Many new technologies, such as facial recognition technology for Customer Experience are emerging. Facial recognition and facial expression analysis are capturing essential information about how customers feel during an experience at the moment. However, much to my surprise, many people are scared of this technology. It is time to lose the fear of facial recognition technology.
Before we dive any more in-depth on this issue of scariness, let’s review what the technology is and how they differ from each other.
Facial Recognition: This technology assesses your facial features and based on the spatial relationships it records and compares to a database, identifies who you are. Facial recognition identifies you, the person.
Facial Expression Analysis: This technology records your facial features and determines how you are feeling based on the spatial relationships it records and compares to a database. Facial expression analysis identifies how you, the person, feel, not who you are.
We have discovered since discussing and writing about it, that plenty of people find facial recognition technology and facial expression analysis technology creepy. While I recognize that this is the case, I don’t understand it. I see facial recognition and facial expression analysis as a new technology that can help us improve our Customer Experiences. I predict that one day soon we won’t know how we lived without it.
We did a recent podcast on how people are sometimes scared of new technology. My wife Lorraine is one of them. When I suggested to her back in the day that she should get a mobile phone, she said, “Why would I want one of them?” Eventually, she bought one. She became used to it, and now she loves it and wouldn’t give it up.
I enjoy fishing. When I need a new lure, I go to Discount Tackle on First Street in Bradenton, Florida. When I go in, we have a chat and a laugh. However, my great experience is not why I return and drive past six or seven other bait and tackle shops to get to it. Economists say the reason I go back to Discount Tackle is that I remember it was a great experience.
We discussed the importance of memory for a Customer Experience and the influences on how we remember things in our latest podcast. We don’t choose between experiences; we choose between the memories of experiences. That is why helping your customers have a wonderful memory of your experience is essential.
Our memories are imperfect, and our brains favor certain types of information when making memories. Therefore, it’s not necessarily the case that a good experience translates into an equally good memory or vice versa. You can remember things as being better or worse than they are.
Therefore, you must understand how memories work. If you don’t, you may be managing the wrong metrics in your Customer Experience.
Uncertainty influences a lot of our customer behavior. We buy products to reduce the risk in our lives, like insurance. Insurance buys us peace of mind if something bad happens to us or our property. We also buy lottery tickets because, well, someone has to win, right?
The fact is we are not fantastic and predicting the likelihood of unlikely events in our lives. We prepare for what we see is inevitable and put our hopes in the most unlikely of positive outcomes. This behavior is how we react to uncertainty.
We discussed some of the psychological theories behind our need to placate uncertainty as customers in a recent podcast. In psychology and human behavior there exist many different approaches to thinking about risk. One of the most worthwhile for us to talk about is Prospect Theory and its implications for customer behavior.
I have been working as a global Customer Experience consultant for nearly twenty years. Never have I ever heard a customer say, “I just wish I could be hassled a little more.”
We don’t like it when things aren’t easy in a Customer Experience. It takes too much time and energy for us to respond to tricky or difficult challenges. Moreover, if we are at a state of cognitive depletion, where we are too tired to make good decisions or use rational thought to figure out a solution, we are likely to walk away from a complicated experience—a result that isn’t doing your bottom line any favors.
In our customer experience consultancy, clients tell us customers make decisions based on price or features. However, in our research, we never find price or features are the most important things. Instead, it tends to be a combination of a few insignificant, humanistic-type factors that drive customer behavior.
In 2004, I presented to an insurance company in Germany about how they should be evoking the proper emotions in their customers. It was a tough audience.
One of the guys asked, “How much money are we going to get back by doing this?”
It was not an unfair question, but it was one for which I had no answer. We needed to change that and so began two-years’ worth of research with the London Business School to identify which emotions drive and destroy value.
Now, when I say value, I’m talking about which emotions make people spend more money, and make people give you better Net Promoter Scores®.