I Second That Emotion

mused on 23 Aug 2016

Blog 11 Emotions

We have doing a lot of work with people on building experience recently.  It’s really exciting work and terribly rewarding.  In a small way its about making the lives of customers and employees a little more rewarding, a little less taxing and burdensome.  We have noticed a couple of tendencies in the way work is tackled that we thought it was worth sharing.

There are a number of methods for trying to tackle the work in a systematic way.  We have worked with many different flavours of these, whether its 5 E’s (Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, Extend), Customer Journey Spines, Service Design and/or Process Mapping.  These are all really powerful tools 5 E’s that really help when you are converting insights into actionable plans.

At any2any we believe that our experiences are conditioned by our emotional states and responses, often affected by factors completely beyond the domain of the process in which we are engaged (e.g. bad trip to work, annoying news on the radio, etc.).  We spend a good deal of time thinking about who is having the experience, what their individual needs might be, and how we might treat them in a way that might neutralise any other frustrations they are feeling.  We use personas as many do and we do seek to understand rigorously the target audiences, artfully segmenting and defining their needs and preferences, subjecting this to target group testing and piloting, indeed testing over and over.  In this we are simply following good practice, as I’m sure you do. 

We have observed a couple of tendencies in undertaking this work that we though it would be worth discussing.  Have you noticed that when doing the work on experience, people often move through the work on identifying the emotional responses they want to illicit, aligning these with brand values, and then trying to understand how these responses might be produced in each target group very quickly?  There seems to us to be a tendency to get into process, practice, and method redesign very quickly.  This is obviously very important work and needs to be done with the appropriate rigour.  But unless we spend sufficient time wrestling with what we might think of as the definition phase of the work, we will produce anaemic and undifferentiated results.  We must deal with the fact that our customers and employees can be arriving at our process in any emotional state from bliss to rage.

Among the reasons that this often happens is that we often over-estimate how much we understand our customer’s needs.  Notice where I put the apostrophe?  If we really believed our work on personas then we would also recognise that its customers’ and that the needs requirements can often vary tremendously.  I see a lot of superficially cool stuff that lacks depth and substance; copycat stuff.  Its not that it’s not an improvement, it is.  Its that its missed the opportunity to deliver a an experience that fully reflects the brand values and uniqueness of the organisation.  How many times have you been approached by a greeter carrying an iPAD in the last six months?   This is a real risk I think particularly for corporates and can undermine otherwise good work.  Producing appropriate experiences for our target customers that elicit the emotional reactions we seek to elicit in each of them is what this Customer Journey/Customer Experience stuff should really be all about. 

That is why the use of digital tools is so exciting.  We can help create customer journeys that are appropriate for different target groups.  I’ll give you a simple thought starter (I’m not giving away secrets I hope!):  your responsibility for your visitor starts long before he ever arrives at your front door.  Attention to this helps them to arrive in a receptive frame of mind and demonstrates our care and concern to make the encounter a worthwhile experience long before an employee actually arrives at or engages with our organisation physically. With our new technologies you can engage with him/her before the journey starts and during the journey such that when they arrives at your front door they have already experienced your concern for their needs before they have ever engaged with one of your processes.

We have found that spending that quality time early on working with personas and understanding the perspectives and then really ensuring that we understand the emotional responses we are seeking to promote pays dividends when it comes time to rebuild processes.  The use of digital tools further extends your ability to design and implement carefully thought through attentive and enriching Customer experiences, well we think our tools do obviously!  What are your thoughts?