How happily do you live day-to-day and how happy are you with your life? Most people will intuitively recognize the subtle difference between these two questions. The first question speaks to experience of an event, and the second refers to the remembrance of an event. In Customer Experience terms, it’s the difference between getting everything right for the customer and what the customer remembers about his or her experience. In fact, the customer will only remember a finite number of details.

This is a key issue when designing your experience and it is not captured by Lean and Six Sigma processes. The issue is not a cut-and-dry summation of touch points, but rather how a customer extracts meaning from these touch points. How do you create an experience that customers will enjoy “in the moment” and remember as being good?

This undoubtedly means you need to take a psychological approach to how you design your Customer Experience. In our recent webinar, “See What Your Customers See: Mapping Your Real Customer Experience,” we talked about how to design an emotionally engaging experience using a process we call Moment Mapping®. The issue then becomes making sure your staff is able to deliver against the most powerful emotional touch points for the customers they serve.

If I walk into a coffee shop, for example, they might offer the best selection of coffee and a wide variety of pastries. But if the service is unfriendly and aggressive, I will retain a negative memory of the entire experience, and I probably won’t return. On the other hand, if they get right the one or two things that truly resonate with me, I probably will return. In fact, I probably will return even if the company misses a few details. By addressing the important emotional touch points, I will remember having a satisfying experience with the company and anticipate a similar one in the future.

Ultimately, it’s all a function of behavioral economics, or the study of how the actual decision-making process influences the decisions that are reached. The efficacy of this approach has already been demonstrated at the macro level. The U.K. government has used behavioral economics to tackle everything from obesity to energy conservation.

In his fascinating TED Talk, “The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory,” Nobel Prize winner and behavioral economics expert Daniel Kahneman eloquently explains how the entire behavioral process works.

Taking this into account, just imagine how much time and money successfully mapping your Customer Experience will benefit your company.