What is the one question Customer Experience Leaders would like answered?

Beyond Philosophy recently conducted a global survey on Customer Experience Management asking Heads and Directors of CE the question: ‘what is the one question you would like answered about Customer Experience?’ The results shown in figure 1 indicate the struggle leaders have with setting the business case for CE beyond a belief: figure 2 shows the global distribution of the leaders interviewed.

Figure 1: What is the one question Customer Experience Leaders would like answered?

Figure 1: What is the one question Customer Experience Leaders would like answered?


Figure 2: Global Distribution of CE leaders interviewed

Figure 2: Global Distribution of CE leaders interviewed

1st question that keeps CE leaders awake: how can you link Customer Experience to financial value? 43%

Beyond Philosophy regularly find that when CE leaders are faced with the problem of establishing the financial value of CE, they tend to ‘get stuck’. Of course there are case studies of success but for most businesses there is a compelling requirement to demonstrate empirically the return on Experience before any progression to implementation can arise?

Clearly if this was about saving costs through a software installation, the financial return would be easier to quantify but as CE at its heart is about creating emotional engagement, an immediate roadblock is met: to set the financial case, you have to understand the value of emotional engagement and what you can do about it.

Unfortunately, traditional measurement techniques fall when the: ‘how do you put a value on emotional engagement?’ question is asked. Hence, an automatic default applies, let’s just do as we did before and focus on price.

2nd question that keeps CE leaders awake: how can you design an emotional experience? 20%

Interestingly, we can see this same underlying problem in the second most popular question: ‘how can you design an emotional experience?’ The implicit problem here is knowing what will work or not in terms of emotional engagement. It’s true, we can always design ‘what we think’ is emotional, but is it really? Perhaps what we assume is emotional may in fact have no effect at all. Again, without an empirical understanding of emotion, firms risk moving to default and avoid the question entirely. Or assume they are in an industry where emotion does not matter!

This is a critical failing as we uncovered in our last blog – the Predicative Power of Emotions  – where it was found that businesses traditionally considered ‘functional’ and attaching a low level of importance to emotion were in fact most impacted upon by emotions where considering its impacts on KPIs such as Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter®®. This is in part due to the effect of emotions on raising customer expectations– consider how Metro Bank operates in terms of emotional appeal as against the usual big brand bank – it is warm, surprising, and different in a positive way that stands out from the crowd.

3rd question that keeps CE leaders awake: how can you get a full understanding of the customer? 14%

Implicitly, the third most popular concern, ‘how can you get a full understanding of the customer?’ also speaks to the same issue i.e., firms have a great understanding of the rational side but few really get a view of the emotional, subconscious or how customers react over the whole Journey. The opportunity space is of course in understanding this area as your competitors no doubt have the same understanding as you on the rational side.

Management Implications

Looking at the statistics, 77% of our Global Leaders of CE have a concern around the measurement of Customer Experience: whether to create a financial link, understand the drivers to help in a redesign or in terms of understanding the ‘full’ Customer Experience. This invariably resolves itself around a failure to apply ‘new’ techniques of research in the quantification of emotional engagement.

Our advice is to face up to the problem of design and measurement of emotion and get to appreciate that there is a Science of Emotion. From Beyond Philosophy’s perspective (using Emotional Signature®) if you base your ROI on a consideration of emotion, substantial new value can be found (see: http://www.research-live.com/magazine/why-we-must-measure-emotion/4003434.article).

Steven Walden is VP Consulting and Thought-Leadership for Beyond Philosophy. Steven has 17 years Strategy Consultancy experience directing and designing strategies for major B2C & B2B firms. At Beyond Philosophy, the Global Customer Experience Consultancy, he is a Thought Leader and Innovator, directing engagements to assist leading firms to transform through Customer Experience. A world-leader in emotional experience his skills lie in innovation, thought-leadership, strategy consultancy and Qual/ Quant research. He is a regular speaker at conferences, blog writer, CE Trainer and international author.