The Right Approach to Customer Insights: 2016 is the Year of Emotion

Customer experience leaders predict that 2016 will be the Year of Emotion. There are strong financial incentives to becoming a more customer-centric business, and observing interactions from your customers’ vantage point. Properly designed research will help you understand how people want to engage with you and how to improve the quality of each experience they have with your company.

Grocery-cart_Heart-e1457727688894Why loyal customers may walk away

Someone may tell you that they’re a life-long customer. But a week later, they’re buying from your competitor. What’s going on? People buy on emotion. And emotion has one of the greatest impacts on customer loyalty.

Emotion is becoming an even bigger factor on sales because people are making smaller but more frequent purchases. They are buying things only as they need them. You can’t get complacent; you need to re-earn your customers’ business every time. That’s why this year, we’re expecting to see a major leap in the number of companies wanting to measure and account for customers’ emotion as part of the overall buying experience.

Make them consistently feel good about buying from you

Examining the emotions tied to every purchase decision can help you elevate your customers’ experience to the next level. Consider what causes them to feel good or bad about doing business with you. Start with your website: Does it contain too much confusing jargon? Can you simplify its layout? Improve its readability?

Evaluate your Customer Effort Score (CES), which measures a customer’s satisfaction with how easy it is to do business with you, whether that is to browse your products, make a purchase or resolve an issue.  A higher  score means a more satisfied customer, which means higher probability of repeat purchases.

Consider how you might feel when going to return an item and this happens:  you approach a cashier and are redirected to a kiosk, but the kiosk does not work.  So you have to return to the cashier or find a sales rep to assist you.  You’re given store credit for your purchase, except you never want to shop there again because returning the original item was such a hassle.  You might even be inclined to share your bad experience with others and warn them against doing business with the store.  CES can help you predict whether your processes are harming not only current customers, but prospective ones as well.

Studies have found that low customer effort result in a higher percentage of repurchases. People are even more likely to increase their spending. But customers who have difficulty resolving a problem are likely to share their negative word-of-mouth review.

Additional considerations worth tracking

Whether an interaction ends on a high or a low can be the difference between  keeping or losing a customer. In addition to emotional drivers and CES, it makes sense to measure and assess other points along your customers’ journey, such as:

These types of analyses require expert qualitative techniques to evaluate what’s happening with your customers so that action steps can be recommended. Monitoring, measuring and understanding customers’ emotions will touch every part of your business from product development to marketing and frontline operations.  Utilizing these metrics will enable you to improve your responsiveness, the consistency of your interactions and ultimately your sales.

Market research firm SMS Research Advisors are part of PadillaCRT. This article originally appeared in the SMS blog. 

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