trust for a major purchase.

On to the Lincoln Experience
Our next visit was to our local  Lincoln dealership. Our experience there was quite different.  The salesman informed us he was not paid a commission, which told us there would be no high-pressure sales techniques. When we asked for the price after the test drive, he gave it to us. However, he wrote it on the back of his business card, which I didn’t think was very professional.

What we can all learn from this: Paying salespeople on commission drives the wrong behaviors. But paying people on Customer satisfaction also doesn’t ensure success, as what followed was a catalog of errors.

What Happened Next?
After discussing the matter with Lorraine, we decided to buy the Lincoln. But the only “offer” we had received from our Lincoln dealer was written on the back of a business card. We asked for a more formal quote, details of what the warranty would cover, and the payments as we decided to lease the car. We expected this to be forthcoming, so we were surprised when we were informed that this wasn’t possible and he’d given us all the figures. I asked to read the contract as I am wary of car contracts and was looking for the loopholes. He said it was a standard contract, and he couldn’t email it to us. He did tell me that I could come “collect” it. Then he said a phrase that always means the opposite of what someone really thinks. He said, “With respect (which really means they don’t respect me), these contracts are signed hundreds of times per day.” To me that means he was saying I should just trust him and not ask such annoying questions! Lincoln is a premium brand; I expect a premium experience and this was now falling far short of my expectation.

Furthermore, all correspondence with the sales representative took place with his personal Yahoo email account, with neither the dealership’s name nor Lincoln as a domain name. This is a miss as it gives this premium brand an amateur feel, i.e., less-professional.

What we can learn from this: When a Customer asks you for detailed information regarding the transaction for a major purchase (read: expensive!), provide them a professional quote detailing what they are getting and what it covers.

Despite our frustration, we placed the order (reluctantly) as their price was the lowest by far of any other quote we received. However, we received no letter of confirmation or thanks for ordering the car–no sign of appreciation or documentation of any kind. We were quoted six to eight weeks for delivery. What followed next was missed dates and failure to contact us when promised regarding the delivery (We escalated the matter to Lincoln Navigator via Twitter, and that did the magic trick in applying pressure!).

When we picked up the car the salesman acknowledged we had issues but asked that we still gave him a high Customer satisfaction score as this is what he was bonused on it. He was clearly gaming the system. When the survey came through I marked it honestly. Some parts good, some parts very poor. What happened next was amazing. the salesman wrote to us complaining that we had given him a poor score! He protested that it wasn’t the dealer’s fault it was Lincoln. I explained they were one and the same.

Suffice it to say, we were not overly impressed with our experience at Lincoln either. Nor our subsequent treatment by their Finance arm in setting up the lease payments, another whole story in itself.

What we can learn from this: Do NOT game the system. When Customers give you a low score, do not write to them and complain! The finishing touches of an experience send us subconscious signals that let us know we just paid for a prestigious service from a prestigious brand. Without these touches (a formal quote, a contract delivery, a thank you note, or even a delivery date in writing), you lose some of the prestige promised by the brand which leaves Customer feeling disappointed with the Experience–and the brand.

Buying a car is just like buying any other commodity; it’s just more expensive than most! Therefore, the value lies in the experience that you have at the dealers. It is so sad to see how great brands can get it so wrong. The money  spent on advertising, promotion, product development, brand building, and infrastructure can be destroyed in the experience with the Customer.

What has been your best or worst car buying experience? What signals did it send to you? I’d be interested to hear your take on the industry in the comments below.

Colin ShawDestroying Brand Experience, One at a Time

Change Your Mindset for Greater Productivity

by Colin Shaw on July 23, 2015

You have all done it. I know I have. It’s natural these days to stop working on a project and check your feeds, see how your post is performing, or how many favorites your latest Tweet earned. Yes, we may all be doing it, but it’s killing our chance of reaching greater productivity and harming the quality of our work.

Author Ed Batista addresses this in his post on Harvard Business Review’s blog. He compares to our global connectivity with the famous marshmallow test for kids from the late 1960s. For those of you not familiar with the marshmallow test, the researchers gave children aged 4 to 6 a choice. They could eat a Marshmallow now or wait to eat it for 15 minutes and get two marshmallows. Researchers went on to discover that the kids who waited for the second marshmallow did better in various ways in their lives, from higher SAT scores to other measures of “success.

Batista thinks that information about others around us has become the new marshmallow. When it comes to delayed gratification, however, we are all failing the test.

It’s an interesting point he brings up. There is a new video circulating about how we need to stop obsessing about our screens and enjoy our lives more. I believe in this as well, even writing about the first video I saw about this a few months ago. I think that social media to excess might be the next generation’s big regret.

Batista says that the “blips of information” we crave as grown-ups had its roots in times when we didn’t have access to so much information. As a result, our brains crave information when it is available. We know that it is valuable. So, we look for it often, even when we are embroiled in a complex task that should be our focus…and it gratifies us in the same way a marshmallow does a four-year-old.

Productivity is crucial in one’s work. I read on an airline magazine that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. The least productive day is Wednesday. I wonder, is that because engagement on Social media kicks up on hump day?

So how do we fix this? Social media is here to stay. No matter how many videos eloquently chastise us to stop wasting so much time looking at screens, we still will. At the same time, we still will need to be productive. When you look at it that way, it feels like an insurmountable problem.

There are ways to overcome one’s bad habits, however, even if they are unorthodox. Consider the method employed by a San Francisco-based entrepreneur. Maneesh Sethi, author and blogger of Hack the System hired a person on Craigslist to slap him every time he lost his focus on the task at hand. Interestingly enough, he paid them $8 an hour to do this. The results were surprising. Before the slapper, his research indicated that he wasted 38% of his time on “other interests, which you and I know as Facebook and Reddit. After the slapper, his productivity rose to 98%. Sethi tried this tactic several times with different slappers, and the results were always good, although better when the slapper was a stranger.

While the method is outlandish, the reason it works isn’t. Sethi said that once he made a commitment to change his behavior, it changed his mindset and facilitated his success. A person can change their less than desirable behavior once they decide to. Otherwise, no one would ever have quit smoking, stopped biting their nails, or turned off any of the Real Housewives programs.

Ultimately, we are emotional beings. We like how it feels to know what’s going on in the world, with our followers, with our posts, and our online community. Sometimes these breaks can serve as little breathers in a complex task.  I’m not saying that there is no place for this activity when you need to be productive. It’s when they become the focus that the problem with productivity ensues.

I like to think that if I had been chosen to do the marshmallow test that I would have been one of the brilliant tykes who waited for the 15 minutes to get an extra treat. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I would have, but my point is that I would like to have been.

So bringing that concept into my adulthood, I must make the mindset that I will resist the information marshmallows that will disrupt my day and focus on the task at hand. The memes and cat videos will just have to wait. And my reward will be that I will finish my tasks, and have plenty of time to go out and catch up on what I missed on my feeds.

How do you resist the temptation to waste time online? Tips and tricks would be great to share for all of us in the comments below.

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawChange Your Mindset for Greater Productivity

How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Website

by Colin Shaw on July 21, 2015

Many Customer’s first impression of your company come from their User Experience on your website, making the digital experience the face of your business. Considering Customers make decisions about your website based on the User Interface in about three seconds, clearly your website needs to make a great impression quickly. The question is, why is it important to make a great first impression online?

First Impressions Matter

Whether you are talking about new people in your life or new companies you are considering giving your business, the first impression is important. Some studies have revealed that even after first hand knowledge is obtained the first impression can still weigh more in a person’s opinion about the individual.

We judge all books by their covers. We judge people, too, except it isn’t the cover we judge but how they say, “hello.”According to a study by Phil McAleer, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, the first word you hear a person speak makes a first impression. He studied the reaction of 64 people to the word hello (that was part of a larger paragraph he recorded them reading). He then had 324 people listen to the recorded word, “Hello” and give their opinions. Most of them agreed on the personality traits of the individual based on their voices.

Key Elements that New Users View

So what makes a great first impression (the “Hello”) the User Experience on your website says? The answer, like many things, depends on who is looking. Subconsciously, different signals in the user interface send messages to be interpreted by the individual loading the site. For example, what a job applicant is looking for in a digital experience is a lot different than what the average Customer wants.  Furthermore, since so many visits are initiated on mobile devices today, your site needs to make that impression quickly and in fewer pixels.

But no matter who the person is or why they are loading the site, or even what device they use to load it, there are few things that are undeniably important to making a great first impression with your Customers on their digital experience.

According to Conversionxl.com, a recent eye tracking study research shows some key elements that are critical to viewers in their User experience. If they found these elements (and liked them) users spent more time on the page. These key elements included:

  •      Your Logo:  The average time spent focuses here was 6.48 seconds
  •      Navigation Menu: 6.44 seconds
  •      Search Box: 6.0 seconds
  •      Written Content: 5.59 seconds
  •      Bottom Edge of Website: 5.25 seconds

Recently, I realized that my site needed an overhaul. It was time because I realized that the first impression I was sending with my old site was one that was going to be challenging to overcome. I am pleased with the end product.

If your Customers are using their digital experience to create their first impression with your organization, with what will they be greeted in the user interface? Will it be an easy to navigate, visually appealing site that seems to anticipate the needs of their user experience? Will it load quickly on their mobile device or web browser or show them the hourglass or spinning wheel of death? First impressions are the most important ones; so make sure yours is the one you want.

How did you design your digital experience to make a great first impression on Customers? We’d all be interested to hear your insight in the comments below.

featured-V3_ricoh

Ricoh – How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 Months Webinar –RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawHow to Make a Great First Impression with Your Website

Training Employees on Nonverbal Clues

by Colin Shaw on July 16, 2015

When you hear a person (read Customer) sigh, what do you think they are communicating? Is it sadness? Frustration? Exhaustion? All three? Chances are, it’s a subconscious communication of many things, including all of the above. It’s important to identify what nonverbal clues like a sigh communicates—whether you are the one that heard it or the one that is doing it.

The University of Oslo researched the motivation and interpretation of sighs in a series of three studies and concluded following about the act of sighing:

  • A sigh typically signifies a negative mood (e.g., disappointment, frustration, defeat, ennui, or wistfulness).
  • It happens with equal frequency in public and private, an indication that it might not be intentional communication (read: a subconscious reaction).
  • People mostly interpret sighing from others as conveying a negative emotion (in the study, ten times more often than positive emotions), usually sadness.
  • People interpret their own sighs as frustration.
  • When participants were observed assembling a complicated puzzle, 77% of them sighed, but most of them denied they did.

In a study from the University of Leuven, researchers suggest that sighing can also be a physical and mental reset for your body. They looked at the breathing patterns of participants for 20 minutes. They found right before the subject sighed, their breathing pattern varied. Sometimes it was shallower than before and sometimes it was faster. They discovered that when you breathe the same way all the time, your lung function is less efficient. So a sigh can stretch them out again, and create a feeling of relief.

Reading the Subconscious Signal of a Sigh

I found these results interesting. I know I must sigh, but like the puzzlers in the Oslo study, I don’t notice it every time I do it. Also, I am not always negative when I sigh—sometimes I am just happy or content. Or maybe glad to be sitting down for a minute. I’m sure many of you are the same.

However, when the researchers looked at it in more depth, they revealed sighs are a form of nonverbal communication, whether they are intended that way or not. And the nonverbal communication of a sigh is that you are feeling something negative like impatience or sadness most of the time.

When we train front line people on how to read nonverbal communication, we recognize this is a critical part of emotional intelligence. We all do it all the time. We know when our significant other has crossed arms they are feeling stern (or cold. I prefer that one, because it’s usually easier to fix than stern). We know when someone isn’t meeting our eye they are hiding their feelings from us. We know when someone spits the words out, they aren’t happy. How many times have you heard in the midst of an argument, “It’s not what you said! It’s how you said it!”? Non-verbal cues, like sighing, are another part of this interpretation as well. When training front-line teams, it is critical they can interpret not only what Customers nonverbal clues communicate but also what they communicate with their own.

Why Do You Sigh?

So if sighs are a common part of your nonverbal communication, and sighs have a general association with negative emotions, does frequent sighing make you a negative person? Maybe or maybe not. But what the study revealed is that negative is what people interpret when you do it.

Considering that most people interpret sighs as a negative nonverbal communication, you would be wise to gain self-awareness about the frequency and the motivation for your sighing. Even if it isn’t driven by a glass-half-empty mindset, that’s what it usually communicates. Furthermore, you aren’t always aware you are sighing, so you could ostensibly communicate this negativity more often than you think.

So…what do you think? Do you think sighing is a negative nonverbal communication? I’d be interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:


RICOH Canada had a vision:
to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!


Colin Shaw
is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawTraining Employees on Nonverbal Clues

3 Ways to Tell if Your Customer Relationship is All About You

by Colin Shaw on July 14, 2015

Sometimes we have a relationship we think is good, but it really isn’t. It’s true in friendships, marriages, and yes, even business relationships. There are some signs that your Customer relationship is all about you, or one-sided, and they are easier to spot than you think.

Many of the things that make personal relationships fail make your relationship with Customers one-sided. I wrote a blog a while back about some friends who only called me when they wanted something. Over time, I learned they aren’t really friends. If one side has to make all the effort, it’s not a productive, equal, or fruitful relationship. Many organizations are guilty of this behavior whether they realize it or not. The first step for change, however, requires awareness.

To that end, here are three ways you can identify how you are making your relationship with Customers one-sided:

#1:  You don’t take no for an answer.

If your technique is to keep trying to overcome objections until you get to “Yes,” you are not asking for the business; you are demanding it. This method is not the way to set up a relationship that is open and honest with your current and future customers. Instead, you encourage them to find a new relationship, a competitor who listens to what they have to say.

#2:  Your Customer retention plan includes penalties or fines if they want to end the relationship.

Locking someone in an agreement by threats of penalties is not a great way to start a relationship. Is this a relationship or an indentured servitude? It virtually guarantees they will want to get out of this arrangement once they become a “client.” But since you have the handy fine in place, they will have no choice but to bear it out until the contract ends. Fines and penalties are in place to protect you from losses. If you find that the Customer is always winning, and you are not, this is not good for business. From an operational standpoint you can’t always be the one that loses. Of course, Customers can’t always feel like they lose either. That’s terrible from a retention standpoint. A relationship is a two-way street. It should build on a win/win foundation.

#3:  Your policy is to renew this cycle, over and over again.

Maybe these two sound familiar, Maybe you think I am naïve or that my label of one-sided is code for “how it’s done.” However, Customer Centricity puts the Customer first, not the organization. Those that don’t put the Customer first are more likely to have these types of policies, creating relationships that exhibit classic signs of one-sidedness. If you support either of these concepts, maybe it’s time for you to take another look at the relationship you set up with your Customers.

Is Your Relationship with Your Customers All about You?

So how do you know you are in a One-Sided relationship, and on the wrong side of it? That’s easy: the relationship leaves you feeling emotionally spent instead of recharged. If you feel drained by it, threatened into it or afraid to find out what would happen if you were to change it, then you have a classic one-sided relationship.

Relationships are everywhere in your life, good and bad. Mostly we keep the good relationships close and find a way to kick the bad ones to the curb. It is easy to imagine this relationship playing out in a romantic sense. It can sometimes be harder to see in “other” relationships–especially if you are the one making it that way.

What are some other signs of a one-sided relationship? I would love to hear what you think some other signs show an organization is only thinking of themselves and not the Customer.

featured-V3_ricohRicoh – How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 Months Webinar 
RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

 

Colin Shaw3 Ways to Tell if Your Customer Relationship is All About You

Women Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands

by Colin Shaw on July 9, 2015

The demand for corporate social responsibility continues to sweep the brand marketplace. According to new research from Nielsen, corporate social responsibility is important as a benefit to positive branding efforts.  We also know for your brand reputation positive press is key. What you may not realize, however, it is also critical to winning the hearts and minds of the coveted group of women consumers.

Competition in the marketplace is fierce. Every brand needs to find any way possible to differentiate themselves from their competitors. My angle is typically about Customer Experience. My regular readers know that how your Customers feel about your experience is a big part (over 50% based on our research) of how they feel about your brand and their loyalty to it. I regularly beat the drum of evoking the right emotions from your Customers with your Customer Experience and brand promise.

Women make the lion’s share of shopping decisions in many categories. Therefore, appealing to what matters to them is important. The Nielsen Global Survey discovered a new way one could differentiate their brand and evoke positive emotions from its female Customers: through promoting their social responsibility programs. It is important to note that while the greater impact for most of the social responsibility programs was on female consumers, male consumers also preferred companies that go green, create sustainable products and give back to society.

Women said they felt strongly connected or somewhat agreed with the following causes:

  • 63% to increase access to clean water; men were at  56%
  • 57% to eradicating world hunger; men were at 50%
  • 55% to combating communicable diseases; men were at 47%
  • 55% to reducing child mortality; men were at 45%

To see the Nielsen chart,  click here.

Corporate responsibility is growing as an important litmus test for consumers. A 2014 Nielsen survey revealed 55% (global average) of respondents, male and female, would pay more for products from companies with a commitment to corporate social responsibility. This percentage represented an increase of 10% over the previous three years (45% global average in 2011). To see all the numbers from the survey, click here.

Being genuine and appropriate is the best way to brand using social responsibility as a platform. In other words, just slapping any old socially responsible program on your brand doesn’t work as well as one that “fits” your brand. Nielsen learned the most successful companies branding on social responsibility identified a social cause internally they felt important to their organization and matched it to what consumers expect from them based on their product or service. This 4-minute video by Nielsen explains it best.

Nielsen makes it clear your brand needs to make strong connections to appropriate socially responsible programs to evoke the proper emotions from its Customers, particularly when women are your targets. These should be important to your Customers, and also important to your organization to have the most appeal in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, these should not be kept a secret but shouted from the mountaintops to differentiate your brand in the crowded and fierce marketplace we contend with today.

We know that how Customers FEEL about your brand, regardless of their gender, is critical to your bottom line. What we are learning through Nielsen’s research is that how they feel about how you generate that bottom line—with social responsibility—is also critical to how they FEEL about your brand. Especially, as it turns out, when you consider your female Customers.

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar, “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawWomen Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands

Driving Value by Driving Emotions

by Colin Shaw on July 7, 2015

When it comes to Customer loyalty and retention, most organizations want to appeal to the rational side of their Customers. What I know from over a decade in the Customer Experience game, however, is that rationality has less to do with it than you think. Over 50% of the Customer’s Experience is tied to their emotions. So if you want to earn a Customer’s loyalty and keep them coming back to you, you have to embrace the emotional side.

Maybe you believe me already, which is great. Maybe you are ready to do something about it, but you might have questions, such as:

  • How do you create a deliberate emotional experience for your Customers that keeps them coming back?
  • What emotions should we be trying to evoke?
  • When it comes to forecasting, how do you use emotional data to predict the future?

And probably most importantly,

  • How do you know if it’s working?

Let’s touch on a general answer for each question for now to get you started on your path to a better Customer Experience.

How to Create a Deliberate Customer Experience?

Many organizations think they have no control over how a Customer feels. They instead choose to create an experience that is rationally sound and efficient–although typically only efficient for the company, not the Customer. They look at their experience from the inside facing out. To create a deliberate Customer experience, it is essential is to take the Outside-In Approach, which means to look at the experience as if you were a Customer. You must see it as if for the first time, and note how you feel throughout each moment. This awareness helps you understand how emotions drive a Customer’s behavior. Additionally, you get the opportunity to change how these moments make Customers feel moving forward.

Here is a short video that explains in more detail how this worked for the Norwich Group in the UK.

What Emotions Should the Customer Experience Evoke?

Emotions play an important role in the motivations behind people’s behavior. When it comes to Customer Loyalty and Retention, some of these emotions drive value while others do not. We undertook years of research with the London Business School to determine what emotions are best for driving the behavior we want. After 50,000 participants answered 1.25 million questions about what they want and 1 million questions about how they felt, we learned there are 20 emotions that drive and destroy value in a Customer Experience:

The emotional engagement one feels with an organization is what we call an Emotional Signature.  First, you must determine what Emotional Signature you want for the business and then design an experience that evokes those emotions at the moments you determined in your earlier outside-in approach.

How Do You Use Emotional Data to Predict the Future?

Predictive analytics explains how some organizations hypothesize a future outcome based on existing patterns from data sets in the past. The concept here is that the data exists that can help all of us improve our operations and make better decisions for our Customers.

The predictions are only as good as your data. To use Emotional Data to predict future behavior for your Customers, you must have detailed emotional data to analyze. If you do have detailed data regarding the emotional state of your Customers related to your Experience, you would have a better chance of making sound predictions. If you don’t, you are just taking a lot of time to come up with your best guess.

If you want to learn more about Predictive Analytics, this article in the Harvard Business Review is a great start.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

When it comes to measurement of your Emotional Signature work for your Customer Experience, a great place to start is with the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS is a tool designed to measure the loyalty of your Customers. Research shows Customers with a High NPS are less price-sensitive, spend more than Customer with lower scores and create higher margins for an organization. They are also responsible for the coveted “word of mouth” referrals of which every organization dreams of increasing.

Measuring an increase in your Customers with a high Net Promoter Score is for the time being the best way to determine if your efforts to evoke the proper emotions during your Customer Experience are working. One of our great success stories was with Maersk Shipping Lines, the largest shipping container company in the world with revenues in the billions (with a b). Using our systems, they improved their NPS from a -10 to a +30 in 30 months—a 40-point improvement.

To learn more about this particular case, please watch the webinar here.

Are You Ready to Get the Answers to Your Questions?

I realize this is tricky, that emotions aren’t very “Business-like.” However, the emotions you evoke in your Experience have a significant influence on your ability to retain a Customer. It is essential to recognize this and also to measure the ability of your Customer Experience to deliver the right emotions to generate the best results.

The answers to your questions are available if you are ready to know them. But be aware, it will require in some cases difficult change and for many organizations a different approach to business as usual.

What do you think? Are you ready to get answers to your questions about the emotions in your Customer Experience?

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

 

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawDriving Value by Driving Emotions

What Customer-Centric Companies Must Do To Become Customer-Obsessed

by Michael Lowenstein on July 5, 2015

Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC, is Thought Leadership Principal for Beyond Philosophy

In building relationships with customers, and value for them, my long-time observation is that most organizations tend to progress through several stages of performance as they are becoming truly customer-centric: a) customer awareness, b) customer sensitivity, c) customer focus, and d) customer obsession.

Here is the ‘executive summary’ version of some conditions of each stage, and how the movement to customer obsession takes place within the enterprise.

Customer Awareness

– Customers are known, but in the aggregate – Organization believes it can select its customers and understand their needs – Measurement of performance is rudimentary, if it exists at all; and customer data are siloed – Traditional, hierarchical, top-down management model, ‘chimneyed’ or ‘smokestack’ communication (goes up or down, but not horizontal) with little evidence of teaming

Customer Sensitivity

– Customers are known, but still mostly in the aggregate – Customer service is somewhat more evident (though still viewed as a cost center), with a focus on complaint and problem resolution (but not proactive complaint generation; internal groups tend to point fingers and blame each other for negative customer issues – Measurement is mostly around customer attitudes and functional transactions, i.e. satisfaction, with little awareness of emotional relationship drivers – Principally traditional, hierarchical, top-down management model, ‘chimneyed’ or ‘smokestack’ communication (goes up or down, but not horizontal) with some evidence of teaming (mostly in areas of complaint resolution)

Customer Focus

– Customers and both known and valued, down to the individual level, and they are recognized as having different needs, both functional and emotional – Customer life cycle is front-and-center; and performance measurement is much more about emotion and value drivers than satisfaction – Service and value provision is regarded as an enterprise priority; and customer stabilization and recovery are goals when problems or complaints arise – Communication and collaboration with customers, between employees, and between employees and customers is featured – Management model and style is considerably more horizontal, with greater emphasis on teaming to improve customer value processes

It’s notable that, at this more evolved and advanced stage of enterprise customer-centricity, complaints are thought of more in terms of a life cycle component, and recovery is more of a strategy than resolution:

Customer Obsession

– Throughout the organization, customer needs and expectations – especially those that are emotional – are well understood, and response is appropriate (and often proactive)

– Everyone is involved in providing value to customers – from C-suite to front-line – and everyone understands his/her role. Customer behavior is recognized as essential to enterprise success, and optimal relationships are sought

– Performance measurement is focused, and shared, on what most monetizes customer behavior (loyalty, emotion, and communication metrics such as brand bonding and advocacy, replacing satisfaction and recommendation)

– Customer service (along with pipelines and processes) is an enterprise priority, and seen as a vital, and profitable, element of value delivery

– Management model is far more horizontal, replacing traditional hierarchy; and there is an emphasis on teaming, and inclusion of customers, to create or enhance value

Companies that are customer-obsessed, and what makes them both unique and successful, have been extensively profiled by consultants and the business press. Often, they go so far as to create emotionally-driven, engaged and even branded experiences for their customers, strategically differentiating them from their peers.

In addition, these companies focus on the complete customer life cycle, and much more on retention, loyalty and risk mitigation (and even winback) than acquisition. Support experiences are strategic, nimble and seamless, and often omni-channel. Multiple sources of data are used to develop insights. Recognizing the information needs of their customers, they invest in altruistic content creation (over advertising); and they communicate proactively and in as personalized a manner as possible.

Customer obsession, what I refer to as ‘inside-out’ customer-centricity, has been a frequent subject of my blogs and articles. We’ve seen many examples of companies that have, or created, these kinds of cultures and levels of value delivery: Zappos, SunTrust Bank, Wegmans, Southwest Airlines, IKEA, Virgin, Rackspace, Disney, Zane’s Cycles, USAA, Target, Ritz Carlton, IBM, QVC, Umpqua Bank, Costa Coffee, etc. One of Albert Einstein’s iconic quotes reflects the complete dedication, of resources and values, needed for an organization to optimize its relationships with customers: “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.” Mastery requires, as well, a storehouse of experience coming from experimentation; so, just like in the pole vault and high jump, we can expect that the customer-centricity bar will continue to be raised.

Michael LowensteinWhat Customer-Centric Companies Must Do To Become Customer-Obsessed

Using the Subconscious Cues to Drive Customer Behavior Works

by Colin Shaw on June 30, 2015

Earlier this month, the “Women of Algiers” painting by Pablo Picasso sold for $179,365,000. There are many psychological theories regarding the subconscious cues that occur at art auctions.  What happens at art auctions can give us all some insight on what’s going on with our Customers, too—although I’d wager few of us are working in the $180 million range!

When I was listening to this story on the news, the reporter mentioned an auctioneer’s trick is to nod at the bidders in the room when it is their “turn” to bid. Apparently this small cue can encourage the bidder to place another bid even if they weren’t planning on it.

Subconscious cues are everywhere that drive Customer behavior. What else can we as marketers learn about Customers by watching the behavior employed at Art Auctions?

  • The Hammer Price is a trick.  The hammer is the auctioneer’s indication the item has sold at the price he said. However, it’s a trick. The hammer price, what they call the price announced when he smacks that hammer down and says, “Sold to the person with $180 million dollars!”  does not include the commission of the auction house (Sotheby’s charges a buyer’s premium, which is typically 20% on the first $100,000 and then drops to a lower percentage of 12% on anything above that), nor does it include the taxes that are then to be paid (VAT or Value-Added Tax on consumer spending). Essentially, by not including all the sums involved in the “hammer price,” the buyer feels like they are paying less than they are, so they feel comfortable bidding more.
  • Being the top bidder feels good. It’s called the “endowment effect,” which is a term describing how people assign more value to the item because they own it. It is meant to describe how a person feels when the become the top bidder. For that period in the auction, the item is theirs. So they are more likely to pay more for the item so they don’t lose it. Often, they feel they are losing something if they don’t stay the top bidder, so they will bid higher than they anticipated just to keep that from happening.
  • When bidders spot a bargain, in their minds they already own it.  In the art world, the auction price is public. It is always considered a benchmark. Many bidders have the perception that the price is “underbid,” which makes them feel like they are getting a bargain. A great side effect of this perception is the person feels like they already own the bargain. Now the bidder subconsciously discounts the initial public price sum  from the actual price they pay to keep the item (that they feel like they own already because of the “endowment effect”). This subconscious thinking process makes  it seem like they are bidding less than they are.

The auction is about connecting the buyer to the highest possible price.  If ever there were a real life depiction of the law of supply and demand, this particular event is it. The people that want it determine the price of the item. It’s the auction house’s job to make sure that the item fetches the highest price possible. Hence, the subconscious cues they send to bidders.

It’s astonishing to me that a subconscious cue encouraged someone to spend this much money.  However, it certainly supports the idea that the whole area of subconscious cues and encouraging Customers to behave a certain way is powerful! How are you as marketers using this subconscious experience to your advantage?

We always say that over 50% of the Customer Experience is based on a Customer’s emotions. Clearly that’s true for Art Customers, but it’s also true for yours. Many of these emotions are subconscious and are evoked by subconscious cues in your experience. In most exemplary Customer Experiences, the cues are designed to help evoke positive emotions that build your Customer’s loyalty and retention. The important thing here is that they are deliberate—just like the hammer price and the auctioneer’s nod.

What subconscious cues are you building into your marketing campaigns and Customers  experience today?

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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author offour bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Colin ShawUsing the Subconscious Cues to Drive Customer Behavior Works

What Target Is Doing to Regain Consumer Trust – – And One of The Most Effective Things They (and GM) Could/Should Do

by Michael Lowenstein on June 29, 2015

Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC, is Thought Leadership Principal for Beyond Philosophy

Target has issued press releases, and been on television, speaking to the fact that they are bringing in new senior IT execs to oversee customer data management. On the company web site, Target has begun posting information about initiatives and programs designed to offer customers greater purchase security. This is a small (it is not prominent on the site, requiring some searching) but much needed first step in rebuilding consumer trust:https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue.aspx Target would be well-served in building awareness of where to locate this information.

These efforts, however, only scratch the surface on what would help Target make large deposits to the severely depleted consumer trust account. While we’re on the subject, the same holds true for General Motors, which has recalled 6.1 million of its vehicles for operating problems going back almost a decade, at a cost (so far) of close to $1 billion, not to mention the many billions more in lost customer trust and brand reputation impairment, with little in the way of image recovery except notices to customers and an apology from the new CEO.

Here is one of the things they both could do to bring customers closer, and make them part of the image rebuilding effort.

An online community can be an effective lever for reconstructing and stabilizing brand reputation. That opportunity has been available for companies which have experienced negative press and impaired customer perception, such as Toyota, JetBlue, and FedEx. My colleagues and I have been observing how Target’s data breaches, which have impacted over 100 million shoppers during the 2013 holiday shopping season, resulted in a draining of the emotional bank account of customer trust. This has hurt the company financially, but there is also a ‘long tail’ of negative enterprise reputation and image to be addressed.

Online community has the power to help bring back customer and public trust in Target, through collaborative dialogue and assurances that the company is serious about taking responsibility for the data issues, and letting consumers know that strategic plans and processes are in place to fix the problems. Most customers appreciate and want more of this kind of personalization, a relationship, and an emotional connection. Community would provide this for Target, an integral element of its brand trust revitalization.

It’s up to organizations to a) identify the strongest emotional drivers for customers and b) effectively leverage them. Successful organizations have either evolved to do this as part of their operational and shared values DNA , or they have begun to recognize the importance of image and social responsibility in their communication programs, by placing customers’ interests ahead of the enterprise’s. They can build a veritable bank account of trust; and high trust, and the positive reputation and image it breeds, is an enduring strategic advantage, a definite competitive differentiator. And, personalization truly optimizes the overall customer experience, perhaps its most important benefit.

Doing this contributes to making an enterprise like Target feel more human, transparent, authentic and honest, and accessible to customers and other stakeholders. Community also enhances the branded experience, and it makes the customers active partners in shaping Target’s future reputation and image. It’s not the only trust-building answer for Target, but online community would be a major component of this effort.

The Target corporate site has a lot of info about mission and goals, giving and service, diversity and inclusion, the shopping experience, etc. But, unless I’m missing something (and apologies to Target if I am), there is no online community. And, that is an missed opportunity to have secure discussions, generate and track ideas, test or validate products and services, address issues, etc. – building trust and value for Target stakeholders.

Business-to-consumer companies such as Domino’s Pizza, Victoria’s Secret, and Starbucks are active users of information from their customer communities. Starbucks, for example, learned via its community that customers were not staying in the stores when the batteries on their smart phones ran out of power, leaving to go back home or to their offices to recharge. Time in the store equates to spending on coffee and other products, so Starbucks began testing wireless recharging mats at various locations. Domino’s learned from its community that providing a movie makes a great accompaniment to a pizza delivered to customers’ homes; and, in the U.K, Domino’s has partnered with Lionsgate Pictures to offer a code for free streaming movies when a pizza is ordered.

This is the proverbial tip of the iceberg for how insights from private online customer communities can be leveraged, and how communication with customers can be enhanced. Communities offer data that can be used to recruit advocates, address customer concerns and complaints (as in the cases of Target and GM), and provide customers with information on new product and service initiatives. Again, for Target as well as GM, an online community would be a major image-enhancing step forward, helping them regain trust and a positive image.

Not only could these companies establish customer communities, they should.

Michael LowensteinWhat Target Is Doing to Regain Consumer Trust – – And One of The Most Effective Things They (and GM) Could/Should Do