The Temkin Group recently released a report about the different emotional responses customers have (by age group) after receiving technical support for their computer.  This report is important because it: (1) addresses the difference between intentional and accidental experiences, (2) highlights how emotion impacts experience, and (3) reminds us that thinking of customers as a group, rather than as individuals, can be a dangerous mistake.

  1. Intentional experiences – companies make one of two choices… they can either (a) design an experience they want to deliver or (b) permit the experience to grow haphazardly/organically. In the latter, they may get lucky but don’t bet on it.  The research strongly suggests that accidentally arriving at an experience will be overwhelmingly negative for all.
  2. Emotions and experiences – What is an experience? To begin with it is something uniquely ours.  For example, the same sunset witnessed by two different people will generate two different experiences.  For one, viewing the sunset may be tinged with sadness if it reminds them of the passing of a loved one, while for another it may generate excitement at the possibility of distant adventures.  The same is true for customers interacting with your company.  Their perspective, the way they uniquely experience that interaction impacts how they feel about your company which leads to promoters or detractors or “meh.”
  3. Customers are unique – Even as it segments customers, Temkin’s research threatens to group customers together. Each customer is unique and has special needs at a specific point in time.  Read Peter Fader’s book to appreciate how “a customer” is different from “our customers.”

One pivot point is to become a regular student of Bruce Temkin.  Don’t wait, start today!  Another pivot point is that customer experience design must be intentional to focus on how customers respond emotionally to what you’ve designed.  When customers react positively to your experience, their engagement increases, likelihood to recommend improves, and financial performance will follow.

Emotions Shape Customer Experiences
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