Consider the last time you made a decision. How rational was it? How emotional were you at the time? Since it is tax season, I’ll share a story of m a recent experience working with my tax-prep software. A few product changes led me to need information from a prior year’s return. You would have thought this was easy, but it turns out it was far more frustrating that you might have imagined. As a user of software as well as someone who designs and build it I found myself cursing at the UX and design teams from my experience, they had not thought this through all that well, and was I livid! If you asked me to type anything at that moment I would have typed everything is ALL CAPS AND PUT AT LEAST FIVE(!!!!!) exclamation points at the end of each sentence.
What kinds of decisions was I making there and why was it so hard to calm down and think rationally? Emotions matter, and if you’re not measuring them you’re missing out on creating the right connection and my emotional connection to this product is not favorable.
This experience by addition of numerous small frustrations lead me to reach a boiling point, or “death by a thousand paper cuts” as the old saying goes. So what’s a UX, design or product team to do? Simply: measure those emotions to see where along the journey are the high and low emotional points and then solve for the sticky, low emotion points. While many customer journey maps include an emotional swim-lane, how many have real emotional data? There are a number of biometric approaches to examining this and getting real data. At Vempathy, we employ facial expression, tone of voice and contextual sentiment to measure this.
There’s a fallacy that we believe that all sound decisions come from a cool head, as noted by neurologist Antonio Damasio in his 1994 book Descartes’ Error. Except, we don’t really make rational decisions. We make them with our emotions. There have been a variety of studies that show how people with injuries to parts of the limbic system, a part of the brain important in generating emotions, struggle with making decisions.
It’s not like you can just ask your customers outright either. They lie. Not intentionally but they do. Further many companies misinterpret the underlying importance of particular customer experience elements, which ultimately causes a team ship the wrong thing.
To start you need to identify the true emotional points of an experience and only then work to create an emotional connection. Remember that what the customer says directly may not be a true reflection of what they need, so interpreting the emotional signals behind it you can make better informed decisions in your product. The results can be significant: A retail company that focused on creating this type of emotional connection increased its percentage of emotionally connected customers by 5%, which resulted a 50% increase in same-store-sales growth (1).
Bottom line: Emotionally connected customers buy more of the products they feel connected to, and I’m a perfect example. That tax preparation software I referenced? I’m unlikely to renew next year given my recent experience, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way!