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!

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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.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawListen to the Voice in your Customer’s Head