3 Reasons Why People Say One Thing and Do Another

by Colin Shaw on May 22, 2015

Last week the UK elected a new government. All the polls leading up to the election said it would be a Hung Parliament, i.e. no one political party would be the outright winner/have a majority. On election night the Conservatives won a majority—a great shock to everybody!

So why did people say they were going to vote one way and then change their mind? My take is people often say one thing and do another.

Since many marketers are also responsible for polling for their brand, maybe we can glean some wisdom from the polling failure by taking a closer look at why 3 Reasons Why People Say One Thing and Do Another.

Reason #1: It is a complex process to understand what people (and Customers) want.

The pollsters weren’t trying to get it wrong. They were earnest in their efforts to get a sample on which they could predict where the election was headed. So they, like all of us, were scratching their heads when the dust settled, and the Conservatives won a clear majority. Even if they were reaching a broad sample of the British population, the answers they got back might not have been accurate. Why? Because sometimes the voter didn’t know what they wanted yet. What they wanted for the election was “hidden” in their subconscious, down in the emotions.

What Marketers Can Learn From This?

Many times there is a hidden part of how a Customer feels that drives their behavior. You might complete research where Customers tell you they want something, implement that something, and see no change in Customer behavior. It’s important to look for the causes of the behavior to see what Customers really want. We find most often in our work that these causes are hidden down in the emotional subconscious.

Reason #2: People have two ways of thinking about things and whichever one is in control at the moment will direct their behavior.

We know there is a big difference between what people say and what people do.Sometimes people don’t know what they want until they are forced to make a decision, as in the voting booth. However, the way people make decisions many times, is with their heart not their head.  In Professor Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” we learn about the System One (emotional, instinctive, fast) and System Two (methodical, logic-based, slow) thinking. On the poll inquiry, they could have used System One thinking, answering quickly without using their more rational thinking from System Two. However, System Two might have showed up for the actual vote. Or vice versa. It is, in many ways, mysterious.

What Marketers Can Learn From This?

Essentially, the difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do is the core message of our Emotional Signature. People are not rational, so basing your actions on research addressing the rational side of your experience is not going to get you to where you need to go. Every brand has an experience that generates emotions that drive your Customer’s behavior—and they are not rationally based. Exploring the emotions connected to your brand is going to give you a much better basis for predicting how Customers react.

Reason #3: Marketers need to consider how the data is being collected.  

In an article on the Huffington Post on the polling debacle, a correspondent argued old methodologies for polling might have contributed to the error. Polling results come from sampling the population, usually via their home phone. As many of you can imagine, it is increasingly difficult to reach people on a home number. Why do pollsters still use the home phone in 2015 you might ask? Because there is a consensus amongst pollsters that mobile phones “are unreliable.” But frankly, if you aren’t reaching me on my mobile you can rely on not reaching me. I have a feeling that’s true for more than one of you reading this.

What Marketers Can Learn From This?

It’s important to change your methods of communication if you want to get a “sample” of the population. Don’t let the way things have always been done be the driver for your methods.

Politics and polling go together. They are essential to those who run and those who vote. However, in the election in the UK last week, the pollsters failed to provide an accurate representation of voters’ intentions, leaving many wondering if the methodology needs a closer look. My take is it probably should, but also that human irrationality and emotions played a part in the inaccuracy as well.

What do you think marketers can learn from this real-world example? I’d be interested to hear your NON POLITICAL thoughts in the comments below.

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 Shaw3 Reasons Why People Say One Thing and Do Another

Chipotle Makes Good on Promise to Lose GMOs

by Colin Shaw on May 21, 2015

Chipotle just announced they removed all the ingredients from their menu items that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In a two-year process prompted by consumers’ growing concerns about the safety of long-term consumption of GMOs, Chipotle’s leadership feels this is about transparency and trust as much as health.

Two years ago, the fast-casual chain revealed that GMOs permeated their menu, advising diners wishing to avoid them to order the pork carnitas, sour cream, and guacamole. They did so without concern for losing business but instead with a concern for transparency. In 2013, Chris Arnold, Chipotle Spokesman explained in an article on Bloomberg business that revealing the presence of GMOs in their foods “engenders more trust when you’re forthcoming about the food you serve. Any downside there may be…is going to be eclipsed by the upsides with being transparent.

There are several reasons I like this move by Chipotle. Here are a few of them.

Chipotle is embracing a consumer-led concern.  Rising awareness of minding what we eat drove Chipotle’s rid their menu (as much as possible) of GMOs. This shows that Chipotle hears the concerns their Customers voice and responds to them by completely changing how they do business with their suppliers.

Transparency is critical to creating trust for people.  When a business is honest about how they do what they do, the most basic definition of transparency for business, they give Customers the information they need to make a judgment about the brand. In this case, Chipotle was transparent about the use of GMOs two years ago, and now about how they got rid of them to the best of their ability. They consider it part of their “food integrity journey.” When you trust a brand, you form an emotional attachment to it, and, as a result, develop loyalty.

They put the emphasis on the Customer, not on the Process. The truth is, it is no simple affair for a large chain of restaurants to eradicate GMOs from their menu—they are ubiquitous in processed foods, particularly corn and flour tortillas. However, because it is important to their Customers, they did it anyway. Chipotle worked with suppliers directly to get them to plant non-GMO corn varieties. They also replace soybean oil with sunflower oil.

They realize they always need to improve their experience.  We always tell our clients that building a great Customer Experience is a process, not an event. There is always a need to re-examine and redesign your experience, as your experience quickly becomes business as usual. Furthermore, you are often compared to the best experience out there—even if it isn’t in the same industry. To frame this concept using Chipotle’s process, they want to eliminate the presence of GMOs further by getting it out of the meat supply in the form of the feed the animals eat. They have already also identified eliminating preservatives and hydrogenated oils as a future goal.

When it comes to a Customer Experience that promotes trust, there is no question that transparency is a great tool. But taking on the difficult work of implementing change is another important tool. Putting the Customer-led innovations first is not always easy, and that was true for Chipotle’s work in eliminating the GMOs. It’s nice to see that a fast casual chain like Chipotle embraces these concepts in such a public way. I for one am anxious to see how this plays out for them in both stock price and the court of public opinion.

Are you more likely to eat at Chipotle based on this announcement? Why or why not? I’d be interested to hear discussion in the comments below.

Join Colin and his fellow Customer Experience experts in a complimentary webinar, “Map, Model & Mobilize Customer Experience” to learn real-world examples of how brands are delivering exemplary Customer Experiences. As a bonus, all attendees receive Colin’s complimentary e-Book, “Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience.” Register here to 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 ShawChipotle Makes Good on Promise to Lose GMOs

Would Consumers (Really) Spend More For Better Service?

by Michael Lowenstein on May 20, 2015

Lately, there has been a fair amount of productive dialogue as to whether service and experience are the same thing, i.e. a rose by any other name. It’s pretty well understood that service is a component of overall experiential value delivery. Sometimes it is differentiating, and offers consumers definite benefits – such as practiced by companies like Zappos, Wegmans, Ritz Carlton, Rackspace, Southwest Airlines, Trader Joe’s, Amazon, Baptist Health Care, and Zane’s Cycles – and sometimes it is just one of multiple factors which contribute to customer loyalty or disloyalty behavior. Bob Thompson chronicled a part of this very well in a recent, widely-read, blog, where he looked at customer experience vs. customer engagement. http://customerthink.com/customer-experience-vs-customer-engagement-a-distinction-without-a-difference/

Customer service and support is, then, an element of both engagement and experience; but, it is often used as a surrogate term, to be inserted in place of either engagement or experience.

Recently, we’ve seen a public example of performance results from concentrating principally on service enhancement and relabeling, or mislabeling, it as ‘customer experience’, while somewhat neglecting product: http://customerthink.com/casualties-of-highly-competitive-commoditized-services-marketing-lets-start-with-sprints-framily/ The tacit belief at Sprint was that service, largely on its own, would drive customer behavior.

All of that said, there’s little argument that customer service, especially when practiced from a proactive and emotionally-driven base, has economic value and should be seen as a contributor to enterprise profitability rather than merely a passive, reactive, even grudging cost of doing business. As a support for this proposition, It is also often hypothesized that consumers would spend more with companies providing better service. In this post, we’ll look at whether, and to what degree, this is true, false, or somewhere in between.

For several years, up through its purchase by Oracle in 2012, RightNow Technologies commissioned a study (conducted by Harris Interactive), where they stated that great customer service (which they labeled as experience) influences downstream purchasing decisions – at least in online retail. A key finding was that half of these consumers indicated that they would buy from an online retailer if they had great customer service or a previous positive experience. After this positive result, 31% of consumers said they purchased more from the retailer. Overall, RightNow found that 86% of consumers would spend more for a better customer experience (CEI Report, 2011, RightNow)

Oracle released a research report in 2012 – “Why Customer Satisfaction Is No Longer Good Enough” – in which it was revealed that 81% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a superior customer service experience, with nearly half (44%) willing to pay a premium of more than 5% (Oracle Press Release, December 2012).

More specific, so that the reader doesn’t have to parse whether the study is addressing customer service or customer experience, was the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, a 2011 survey covering the U.S. and nine other countries. The study explored attitudes and preferences toward customer service. Among key findings, the study identified that 70% of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they felt provided excellent customer service. This was significantly higher than corresponding 2010 results (58% of Americans would spend 9% more). Note: The flip side is that two-thirds of consumers said companies aren’t paying enough attention to service: 42% said companies don’t do anything extra to keep their business, and 22% thought that, through passive service, companies take their business for granted.

Back to spending more for service. The American Express study found that the willingness to spend more for superior service wasn’t confined to the U.S. The average amount of additional spend ranged from 7% to 22%:

– India, 22%

– Australia, 12%

– Canada, 12%

– U.K.. 10%

– France, 9%

– Italy, 9%

– Germany, 8%

– Netherlands, 7%

Looks compelling, doesn’t it? Well, though it seems like improved service could represent a major business opportunity, this is one of those instances where there is a big difference between what customers say and what customers actually do.

Before companies begin investing in improved customer service so they can raise prices, they need, for example, to know exactly what processes to upgrade, and to what degree. This requires application of research techniques like threshold analysis so they can determine which, of multiple alternatives – more service staff, cut waiting time, enhanced self-service, use of service support communities, improve first contact resolution, enhance customer interaction capabilities, proactive complaint generation and handling, etc. – to improve.

Even, however, if companies know how much, and where, to spend on service improvement, they have to be fully assured that customers would see the difference and be willing to reward them, financially, for it. Beyond the resources expended for enhanced service, they need to create brand image recognition that this company now provides service that is so superior to competitors that there would be real willingness for customers to spend more. That’s a very tall requirement, in the scaling Mt. Everest category.

Sometimes, like Sprint, companies will invest in improved customer service, but not manage the value of the overall experience well enough, and customers will still defect. More often, even if targeted research and pilot testing more accurately reflects customer spending behavior, there isn’t much (or not enough) concrete data to motivate businesses to spend on better service, such that they would reap the rewards of increased customer dollars – so, they don’t.

Michael LowensteinWould Consumers (Really) Spend More For Better Service?

Have You Done These 3 Things to Improve Your CX?

by Colin Shaw on May 19, 2015

Having a great Customer Experience is no accident. Companies that excel in providing a great Customer Experience engaged in lots of deliberate designs to make their experience what it is today. Most importantly, those that are most successful have a special focus on the hidden experience, the emotional and subconscious parts of the experience that affect the behavior of their Customers.  To that end, here are three things all great CX companies do that you need to emulate in your Customer Experience.

# 1: Top CX Companies Predict Customer Behavior

Predicting how your Customers will behave is an important key in designing an exceptional Customer Experience. You might have heard the story about Target predicting when women became pregnant by analyzing their purchases. They were good at it; they eventually knew a 15-year-old girl was pregnant before her father did. How did they get so good at this? Predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics describes how a company looks at data sets to identify patterns of behavior in Customer groups. Then, based on these patterns, they hypothesize outcomes for future behavior. Predictions, in this case, are only as good as your data.

Target used predictive analytics to determine the Customer’s behavior when she learns she is pregnant. They chose to identify this particular group because they saw the value in hooking this group early. New parents buy lots of merchandise! They saw that women Customers who later had children began buying more of certain vitamins (zinc, calcium, and magnesium), unscented lotions and soaps, and extra-big bags of cotton balls (closer to their delivery date). All in all, they found 25 different products whose purchase indicated a woman might be expecting. By combing through their data banks, they could identify these future parents, estimate their due date, and “target” them to be loyal Customers.

For a more detailed account of how Target achieved this exercise, read the full story here.

#2: They Identify the Hidden CX and Design for it.

In many ways Customer Experience is like an iceberg. You think you have a good idea of what makes it up, but the majority of it is hiding under the water. The rational experience is sticking out at the top, it’s the part you can see because it isn’t hidden. However, as anyone can tell you who has worked on improving Customer Experience, it’s the hidden part of it, the emotional and subconscious parts of the experience, what we often refer to as the irrational experience that needs a specific focus.

The emotion your Experience evokes drives the behavior of your Customers and affects how they remember your experience. These emotions are both conscious and subconscious. However, because so much of these emotions are “under the surface” in the subconscious, Customers might not even know they are there themselves.

Because so much of the emotional Experience is subconscious, you need to recognize the moments in your experience that create these reactions. To do this, you must go through your experience as if you are a Customer. Many of my clients who have undertaken this exercise are surprised by the subconscious signals they learn about in their current experience. However, once you know where they are, you can design them to be more deliberate, evoking an emotional response subconsciously that drives Customers to make decisions that you want. Companies like Satmetrix also have software solutions that can help you with map the customer journey so you can get a better sense of the areas of pain, delight and opportunity that exist along your customers’ journey.

Disney uses this tactic a lot in their experience at the theme parks. Knowing that the majority of people are right-handed so they will naturally look the right first, they put all important information and services on the right side of the street as you enter. They also know that people want coffee in the morning. They pipe in the smell of coffee in the early morning operating hours to inform their guests it’s available (and to entice them to buy a cup!).

For a fascinating description of how Walt Disney designed Main Street USA, read this article from Insightful Travel & Tours.

#3: The Best Companies Link Employee Engagement and CX.

Employee Engagement is a critical part of having a great Customer Experience. After all, the best design in the world is useless if the people doing it don’t believe in it.

Employees in many ways are just like Customers. The essential concept that the best companies in CX know is that just like you should build rational and emotional bonds with your Customers, you should do the same bonding with your employees. When employees feel appreciated, empowered, and respected, they are far more likely to commit to the company’s vision for Customer Experience and the value proposition inherent there.

As part of a larger global project with Caterpillar, we recently awarded one of their largest dealers, Carter Machinery, the “Excellence in Customer Experience for 2014.” Caterpillar wants to unite their expanding business and Customer base with a unified approach to Customer Experience. To do this, they recognize the importance of getting their employees on board. Many members of their team have been part of the organization for 30 to 40 years. While implementing changes to the “business as usual” processes at Carter they learned the importance of making the changes manageable, communicating often and clearly with the team, and being patient with the pain of change for everyone. By using this approach, they have transformed the way their call center works in a way that make Customers feel valued and appreciated more than in the past.

The important thing to remember when you look at the top Customer Experience companies is that they didn’t get there by accident. They didn’t leave the details of their hidden experience, which is dwelling below the waterline, up to chance. They studied it. They mapped out the experience moment by moment. Using processes like ours or the software that Satmetrix produces to identify these touchpoints, they looked for the root causes of delight for their best Customers and what drives others away. Then, they looked at ways they could help create a better emotional outcome by sending the proper subconscious signals at these moments. And they certainly didn’t leave the employees out of the loop.

The long and short of it is that every company known for a consistently exceptional Experience has one because they designed and implemented a deliberate one.

Is your Customer Experience deliberate?

Don’t miss the Satmetirx webinar May 21st!  Colin Shaw will explain what the leading edge CX companies are currently doing to improve their customer experience. Based on his new book ‘Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience‘ Colin will give examples of how organizations are moving CX to the next level. Click HERE to enroll 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 ShawHave You Done These 3 Things to Improve Your CX?

The Problem with Self Service

by Colin Shaw on May 14, 2015

People like the convenience of self-service. More and more of your Customers believe access to self-service options is essential to their relationship with your business. Knowing this, it is critical that you plan your self-service options well.

Parature is a research and advisory firm specializing in communicating service-centric best practices. Their Customer Service Success Blog reported some interesting stats to consider about Customer’s self-service options, including:

  • By 2017, Only 1/3 of Customer service interactions will require human assistance. As many as 2/3 of Customer service interactions will occur without human-to-human contact.  (Source: Brian Manusama, Gartner.com)
  • While call center usage is about the same, use of FAQ pages increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014, according to Forrester. (Source: North American Consumer Technographics Customer Life-Cycle Survey 1, 2014, Forrester.com.)

Clearly, more Customers want self-service options.

How Self-Service is a Challenge to Organizations

One of the most important emotions that your Experience generates with your Customers is Trust. Trust allows your Customers to feel comfortable handing you their business (and personal information). It is what drives them back to you, even when your competitors try to lure them away. It is also, for some Customers, why they will pay more for your goods or services. Customers value trust.

Consider what happens when you violate that trust. Goodness knows you have several examples of what happens when an organization violates the trust of the Customers’ it serves (Target, General Mills). However, you can violate the trust in ways other than a data breach or poor policy decision.

Parature’s complimentary white paper “Getting More with Self-Service,” the Service Council reports their recent poll respondents ranked the following as the top three challenges for their Self-Service Channels:

  1.     Message constancy
  2.     Information accuracy
  3.     Integration consistency

One of the reasons your Customers’ trust you is because you deliver consistently on your brand promise. There is an understanding between you, an expectation of a level of service and an agreed upon value amount for that service. So, as the various channels of your Experience expand, and more of your Customers exercise their option to contact you through another channel, consistency becomes even more important. It makes a consistent Customer Experience, through ALL of your channels including self-service, critical to maintaining the trust.

However, even the thought leaders in Customer Experience say consistency is a challenge in message, service and integration for Self-Service Channels. You can see the inherent problem with the expansion of self-service!

How to Be Consistent with Self-Service Channels

I always say that over 50% of a Customer’s Experience with your organization is how they feel about it. I also always say every moment of contact with your Customer is part of the Experience and contributes to how they feel about your organization as a whole. These moments, which include any self-service moments they have, need to reflect the essence of your desired Customer Experience, typically stated in what we call a Customer Experience Statement.

Many organizations haven’t addressed a Customer Experience Statement, which serves as a focal point for your Customer Experience program. Nor have they approached their channels from an outside-in approach, which is how we encourage our clients to approach the analysis of their current Customer Experience. An outside-in approach sees your experience through the eyes of the Customer, and how your experience makes them feel at different moments. Without these two critical elements as a basis for their design, it is likely that your self-service channels’ experience is not consistent with your desired Customer Experience program.

The writing is on the wall for your Customer Experience program’s future goals. Self-service channels evolve every year to be a bigger part of your Customer Experience. If your channels’ design does not deliver a consistent Experience with your brand promise, it will damage your Customer relationships, creating a level of doubt in what might otherwise have been a trusting relationship.

Do you know what your self-service options are like from a Customer’s perspective? How consistent is this Experience with your desired focus for your Customer Experience program? Having the answers to these questions might be the place to start before your self-service options show your Customers how to see themselves out of your Experience—and over to the competition.

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


Morris, Tricia. “Customers’ Desire for Speed Convenience Fuels Greater Demand for Self-Service” www.parature.com. 19 March 2015. Web. 30 March 2015. http://www.parature.com/customer-self-service-3/

Colin ShawThe Problem with Self Service

Why Gut Decisions Are Sometimes Wrong

by Colin Shaw on May 12, 2015

There is a certain romantic notion that we sometimes just know things in our gut. We equate this to wisdom or expertise. In truth, when your gut instinct turns out to be right, it is a result of the complicated system of decision-making your brain employs.

Psychologist and ProfessorDaniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, explains why this is in his book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”. He describes two systems in our brain that explain our thought processes. He gave them the fictional names System 1 and System 2. These fictional depictions of our brain represent how we access information and how much energy we use to do so.

System One: The Intuitive Thinking System. This system represents our automatic thinking, the intuition. This system facilitates the easy to access information the brain uses to interpret a situation.

System Two: The Rational Thinking System. Unlike System One, this system is more methodical and logical. It requires more energy and requires attention.

Kahneman explains that System One is at work when you look at a photo, interpreting the image, supplying you with your related personal experiences. It’s fast and effortless. On the other hand, System Two emerges to take over when you are working on a math problem. It is deliberate, slow and requires both effort and concentration. These two systems work together in your brain, and each takes a share of the load of your thinking. Because it requires less effort than System Two thinking, you typically access your System One thinking more frequently than System Two. For this reason, Kahneman describes your System Two as “lazy.”

Your intuition is your System One at work. The main function of your System one is to help you interpret your world and determine normalcy. As a result, it is always looking to connect situations to make a coherent interpretation. This connection is jumping to conclusions, or what we romantically refer to as “your Gut telling you something.”

It’s up to System Two to come in and confirm these conclusions. However, since it is lazy, it doesn’t. Your System Two is often content to let System One make its interpretation and state its findings as fact.

MinuteEarth illustrates how System One can jump to conclusions about the weather.

“This is Your Brain on Extreme Weather, By MinuteEarth

MinuteEarth points out an important concept about how the media influences those System One conclusions. The emotionally charged words they use influences System One’s conclusions. “Snowmageddon” evokes an emotional image that can create a dire interpretation of what might otherwise have just been called a heavy snowstorm.

We are at our heart, pattern-seekers. We need to make sense of the random occurrences we experience. However, there is no way for a single person to have enough of these occurrences to make a sampling large enough to be an accurate interpretation. They are at their worst, stereotypes and prejudices, and at their best, misguided and faulty logic.

Essentially, your gut instinct is a chance prediction by impulsive thinking. This fact is why dealing with Customers is so difficult. Most organizations make the mistake thinking Customers are rational beings and only make decisions logically. Nothing could be further from the truth in both Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business situations, we know that Customers are irrational. Therefore, when we design new experiences we ensure we build this thinking into the new design.

Your gut may be telling you that there is a causal relationship between the events you are interpreting, but that doesn’t make it so. We are irrational by nature, so in many ways, we like the idea that there is a little voice inside of us that steers us right. But the fact is, that voice isn’t steering at all. It’s biased and in most cases, wrong. It’s just that sometimes you get lucky.

What do you think? Is our gut instinct a valid resource for making decisions? 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:

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 ShawWhy Gut Decisions Are Sometimes Wrong

Listen to the Voice in your Customer’s Head

by Colin Shaw on May 5, 2015

Why do we do what we do? The simple answer is because of our emotions. I often use the analogy in my presentations that emotions are like little voices in our heads. These little voices are in your Customers’ heads, too, and they are telling your Customers how they feel about their experience–and whether they are going to come back!

Emotions are fundamental to Customer behavior in your experience, too, whether you are in business-to-consumer or business-to-business. They affect what your Customers are going to do, and how they feel about your product. How they feel is what drives them to your store/website/call center queue. It also dictates whether they will return. We believe how a Customer feels about a Customer Experience influences over 50% of the Customers’ perceptions of the experience. In other words, what these little voices say in their heads have more influence than you may realize.

I will talk about these little voices when I give the keynote speech at the Clarabridge Conference in Miami. I was, therefore, pleased to see Disney’s new “emotion picture”, Inside Out comes out at almost the same time as my speech. The movie animates the little voices inside our heads.

The new movie is a “Disneyfied” version of our emotions. However, it does an effective job of communicating how emotions drive our decisions.

Obviously, I haven’t seen the whole picture, so I can’t tell you what their message is going to be, but rest assured I will be first in line to watch it! However, I can tell you that this dinnertime depiction is exactly the sort of thing my team and I teach our clients and write about in our books. Well, okay, our version does not include Lewis Black in a curse-free version (I’ll believe it when I see it), but it’s very close.

However, the idea of emotions in business makes some people uncomfortable, almost as uncomfortable as encouraging people to listen to the voices in their heads! Nevertheless, emotions have a place in business, whether or not they fit into the preconceived notion of what fits into a business setting.

The reluctance to focus on them in business is because emotions are ambiguous and nebulous. They are certainly not “black and white” like the 4 P’s I learned in my experience with emotions and Customers that they are complicated. They don’t always make sense and instead are irrational. We learned in our research over the years that there is a big difference between what Customers say they want and what they really want. We also learned Customers don’t always know there is a differencethemselves.

The basic question is this. Do emotions drive ROI? If the answer is yes, then which emotions drive most ROI? Back in 2007, I wrote a book called, “The DNA of Customer Experience: How emotions drive value” addressing the answer to this question in detail.

We contacted the London Business School and went to work. For two years. We asked all kinds of questions (4.5 Million) about the little voices in over 50,000 Customer’s heads, in 40 countries. We looked at 1.25 million answers about “what a Customer wants,” and another 1.25 million about “what the Customer feels.” What we learned was that there are 20 little voices (emotions) that drive and destroy value in a Customer Experience.

These are the little voices that we all need to listen to in our Customers heads. We call this the Hierarchy of Emotional Value, a key element to our Emotional SignatureResearch.

We use this as a guide to help us determine which of the 20 voices is talking through analysis of the actions of your Customers in your Experience. We like to identify where in the interaction the voice is the loudest and most influential. We also like to see that loud emotion be one of the positive ones, particularly if we are nearing the end of the moment.

When it comes to building Customer loyalty and retention, it’s essential to get down to what matters to those voices. You need to listen to what your Customers say matters to them (and often doesn’t), and also to what their little voices say matters to them (and really does). And maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t mention to senior management that you are listening to Customers’ little voices—maybe instead call them intuitive discourses analysis!

What does your little voice tell you to do about Customers’ emotions? Please share your insight in the comments below.

Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience: Short Stories of Remarkable Practices that Ensure Success”is designed to help organizations take their Customer Experience to the next level. This book focuses on what it takes to evoke the best emotions from your Customer Experience and the vital role of the conscious and subconscious experience with real-world examples. It available, for only $9.99!

Buy Now!

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 offour bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawListen to the Voice in your Customer’s Head

Building Loyalty Doesn’t Need a Card

by Colin Shaw on April 30, 2015

Keeping Customers is cheaper than getting new ones. Customer loyalty and retention are goals for most organizations as a result. In the past, some companies’ modus operandi to build their loyalty involved a loyalty card with additional benefits. However, these loyalty card benefits just became part of the offer over time. So now what do we do to build Customer Loyalty?  According to the Econsultancy blog, we should give them plenty of experiential rewards.

Loyalty Programs Disappoint Customers

Are Loyalty cards about loyalty or just another form of offering benefits? It’s clear loyalty programs don’t always drive loyalty, however. In a 2010 study by Ipsos Mori, out of a study of over 2,000 British people only 23% of them said their loyalty card influenced their decision to make a purchasing decision. Another study from statista.com indicated that the percentage rose to 42% in lower income groups but only to 37% in higher income brackets.

New survey results from Colloquy confirms the disenchantment with loyalty programs, reporting that 54% of Americans are not satisfied with the reward offerings of their loyalty programs. The Colloquy report goes on to report that 49% of Canadians don’t love their rewards either, and 55% of them report being frustrated by the reward redeeming process. In both the US (93%) and Canada (97%), respondents associate much importance with the Loyalty reward offer.

This loyalty program disappointment is further compounded by the effect that most Customers expect their loyalty rewards. They consider them to be part of your offer, no longer seeing them as an award for being loyal at all. Essentially, over time a rewards card simply becomes a membership or discount card, creating no loyalty with its rewards. At least not, with the upper-income brackets.

Experiential Awards Might Be the Answer

There is, however, a glimmer of hope for rewards programs attracting and keeping those coveted high-income Customers: Experiential awards. Experiential Awards are events that make people feel special. These could by VIP event access, special concert tickets, backstage passes or flight awards. These are considered experiential because they create an emotional connection with your Customers, creating connections between your brand with their interests and passions.

How the Customer feels about the experiential rewards is as important as the reward itself, at least as far as creating loyalty. It’s not rocket science to see if the experience is bungled, or not special enough, it will fail to evoke the positive emotions needed to facilitate loyalty associated with your brand. To avoid this situation, organizations need to consider their target Customer’s wants and needs. What makes your target Customer feel elite? Do they share common goals or interests as a group? Understanding your Customer Personas, or the different types of Customers you have, can help answer these critical questions.

A brand must be careful to find a balance between accessibility and exclusivity. Meaning you can’t have too many rewards recipients at an “exclusive” event or the special feeling is eroded for the participants. I remember the time I flew Delta, and this happened to me. When the overhead announcement asked for the Diamond, Gold and Silver Customers to board, three-quarters of the passengers waiting stood up to board. I didn’t feel all that special about then. Delta is in the process of changing this now.

Bottom Line: Reward Programs Need to Be a Great Experience for Customers

It’s tougher than ever to build loyalty. The old way of doing things doesn’t work the way it used to. Consumers are noticing it and are disappointed. The good news is they still think loyalty rewards are important–as long as they are the right ones.

Take a look at your loyalty program. Does it feel elite? Is it a discount your Customers expect (and don’t appreciate) or does it feel like an exclusive award not everyone can get? Brands that can create a reward experience that is experiential will experience the Customer loyalty rewards programs are meant to create.

What do you think about the loyalty programs you are in? Do they really drive loyalty for you?

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 ShawBuilding Loyalty Doesn’t Need a Card

Why Distributors Should Be Treated Like Customers

by Colin Shaw on April 30, 2015

We consult companies in insurance, automotive or other manufacturers that sell through a dealer/distributor agent or any third party. These companies all struggle with the same question as a result of their business model: who is the Customer, the dealer or the end user?

The reality is, both of them are.

The Distributor Dynamic

Distributors (or Dealers) introduce an interesting dynamic to a business model. They are essentially an outside entity that controls the results for the suppliers. Distributors provide a wider audience of prospects for a supplier’s product or service, giving suppliers the chance for more sales. The challenge is how does the supplier ‘control’ the experience the distributor gives to their Customer?

On one hand, the answer is simple. If you don’t like what they are doing, go direct to the Customer and cut out the distributor, not normally a favored path. The second answer is to tie the Customer Experience (CX) and the Customer Experience Metrics into the distributor agreement. For example, BMW dictates to their dealers the color of the carpet and many other details. Consider McDonald’s or any other franchise. They state what the experience should look like and then they measure it through mystery shoppers.

However, most distributor deals were struck years ago before the CX became a business imperative. As such, they now need to change.

How to Manage Your Dealer Relationships Better

So how does a supplier manage the business when they have a distributor? Gallup Business Journal published an article last month discussing whether suppliers should treat their distributors like employees or Customers. Gallup explains distributors might appear to be because they sell your products, but distributors also have expectations just like Customers do that need to be met to keep the relationship strong.

The article explains suppliers would be wise to treat them like both Customers and employees, with the strongest relationships deriving from perceived partnerships between supplier and distributor.

While I agree with Gallup’s assessment with the problem of distributors, I disagree on the semantics a little in the conclusion. You would be better served to treat EVERYONE like a Customer, distributor, end user and employees.

Treating Everyone Like a Customer

The implication by Gallup’s summary is the relationship between a supplier and a Customer is different than a relationship between a supplier and their employees. In my opinion, this scenario should not be the case. Treating everyone the same way you would a Customer, meaning a regard for how they feel about the experience, creates a culture facilitating success for the delivery of the Customer Experience to the actual Customers.

I would add this issue isn’t isolated to businesses using a distributor or dealer network. If any organization, regardless of whether they are Business to Business, Business to Customer or some combination of both, they should treat everyone as their Customer.

Taking it even further, I would argue the internal operation philosophy benefits from treating their team members as they would Customer. What I mean by that is a department, say Human Resources, treats the employees as they would a Customer, etc., with the same mindfulness to how the employee feels about the experience or interaction.

Why? If you treated everyone as your Customer, it gives you the best opportunity for success. If everyone used the concepts in their daily interactions outlined in theCustomer Experience Statement that defines the Experience the organization wants to deliver, it would create the right culture. Everyone would head in the same direction toward improving and delivering the Customer Experience consistently.

When this standard is the natural default for everyone, it embeds in the culture. For those of you that have implemented a Customer Experience program, you know how critical this cultural perception is for affecting real change.

What do you think? Should we treat everyone like Customers? I’d be interested to hear your opinion in the comments below.

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 offour bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawWhy Distributors Should Be Treated Like Customers

Time to Leave Corporate Life

by Colin Shaw on April 27, 2015

I had achieved my goal. I had “made it” by corporate standards. I was a senior executive with a big corner office and a big salary to match. Over 3,500 people reported to me globally, and I had a budget of millions to “improve the Customer Experience.”

So with all of these great things going in my career, why did I want to leave? It’s simple, really. I wasn’t happy. After reading a great book called “Who moved my Cheese?”, I realized the fun was getting there, not being there. The fun was in the journey and the struggle to achieve.

Wanting to Leave Was Easy, Going Was Tougher

Yes, I had achieved what I set out to achieve at the beginning of my career. It was a real climb, especially when you consider my first job out of school was filling freezer food cabinets in a frozen food retailer. However, once I had achieved my goal, I realized I wasn’t challenged anymore. I had all the trappings of success but had lost my drive. I was turning the handle on the machine, as it were. Despite all the great perks, my job was just a job, in many ways just like the ones I had before it.

I’ll be honest. It was a little bit of a crisis for me. I had worked hard to get to this point, sacrificed much to “get on” in the corporate world. Now that I was here, I was disappointed. Had everything that I worked for been a waste of my time?

I had seen firsthand what could happen when a company decided to put the Customer first and listen to what they wanted when it came to doing business. At the time, no one was talking about Customer Experience as a thing and wouldn’t for a couple of years at least. Nevertheless, it intrigued me. When I was honest with myself, I knew what I wanted: To start my own business consulting on how to put the Customer at the center of everything you do.

The only problem was I was terrified to do it.

Deciding to Do It Anyway

Corporate life has positives and negatives like anything. One thing solidly in the positive column is that it felt safer than starting my own business. I knew the corporate ways of doing things. I was comfortable with the corporate perks I enjoyed. I felt more secure financially knowing that my salary would be there every month, which as we all know is no small thing.

I didn’t know how to run a small business. I didn’t even have the first idea of how to start one. Furthermore, my kids were about to go to university, meaning I was facing some serious financial responsibilities—not the best time to risk your steady income!

The sensible side of me said to “Keep Calm and Carry on” in my role. But the dreamer, the one who got me there in the first place wouldn’t stop needling me about starting my consultancy. This led to sleepless nights and some frank concerns about my state of mind.

However, the needling side of me knew that I had a good idea. I had the right experience at the right time to spread an important new idea. I knew deep down, that while it was terrifying, it was time. So I talked to my wife about it and we decided I would leave my corporate life and start my company.

I Never Looked Back

I am happy to report that it worked out for me, and, in fact, it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I left corporate life, and founded Beyond Philosophy, a global Customer Experience consultancy. My passion for how human emotions affect the Customer relationship and the fascinating factors in the human brain that contribute to it have enriched my professional life in ways that I didn’t expect. Over the past fifteen years, I learned how important it is to do what you love because you believe in it. I am not turning a handle anymore, and it has made a huge difference for me.

I am sure more than one of you reading this is considering a big career move. Maybe you are going to change companies or maybe considering changing industries. Maybe, like me, you are considering striking out on your own. Like me then, you might also be struggling with the fear of failure and the unknown. I can sympathize and wish you the best. I believe that every person must make decisions about risk with which they are comfortable.

However, if I could offer you one piece of advice it would be this: Never let your fear be the reason you don’t try. If I had allowed it, fear would have stopped me from making a move that changed my life and career for the better. There are sometimes great reasons not to take a risk, but fear is never one of them.

I never missed my corporate job. Being your own boss is great. I quit corporate life to start my own business. I am happy to report I never looked back.

Is it time for you make a change in your career path?

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 offour bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawTime to Leave Corporate Life