Magazine article CRM Magazine

Better CX Requires an Emotional Connection: Speakers Push for Smart Segmentation and Delighting Customers by Appealing to Their Emotions

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Better CX Requires an Emotional Connection: Speakers Push for Smart Segmentation and Delighting Customers by Appealing to Their Emotions

Article excerpt

Companies need to sharpen their focus on serving their most valuable customer segments, while at the same time creating nuanced experiences that cater to their strongest emotions, speakers urged at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum in New York in late June.

"When we talk about customer experience, what always blows my mind is the nuance," said George Colony, Forrester's founder, chairman, and CEO, during his opening remarks.

In the next five to 10 years, many businesses will face an existential crisis as they battle to keep up with the competition, he said, and as the crisis unfolds, "it's going to come down to nuance."

Colony's remarks were echoed in various forms throughout the event, as speakers agreed that there is no area of customer experience that is too small or insignificant to improve if it is revealed through research to warrant attention. Yet it is incumbent upon companies to figure out where to put their focus and how to set their priorities.

Many companies fail to meet customer expectations because they place equal weight on the various stages of the buying cycle, said David Truog, a vice president and research director at Forrester. He pointed to a familiar model of the buying cycle, broken into the six stages of discover, evaluate, buy, access, use, and get support. While many companies are under the impression that they should improve each part of that model equally, the areas that matter most to customers are often the use and get-support phases. These are the areas where companies should be putting more emphasis than they might believe, Truog suggested.

Author Chip Heath, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, argued that "moments matter." In particular, "peak moments"--defined as positive and pleasurable moments--matter, he stated.

Heath urged companies to place more focus on building those peak moments because they hold unrealized value. He pointed to Southwest Airlines, noting that passengers who heard the humorous safety announcements on 1.5 percent of their flights were likely to take half a flight more per year than those who didn't. When calculated, he said, that adds up to an extra $138 million in annual revenue for Southwest, which could go toward paying for extra airplanes, for instance. "Don't underestimate emotions," he said.

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Anjali Lai, senior data analyst at Forrester, shared a similar message: "Understanding empowered customers is critical to designing break-away emotional experiences," Lai said. …

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