A collection of articles written by Customer 1st

Emotional Outcomes for Customers

9th May 2011 | Posted in Customer Journey Mapping, Customer Insight, Customer Satisfaction

In my last blog, we discussed Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) and how best to implement the proc-ess. I talked about the touch points where customers' overall perceptions of the level of service pro-vided by the organisation occur. As we are now acutely aware, each touch point makes a distinctive contribution towards customers' feelings. A bad experience can vary from something that customers find frustrating or annoying to one where customers become so angry or demotivated that they will withdraw their business entirely.

In the same way, a positive experience can register at any point along a spectrum. A customer's ex-perience of a touch point might engender feelings of mild satisfaction, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the customer could be so delighted by the organisation's efforts to go beyond expectations that he or she becomes an enthusiastic fan of the business—the organisation's ambassador. When you consider the large number of touch points in a customer journey, it is clear that the sum total of the customer's emotional outcomes on each occasion is significant in determining the overall experience.

The organisation's people, too, whether managers or customer-facing staff, experience emotional outcomes because of their dealings with customers at the touch points. For customer-facing staff in particular, their ability to deliver the desired set of behaviours and attitudes for customers is adversely affected if they constantly experience negative feelings at interactions, perhaps due to the failure or lack of processes, technology, or other resources in place to deal with the demands of the customer and the performance objectives of the organisation. Consequently, it is important in emotional mapping to include staff, where appropriate, identifying their feelings as the customer journey progresses.

Siemens used a wonderful tool called the Mood Rater with which they identified 50 staff each week and asked them, "How do you feel at this moment, and why?" If the mood was bad, the company could follow up with measures to improve it. If the mood was great, the company could evaluate why it was great. We cannot conduct this exercise with customers, but we may use it to discover other measures for best identifying how customers feel during their transactions.

While the physical and financial outputs of touch points are obvious, unless an organisation recognises and tries to measure the emotional outcomes of its customers particularly, it misses a vital element in how its customer experiences are built. The objective of the organisation in CJM is not simply to map and measure outcomes at touch points, but to go to the next step by taking action to improve the emotional outcomes of customers, thus enhancing the overall customer experience.

Yet, in spite of the clear importance of customers' emotional responses to service provision, trying to gauge just how customers feel during each touch point is difficult. We could use a scale from zero to 10, ask customers to choose from a set of statements describing different emotional outcomes, or employ other metrics. However, I have yet to see a robust measure for customers' emotional out-comes—which is frustrating, because I can see how useful such a measure would be. After all, if we could design our service provision to elicit the best possible emotional responses, we would be onto a winner!

Emotional outcomes can be measured or classified in different ways, and it is best for your organisation to adopt the most appropriate method for your needs. But, as mentioned in the Institute of Cus-tomer Service research document "Return on Investment in Customer Service," measuring the emo-tions of both internal and external customers continues to be a big challenge for many organisations.