Design The Customer Experience. Leverage the Power of Emotion

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There are many ways to custom design the consumer’s experience by using analytics to identify buying habits and trends, inserting in-app customer service features or integrating data from historical behavior, demographics and lifestyles. Each tool essential, but in order to set your brand apart from competitors, you must tap into the way your audience thinks and cater to their emotional motivations to forge strong, long-lasting relationships with them. It could mean the difference between losing a customer within seconds for life when you could be fostering their lifetime value.

How Do Decision-Making Processes Affect Your Customer’s Experience?

There are two main types of thinking: rational and intuitive. Rational thinking tends to be slow, effortful, logical, and takes place consciously. This multi-step process is a great way of thinking for significant decisions. But this is not where the consumer brain is when making decisions about interacting with your brand. With so many small choices to make throughout the day, a large amount are made unconsciously by fast, automatic, and emotional responses with intuitive thinking.

All decisions in brand choices and purchasing are generated by pure emotion at their essence. While a small percentage of consumers still rely on their rational thought process to get them from point A to point B in a purchasing decision, even their emotions are still engaged. Decisions about your brand start with the first interaction they have with it and continue with each step of the experience. At any second a consumer may drop off the connection with your brand with any sign of friction, making it imperative to treat each touchpoint with as much attention as the first.

Embrace Your Customers’ Natural Behaviors to Help Them Make Decisions Quickly and Effortlessly

Consumer’s evolving behaviors are the major contributor to the pace of innovation. Your customers now have more options in the marketplace, infinite resources and demands that are no match for previous era of consumers the market has even seen. But the one thing they all have in common is their emotional connection to the choices they make about brands and purchasing. Today’s consumers tend to abandon any long, practical processes of gathering data, evaluating options and making decisions based on rational thinking as they interact with brands. Instead, they are reacting with natural instincts and emotions.

Forrester’s Empowered Customer Segmentation model reveals that there are five types of emotional buyers, all progressing at a different rate.

  • Progressive Pioneers: Lead the demand for product and experience innovation.
  • Savvy Seekers: The first to learn about innovation and exhibit high rates of engagement with new products.
  • Convenience Conformers: Opt for products and services that enhance convenience only after they have become widely available.
  • Settled Survivors: Evolve at a glacial pace and are motivated by adaption, rather than trend-setting.
  • Reserved Resisters: Least enthusiastic about product or experience innovation.

Across these five types of buyers, Forrester’s empowered customer research reveals that 40% of them have a high willingness and ability to shift their spending habits rapidly after a poor experience with a brand.

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In order to establish long-term brand loyalty, you have to align yourselves with the beliefs and values of your audience and connect with them emotionally by tuning into what type of emotional consumer they are. Instead of forcing them down a path they wouldn’t normally take, embracing their natural behaviors allows you to guide them into making quick and effortless decisions about your brand from the first interaction.

How To Find The Connection Between Your Customer’s Emotions And Your Bottom Line

The necessity to understand your customer’s emotional processes and thinking is vital to move from today into tomorrow’s market. Consumer expectations are increasing without a ceiling to confine their demands. In order to custom design experiences based on fostering an emotional connection to your customers while focusing on the bottom line, companies need to assess the following:

  • Do your experiences generate a positive or negative response from the customer?
  • What is the intensity of emotion provoked by their experiences?
  • Is the consumer closer to your brand or further away after their experience?

 

Forrester’s Customer Emotion Matrix simply highlights the relationship between these primary factors and how they can determine if, when and how your customers alter their behavior in an emotional reaction to your brand experience.

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Craft the Customer Experience Design By Appealing To Their Human Instinct

Being emotional is not a new behavior for humans. The practice of using emotional responses however is a game-changing factor in how we relate to the consumer. Part of designing the experience for your customers is creating both processes and environments that have a focus on the quality of your consumer’s journey, keeping their best interest in mind. Tap into how they make decisions with their emotions and use that to design each touchpoint of the experience, and their appreciation for your brand will thrive.

Published December 1, 2016
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