The most important thing to improve the customer experience is not your journey map. With all of the hype about customer journey mapping you’d tend to believe that if you want to improve the customer experience that this is the most important thing you need. It’s not.
But I’m also not saying that you should not do it. Journey mapping is a great tool for you to understand how your customer navigates your company and how the processes you have built (or by default) impact your costs and their satisfaction, retention, advocacy, or defection.
What is the Most Important thing in Customer Experience?
On of the most important discoveries for designing and managing the customer experience was made by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.
He studied people with damage in the emotional centers of the brain. He observed several people that appeared normal, except that they were unable to feel emotions. Surprisingly, they all had something odd in common: they were unable to make decisions.
They were able to rationally describe what they should be doing. They were well spoken and very logical in their explanations. However, they struggled to make even simple decisions. One study participant even anguished for hours trying to decide on what to eat.
Damasio concluded that emotions rule (or bias) our behavior and decision-making. And that falsely we think we are able to decide rationally, but in fact, what is perceived as a rational decision requires emotional input.
Therefore as a person responsible for the customer experience you must put emotions into the forefront of your design thinking and value creation. Emotion is the most important thing in the customer experience because customers are making (emotional) decisions to do business with you, not do business with you, refer you, and leave you.
“Emotion is the most important thing in the customer experience.” Click to Tweet
Changing the definition of Customer Experience
In conducting research for this article I came across this definition of Customer Experience.
Customer Experience is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions for the purpose of meeting or exceeding customer expectations, thereby, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.
Based on Damasio’s discovery I declare the better definition is this.
Customer Experience is the practice of designing and reacting to customer emotions for the purpose of meeting or exceeding customer expectations, thereby, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.
Emotional Intelligence produces Innovation and Disruption
Not unlocking the power of emotion in the customer experience is what bankrupt companies and unemployed workers do.
The vast majority of people just default to their own natural behavior and thinking. This explains why there are only a few that stand out as exemplary in managing and delivering the customer experience.
But unlocking the power of emotion in the customer experience is available to all. And organizations that design with emotion are the ones that disrupt industries and individuals that do create new opportunities for themselves.
“Organizations that design with emotion are the ones that disrupt industries.” Click to Tweet
All of the companies we idolize for the customer experience use emotion to innovate, design and support the customer experience. They strive to unlock it’s power.
They are the role models for The Emotional Intelligence Customer Experience Design™ (EQCX) framework. This maturity model is a strategic guide that puts experience design using emotion into an understandable and manageable context. Use it. Share it.
Gain Emotional Awareness
Gaining awareness about emotion will help you to better understand that empathy is not enough. Learning about the competencies of emotional intelligence is a vital learning step in becoming a better leader in customer experience and designing an experience that results in financial gains.
Antonio Damasio has proven that Emotional Intelligence is the best kind of intelligence you need to move onward and upward faster. Get your copy of the 54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List now.
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.