To generate a truly compelling customer experience and invoke a sense of loyalty or brand affinity, organisations must understand and connect with their customers’ emotions.
To put it simply, a viable product that is competitively priced is no longer enough. CX has become the new differentiator; in order to become a leader in this field, you must focus on emotion.
Portuguese-American neuroscientist Professor Antonio Damasio, who specialises in the connection and dependencies between human emotion and decision-making, has helped us understand more about how emotions affect our decisions.
“90 % of our buying actions are driven by human emotion” Prof. A. Damasio.
Damasio’s extensive research of brain injury patients who have a broken connection between the ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ parts of their brain, discovered these people were incapable of making decisions. Despite being able to rationally process information about choices being presented, they could not identify their personal preference because they lacked any sense of ‘how they felt’ about the options. Seemingly simple decisions, such as what to have for dinner, seemed impossible.
So, what does this mean?
What this tells us is that at the point of making a decision, how a person feels and their affinity to a product or brand, in other words their emotions, is arguably the most influential differentiator to consider.
Given that impressions are created throughout a customer journey, whenever consumers interact with a company, it is imperative that a great CX strategy focuses on creating an experience where positive emotions outweigh the negative.
With fewer barriers to entry, competition has become fiercer than ever in practically every industry. Consequently, it can be argued that customers now care more about the experience they have with a company than they do about price or product.
In order to understand customers’ emotions, organisations must invest in the following:
Understand what customers want
Understand why they want it
Place customers/end users at the heart of design, at the earliest possible opportunity
In this digital age, where opportunities to develop personalised relationships with customers seem everpresent, acknowledging the importance of emotion recognition and investing in emotion detection technology (more commonly referred to as Emotion AI) may well be what sets organisations apart from their competitors.
Understanding customers’ emotions using Emotion AI
If you are already measuring customer experience, chances are you use a metric such as Net Promoter Score (NPS).
NPS is a great way of measuring a customer’s opinion of the experience provided, in the sense that it tells you how likely they are to recommend a product/service to others. Having said that, by only measuring this single metric you will fail to gather a complete picture and run the risk of reaching a plateau in your understanding of how to improve CX.
Measuring customer emotion, particularly in those micro moments, provides a much deeper understanding of how your customer feels and gives you real insight into where improvements can be made.
In order to develop this deeper insight, the potential to implement and harness Emotion AI technology must be taken into consideration given its potential to measure, understand, simulate and react to human emotion.
Today, machines are used across many industries and during direct customer interaction. They detect voice inflections and recognize when those inflections correlate with stress or anger. They also analyse images and pick up subtleties in micro-expressions on humans’ faces that even we may not recognise.
Annette Zimmermann, research VP at Gartner, believes that “by 2022, your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your family”. Albeit unnerving on a personal level, this really does put into perspective the potential Emotion AI implementation poses to your understanding of the customer group.
So, where to start?
It is imperative that you start with the customer journey. Put the end user at the heart of your objective(s) and answer these questions:
What problem are we trying to solve?
Where is the investment genuinely necessary?
How will its implementation benefit the customer and, as a result, the business?
If you would like to discuss your CX, are considering implementing AI in your business or just want to know a bit more about the topic, please get in touch!