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How to Incorporate Emotion into Your Customer Experience Program

Every year the market research company Forrester publishes its U.S. Customer Experience Index. The latest report reveals that in the total CX equation, emotion is the number one driver of positive experiences , outweighing other key variables such as efficiency and effectiveness by two to one.

Too many CX programs focus on elements related to effectiveness and ease because they are simpler to measure. However, with the right approach, incorporating emotion into a customer experience program is possible for every business.

The following tips and contact center technologies will help you develop the type of personal customer relationships that lead to more profits.

Use technology to listen to your customers

Not so long ago, gaining the data needed to understand what your customers need, want and feel was a lot more difficult. Today, deploying the following contact center capabilities will help eliminate a lot of the guesswork involved in optimizing the customer experience.

  • Post-call surveys

Post-call interactive voice response (IVR) surveys provide immediate feedback on areas of your CX that leave customers feeling disappointed. The upshot of this direct response tactic is that customers are more likely to provide honest, unfiltered responses.

When applied correctly, post-call surveys can, therefore, help your business measure customer sentiment accurately over time, or for specific campaigns and offers. Combined with cloud technology, you can even store call data directly into your CRM platform, allowing for more in-depth analysis of the emotions that best fit the CX you want to attain.

  • Speech analytics

Speech analytics takes unstructured data and turns it into a source from which you can glean actionable insights. In a fraction of the time it would take a human, this type of software uncovers all your customer pain points – including some you wouldn’t know were there otherwise. Unlocking these hidden details means your CX strategists can perform customer satisfaction evaluations and fix small problems before they escalate into bigger ones.

  • Call recordings

Call recordings can help your business define what good and bad customer service calls sound like. This means you can then audit the quality of your customer interactions based on factors such as tone and empathy. Alternatively, you can use the data for training purposes, capturing successful conversations and using them as a template to coach agents to deliver more emotive customer interactions.

Create a customer journey map using the peak-end rule

To make sure your customers have the best possible experience, you’ll need to design how you connect them to your business. From the first interaction, customer journey maps outline all your business’s touchpoints, considering needs, desires, and emotional roadblocks in any customer experience situation your business could face.

An effective customer journey map is a powerful tool for designing the best possible customer experience. However, many businesses struggle to create one because they believe mapping the customer journey is an exact science. When it comes to CX and behavioral economics, the peak-end rule suggests that most people remember the most intense part of any experience and how it ends.

Using what you learned by listening to your customers, focusing on high-level touchpoints will help you to map and then optimize your customer journey more efficiently and effectively. Concentrating on how your customers feel at the peak of the experience and at the end, your business stands a greater chance of ensuring the experience they remember is a positive one.

Focus on having conversations, not interactions

Every connection with your customers matters, and, as the frontline in the customer experience battleground, how your customers interact with contact center agents will determine how they feel about your business. Think of each connection as an opportunity to have a conversation, and the better the conversation, the better the experience. Provide sales and service agents with everything they need to orchestrate inbound and outbound conversations that flow without frustration, wherever and whenever customers want, and to forge strong, lasting emotional connections.

  • Merging machine and human minds for the best results

Self-service is becoming increasingly popular. Yet the best customer-facing businesses know that the lean towards automation means human agents will be left to deal with the complex, emotionally driven issues. In these make-or-break scenarios, it’s important for bots to be smart enough to recognize when customers need human help and transfer to a live agent seamlessly. Technologies such as intelligent call routing will help your business transfer customers to the agent most suited to solve their problem.

At the same time, AI-boosted CRM integration can give agents immediate access to key information about the customer at the end of the phone, including products they already own, open cases, and service history. Working together, man and machine can personalize every conversation, resolve problems quicker, and leave customers with a more positive emotional experience than operating independently.

  • Leverage gamification and motivational software

Leveraging motivational software can help you establish processes that optimize the customer experience, ensuring prospects and customers get the support they need. You can use gamification in conjunction with speech analytics to incentivize agents to replicate the behavior of top performers. Gamification can also provide the catalyst for creating a sense of friendly competition and encouraging the application of best practices that allow for better customer connections.

Technology gives us ever-more powerful tools to deliver positive, emotive customer experiences. But, ultimately, businesses should remember that these tools serve people — emotional, busy, distracted, demanding people. Whether it’s fixing a problem or purchasing a product, people want to achieve results, do them quickly and be confident and happy with the outcome.

Concluding thoughts

As customer expectations continue to heighten, the pressure on companies to offer an exceptional customer experience will intensify. In this environment, the companies that deliver positive emotional experiences will set themselves apart from the competition. Using the right combination of strategy, training, and technology, you can integrate emotion into a customer experience program that sets your business up to prosper.