You aren’t measuring “wows”? So how do you expect to deliver them?

The topic: “The power of emotion”. The speaker: Bruce Temkin, Customer experience transformist and founder of the Temkin Group. Bruce recently spoke at Clicktales’ advisory council to share some of his group’s research findings 

Why should you pay attention to a topic related to measuring “wows” and emotion?  

Based on the Temkin team’s research, positive emotional experiences are most closely predictive of customer loyalty, as outlined in their most recently published 2016 research report on the ROI of customer experience. Based on a wide consumer survey it identified that even a moderate increase in CX generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues. Strikingly, what the Temkin Group found is that:  

“While all three components of customer experience - success, effort, and emotion - have a strong effect on loyalty, our research shows that emotion is the most important element.”  

Yet, while the old adage goes “you are what you measure”, companies are the least likely to be measuring experiences in terms of emotional impact, but rather they typically focus measurement of experiences on sales conversions. Less often they have established focus and measurement on ease of use, e.g. for digital channels. But whether customers were impressed or frustrated from an emotional perspective is often overlooked. See the Temkin Group’s infographic below: 

What’s the state of customer experiences from an emotional perspective?

So, is it any wonder then that the Temkin Group researchers found that consumers when asked about various brands rated their experiences least satisfactory from an emotional perspective. Namely, in consumer surveys, scores for emotion were usually lower than those for success and effort

  • Did they successfully accomplish what they were trying to do in their interaction with the brand? Typically, yes.
  • Was it easy? Not always.
  • But were they wow’d on the emotional side? Rarely!

Bruce Temkin’s analysis makes it clear that this is a business problem.

What does a great emotional experience look like?   

Remember, we are now entering the age of the experience economy, where merely delivering good products is only the minimum entry requirement for brands. Differentiation and business success requires delivering better experiences than the competition (unless you competing on price or you happen to be a monopoly). 

Therefore, the emotional side is not so much about detecting issues or problems. Removing those is just the bare minimum requirement. Rather, it’s about wow experiences that differentiate the brand in customers’ minds, make them want to come back for more, and bring their friends too. And that’s what measurement should focus on.  

How can you measure it? 

A survey from 1 – 5 rating of how satisfied you were isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need to capture the real texture of customers as people. To tally up customers’ emotion with a common language, the Temkin group has developed a scale of emotion: the 5 As 

  • Adoring 
  • Appreciative 
  • Ambivalent 
  • Agitated 
  • Angry 

See the Temkin Group’s video for details. 

Obviously, this isn’t something you would ask customers on a survey to rate themselves against. It requires active observation of real experiences and active assessment of their reactions and emotion. 

Is that easy to measure?  

In his presentation Bruce Temkin drew attention to the fact that context and customer personas impact your assessment. The same experience will be perceived differently by different personas. Think for example about a tech gadget that informed fans may adore while other personas may come away agitated if they aren’t familiar with how it is to be used.  Or a travel experience may be appreciated by a leisurely traveler while a road warrior may come away angry.  

So, measurement needs to be segmented by personas and context.  

How to design better emotional experience? 

For designing experiences, think of the whole journey, i.e. “customer journey thinking”.  For example, Temkin shared the example of retailing gift cards. The journey isn’t finished when you’ve closed the transaction. In the mind of the customer, the whole journey also includes giving the gift card and knowing that it has been received.  In other words, their real goal is to give a gift, not just to purchase a gift card.  

Ask these questions during your design phrase, as Bruce Temkin recommends: 

  • Who is the customer?  
  • What's their real goal?  
  • What did they do before / after purchasing from us?  
  • What will make the customer happy? 

Bonus trick for improving your customer service team’s emotional empathy: have them rate the emotion of the customer after each service interaction.  Simply by thinking about it, they will sharpen their awareness and raise their own skill to empathize during future interactions. 

The Clicktale team would like to think Bruce Temkin for sharing the inspirational insights from his group’s research. 

About the Temkin Group 

Temkin Group is a leading customer experience (CX) research, consulting, and training firm. We help many of the world’s largest brands lead their transformational journeys towards customer-centricity and build loyalty by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. Our team combines CX thought leadership with a deep understanding of the dynamics of organizations to accelerate results. 

Rather than layering on cosmetic changes, we help companies embed practices within their culture and operating processes. There are many ways that we can help accelerate your customer experience journey. 

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