One of the undisputed thought leaders in the customer experience space is Bruce Temkin, customer experience transformist and managing partner at Temkin Group as well as co-founder and initial chairman of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). In a blog post which lists the most important customer experience trends to watch out for next year, Temkin cites "the year of emotion" as the most important trend for customer experience professionals to track in 2016.In Temkin Group's 2016 trends list, which includes noteworthy developments such as "customer journey designing" and "speech analytics piloting" of contact center conversations with customers, Temkin points to how his company's research reveals that "emotion is the component of customer experience that has the largest impact on loyalty, but it is also the area where companies are least adept and often ignore. Companies will recognize this opportunity and dramatically increase their focus on emotion in 2016."
Bruce raises a great point about how customer emotion is an area that companies need to pay a lot more attention to. In a study of 300 different emotional motivators that drive customer behavior that was published in a November 2015 Harvard Business Review article, 25 of the emotional motivators "significantly affect customer value." For instance, in banking, a customer's desire to feel secure is a critical motivator for both attraction and retention. The study finds that "fully connected customers" or those that have an emotional connection to the companies they do business with are 52 percent more valuable than those customers that are just "highly satisfied."
Despite its importance in the customer experience, emotion is often neglected by companies. Making an emotional connection with customers is about more than simply conveying empathy. Companies need to do a better job of monitoring and responding to the full range of customer emotions that impact the customer experience. After all, emotions guide our thoughts and actions.
In a world that's becoming increasingly digitized, customers value emotional, human connections more than ever.