I live in Sarasota, Florida, and recently, there have been some interesting changes to the public benches. Halfway along the seat, there are armrests.
At first, I thought it was to make them more comfortable than they were without an armrest in the middle. However, I learned the armrests were there to dissuade the homeless population from sleeping on public benches. It dawned on me that these armrests were a form of Choice Architecture.
We discussed Choice Architecture on a recent podcast and how it could be affecting your Customer Experience. Choice Architecture is nudging people in one particular direction by the way you arrange or present the options. If you’re trying to persuade people or get them to change their behavior, there are several different approaches you could take.
When we buy things, our memory generates the choice set that we have under consideration. It is essential for your Customer Experience strategy that you understand how customers create memories and how to ensure your brand is included in that set of recalled choices.
For example, pretend that you are out with friends and need to pick a restaurant. Usually, you and your friends would try to think of what restaurants you remember that are close to where you are. Then, you would try to narrow it down by which ones you remember are good/cheap/fast/healthy or whatever other metrics you are using to pick a restaurant.
One of the things this example shows is that as a restaurant owner, it doesn’t matter how good your restaurant is. It also doesn’t matter how close it is to various locations or how short the wait time is either. If people don’t remember your restaurant when they’re deciding to go out to eat, it’s like your restaurant doesn’t exist.
We explored how we retrieve these memories at the moment of decision in a recent podcast. We also talked about how you can ensure when your customers are deciding on what to buy in your category that they include you in that retrieved set. For my regular readers, it might come as no surprise to learn that this entire area of memory retrieval has to do with emotions.
I get surprised sometimes by how many qualifications and degrees people list at the end of their name. Some of them might go on for half an hour! I find myself wondering why they want me to know all that.
However, I often refer to the fact that LinkedIn recognizes me as one of the top 150 business influencers. I am proud of that. It occurred to me that it is the same thing.
There are several reasons why people do things like list their degrees or tout their status on a social media platform. We discussed a couple of them in a recent podcast. The first is a psychological principle called symbolic self-completion, and it can also affect customer behavior in your experience.
Think about the last time you shopped online but decided not to buy. Were you just browsing, or was there something about the user experience that made you hesitate?
For example, you may have felt frustrated by a complicated process for creating an account, or irritated because you couldn’t find basic information such as size charts or a returns policy. Or maybe you got an uneasy feeling when the site wanted to access your Facebook account. Your decision to leave without buying was most likely not about rational issues like price or delivery speed. It was driven by emotional and psychological factors.
This is not unusual—our research shows that more than 50 percent of a customer’s experience is based on emotions. We discussed this in detail when I hosted the first in a series of webinars for Freshworks, How Consumer Emotions Impact Customer Loyalty
As I often tell my audiences, I am blessed and cursed. I am cursed with the fact that I can’t have a Customer Experience without analyzing it and defining what they should do differently. But I am also blessed, because my Customer Experience knowledge has fed my family for 20 years!
So I shouldn’t complain. But my blessing/curse does get in the way of enjoying simple things, like restaurant meals. There are three things in particular that drive me nuts at a restaurant, because they blatantly show that the restaurant is not customer centric. And they would be so easy to fix.
What we know from early research on employee engagement is that if you have happy employees, chances are you’re going to have satisfied customers. My new ebook, Happy Employees Make Happy Customers, explores this concept in great detail. So how do you get happy employees and how does it affect Customer Experience? The answer is easy to say and harder to do. You must design an Employee Experience that enables the Customer Experience you want to deliver.
We discussed the importance of creating a complementary Employee Experience along with your Customer Experience in a recent podcast. We also asked Beyond Philosophy’s employee engagement expert and author of Employee Ambassadorship Michael Lowenstein to join us as well.