The Emotional Anatomy of Customer Experience

The Emotional Anatomy of Customer Experience

If emotions are that important to the customer experience, then certainly you must be measuring them, right? 

Ready to elevate your CX game? Dive into the intriguing case of Compassion International and discover how emotions have emerged as the most accurate predictor of loyalty. We’ll challenge the status quo, discussing why simply eliminating negative experiences might not be enough to foster positive relationships. Embrace the significance of ’emotional wow’ and learn how it trumps mere efficiency. Hear from Jim Tincher, CEO at Heart of the Customer, as he passionately expounds on the key role of emotions in service recovery and loyalty. Lastly, don’t miss out on the golden opportunity to join a vibrant cohort of 11 other CX professionals to brainstorm and strategize. And remember, we have discount codes for Jim’s conference, just waiting to be claimed!

Heart of the Customer’s second annual Do B2B Better conference on September 12 is the emerging event for B2B and B2B2C customer experience leaders looking to drive business impact through customer experience outcomes.

B2B Customer Experience Conference

Full Transcript Below

Mike Giambattista

Jim Tincher, it is always great to see you. Thank you for joining me for the podcast today. 

Jim Tincher

You bet Mike Looking forward to it. 

Mike Giambattista

So there’s a lot going on in your world there always is, I think but specifically you’ve got a conference coming up we would like to talk about and then I’m really looking forward to discussing the book, which you can’t see because it’s a podcast, but it’s sitting right behind Jim on his desk and right in front of me because I’ve now read it. 

It’s called “Do B2B Better”, which happens to be the name of the upcoming conference. So first let’s talk about that conference. What is it? What’s involved and why should a CX fanatic, practitioner, newbie, somebody who just wants to know about CX, why would they attend? 

Customer Experience - Do B2B Better by Jim Tincher

Customer Experience expert Jim Tincher provides the wisdom and tools to show business-to-business (B2B) organizations how to build and sustain superior customer experience (CX) as a core business activity.

Jim Tincher

Sure, and there are not a lot of conferences out there specific to be to be. I think we’ve all been to many conferences where Amazon or Target, best Buy will be up there, and those lessons are pretty hard to replicate if you’re in a manufacturing company, if you work for a software organization Very different types of experience and so what I’ve done is I’ve taken those who inspire me and put them on stage. So I’ll be there, of course, on stage, but we brought people like Roxie Strohmenger. She is the treasurer of the CXPA. She leads User Experience at UKG and was one of the common case studies in my book and very inspirational. Last year she was probably the most popular speaker at the conference, so I brought her back. She’s talking about a topic you don’t read much, which is how to design for and measure emotions in the be to be customer experience. Tabitha Dunn she leads CX for the 22nd largest organization in the world, Hitachi, and she’ll be talking about resilience as a CX leader. I saw her speak at the CXPA leaders advance and I said I want you to come to my conference. It was fabulous. And she talked about her journey as a CX leader and how she ensures she creates impact and makes sure she has the right resources while also taking care of herself, and I love that. 

Something we’ve heard frequently people are asking is how do I hire a CX leader or a CX member, a member of the CX team? And so I brought together three folks to talk about that Lori Laflin from Compeer, Elda Maciasfrom Securian, as well as Brandon Cagnon from American Modern Insurance to share there what they do to make sure that they’re hiring the right people. 

That’ll be backed by some research we’ve recently done on journey orchestration – it’s something I’m excited about. It’s not done so much in B2B, but it is at Schneider Electric, so I have Christine Davis coming talking about her work there. So really bringing people who I have found are outliers in a good way for the work they’re doing and bringing them there to share with you what they do. We also are actually doing something different this year, which is we are assigning those who want to be as part of a cohort. So you’ll meet with about 11 other folks ahead of time, get a chance to talk with them, meet them, you’ll sit with them at the conference and have a follow-up meeting afterwards as you talk about your plans. 

Mike Giambattista

Love that, love that. Well, for anybody listening here, I’m gonna try and make it there. My schedule that time of year is just a little bit in flux, but we’ve got banner ads on the site and we’ve got a promotional code. So see that, see the link, if you have any interest in attending. You have more questions? Please hit me up directly. I’ll be happy to answer those for you, if that’s the case. Interesting thing on some of the topics that you just brought up, because one of the things that I wanted to address from your book is this idea of measuring emotions and how important they are as it relates to CX overall, and we had a mini discussion about this, I don’t know a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t aware that Roxy is kind of the person behind that whole movement, or at least part of it. 

Jim Tincher

Yeah, she’s one of them. I took a lot of my ideas from her.

Mike Giambattista

So let’s talk about it a little bit, because the way you frame this up in your book is, I think, really interesting. Because I’m well, let me just back up a hair because this interests me, because I come at the same point from a different, a different angle. I’ve been working with a customer loyalty analytics group for the past several years and we’ve developed, first of all, a perspective but then a set of measurements to get at brand loyalty on an emotional basis, which is a tremendous overlap with the work you’re doing. So I read the book, went back over that section and several times to make sure I understood what I thought I understood, and I’m dying to unpack that with you. 

All right, I don’t think it’s just fascinating stuff, but it’s also super critical to anybody in the CX, anybody who’s actively trying to build customer engagement, whatever the discipline is. You just, you just can’t ignore it. And yet emotions are very difficult to measure. They’re even more difficult, my opinion, to turn into something that would look like a KPI and build against. If you’re quarterly bonus depends on that kind of a thing. So let’s just talk. Let’s just talk about it, the importance of it. Let’s start there. 

Jim Tincher

Well, let me start with why I call this out versus, say, a net promoter score, customer satisfaction. Both of those are outcomes of your experience. You are hoping those outcomes are correlated with what we really care about in CX, which is our customer is going to stay with us, are they going to buy more to the interactive ways less expensive to serve? Often those are correlated, but they’re correlated as an outcome. They don’t get to the causal area and we all make emotional decisions first. Those who are listening to us today decided right away that emotional decision to stay listening and to pay attention or to tune out and think about their coffee on their as they’re driving. That’s an emotional decision and we can measure those emotions and we can design for those emotions, but we rarely do. You will never shock a CX person by saying emotions matter. We all know that. I’ll have that conversation quite often. I’ll say okay, so which of these emotions are you measuring? What do you mean? Well, if emotions are that important the customer experience you’re certainly. You must be measuring them right. 

We’ll know – Well why not, and it actually isn’t all that hard to measure. Now, understand, this is an external rationalization stealing those words from Roxy of your emotions, but over a solid sample size, you can start to understand what are those emotions self-reported actually linked to the behaviors we care about, and that’s what it’s all about is that it’s not replacing that promoter score or customer satisfaction or anything else. It’s an additive to understand what emotions a customer is feeling and how do we act against that. 

Now I first gave across this on a B2B2C study, which is on purchasing life insurance, and we did a digital ethnography as part of our journey mapping. So, not familiar with digital ethnography. It is a platform where you follow people over time and we asked people purchasing life insurance how do you feel about this process? And most were either positive or negative. There were a few neutral. The negative were typically anxious. They don’t like talking about mortality, they don’t like healthcare things. They’re doing this because they felt like they had to, but not loving it, whereas others were just I’m an adult now I need life insurance, I’ll get it no big deal. 

Well, those emotions persisted throughout the journey. Those were positive beginning. Everybody in our sample was positive at the end. Those were negative at the beginning. Most stayed negative at the end. What we found was there were a handful of advisors. That’s the second B and the B2B2C. The advisors were intervening, noticing their anxiety and were helping them to overcome that, so they ended up positive and it got me really interested. 

So well, wait a minute. Why couldn’t we measure these emotions outside of a digital ethnography? And that’s why I started looking more into emotions and measuring them. Now, completely separate, Dow Ricardo Porto is the current leader. Dan Futter was there, he’s now the chief commercial officer. They were measuring enjoyability. Separate from them, Roxy was measuring confidence and seven other emotions separate from that. Nancy was measuring happiness. The VA was measuring trust. All of these organizations, on their own, started measuring emotions. That I found in my research. Fidelity does as well, and it is possible to measure emotions. Now you have to be deliberate, choosing the right ones and looking how you measure it. But all those organizations have found that the emotions are the best predictor of the behaviors we care about. 

I want to take a quick break from the conversation to tell you about one of our sponsors. What could you achieve if you knew what your customer is expected ahead of time? What if you could know what customers expect by category and by brand, 12 to 18 months ahead of traditional brand tracking methods? And what if you could know exactly where to adjust and where to spend in order to derive the most benefit? Every time, a customer expectation audit allows you to identify areas that require strategic reinforcement, as well as pinpoint which values will contribute most to an emotional bond with your brand and optimize accordingly. Customer land has partnered with Brand Keys, the world’s oldest loyalty focused consumer research firm, to bring real world customer expectation audits to brands, brand managers and to CX practitioners everywhere Want to know where your brand stands and exactly what to do about it. Go to expectationaudit.com and download a sample audit today. 


Mike Giambattista

A couple of things come to mind as you say that. One is that, yeah, I mean I’ve seen in my world that you can absolutely measure emotions, but you can’t do it directly. It’s difficult enough to survey people on yes, no answers and you have a margin of error and stuff like that. But with emotions, just like conversations about emotions, it’s a lot of times more difficult to get to the truth than you think. You can’t just ask directly and expect a straightforward answer, although there are a lot of ways to try and go. 

Jim Tincher

We do that. We’ve got survey questions. When you talk about our client, what emotions do you feel? We find that’s very predictive. I also like to use text analytics to get to the emotions voice analytics yet those are important as well. But it is possible in a survey to actually ask what emotions are you feeling. Now you can’t just choose the emotions, put them on the survey and measure. You have to go through the process of using a similar survey to get to what customers are going through, the behaviors you want and don’t want, and what emotions they feel. But yes, you can do it right within a survey. 

Mike Giambattista

I offer that up. I believe that. So I stand corrected. But I do think that you can’t just show up and start blasting away like how do you feel about X, y and Z? 

Jim Tincher

No, we first score customers. We’re the ones that are having a good experience versus those having a negative experience. Then we put out a survey. We’ll ask about a whole range of emotions to them which we get through qualitative research. Then we say, okay, let’s look at correlating. So these emotions are correlated with good experiences. These are the ones bad. We’ll start measuring that. Then we’ll look over time which ones are actually predicted. 

Mike Giambattista

Right. The other thing that came to mind as you were telling me this is that in the research that I’ve been privy to, depending on which category of I’m just going to call it customer relationship If it’s a B2C conversation, let’s just use the word conversation where the consumer is talking about buying shoes there is a set of expectations there. This is what I’m thinking of and feeling when I’m going to consider a shoe purchase, depending on the category, depending on the nature of that relationship. Sometimes in our measurements, the feeling part of that, the emotion part of that, is up to 80, sometimes even 90 percent of the consideration. 

Oh yeah, it’s massive. And yet there are other decisions that are way more rational than that. So again, it’s a function of you really have to understand your channel, you really have to understand the nature of the customer relationship, the category and all that. But it is possible. But it’s just wild to me that so many of the people that I interact with, both in the CX world, loyalty space, everywhere else, are talking about emotions and emotional loyalty and emotional experiences, but really still only measuring on rational basis. 

Jim Tincher

Oh, yeah, yeah, the important thing in B2B. And so let’s go back to your example. You buy the wrong shoes, well, you’re going to be annoyed and you’ll be frustrated with the company, but if you choose the wrong software company, you might be fired. 

Mike Giambattista

Yeah, you can end your career. 

Jim Tincher

The importance of emotions are even greater in B2B and that’s why I love going deep into that. So Lori Laughlin’s friend of mine, she’ll be at the conference and I posted on LinkedIn that emotions even matter in B2B. She says what do you mean? Even matter? They matter more in B2B because that’s your livelihood. 

Mike Giambattista

Because the stakes are so much higher. 

Jim Tincher

Gardner came out with research showing that one of the best predictors of a high quality B2B deal is confidence in the information you’re provided and trust in the salesperson providing it to you. So even in the sales maybe especially in the sales process trust matters. Emotions are a critical part of the experience, which is why we need to start measuring. 

Mike Giambattista

That’s another like 15 questions that I could add into this conversation. I know it’s on time, however, but I do want to talk about another section of the book where you talk about something related, but I think it’s really worth unpacking here, and that is because I talk to so many providers that specialize in removing friction and making processes complaint processes, service processes more efficient, but that’s not the same as creating a wow experience, creating an emotional bond, and you did a really neat job of it in the book, I’ll say. But there’s an example you gave with Compassion International on some of the measuring they did and what they found out. I was wondering if you just tell that story a little bit. 

Jim Tincher

Sure. So they looked at what is predictive of loyalty for them and if you’re not familiar with Compassion International, Compassion is one of the largest global nonprofits and they helped sponsor kids from other programs. Their mission is to release children from poverty in Jesus’s name, and what they found was that emotions were the best predictor. They created a matrix of, or a combination metric of, four different items likelihood to recommend, but they also found that being delighted and joy, I believe I don’t have a top of my mind, but they found that two emotions were very critical in predicting whether a sponsor would continue sponsoring children, especially if there’s a transition in child, such as, for example, the child ages out, those emotions strongly predict whether that sponsor will stay in and do another child. And it’s been another area that was early on in my learning and found Compassion doing a great job of incorporating emotions into their approach. Now, since I wrote that in the book, they’re now coming out with a worldwide measurement and so they’re evolving a little bit more, but still emotions are central to the work. 

Mike Giambattista

Really interesting. Sort of related to that – I think it follows on the next chapter, if I’m not mistaken. There’s a whole section in there and we can refer to the book and look at our notes if we want to. There’s a whole section there that talks about the difference between solving for efficiency versus solving for emotional wow, emotional bonding, those kinds of things and they’re two very, very different processes. 

Jim Tincher

Well, so the part of the brain that activates frustration is a different part of the brain that activates joy, and you don’t build positive relationships by removing the negative. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s a different part of the brain. We just finished work with a life insurance organization and my hypothesis was the drivers of churn were different than the drivers of doing more business with that company. It was a B2B2C organization and that was validated. 

The drivers of churn were more broken processes. The drivers of doing more business were more. Supporting me, different types of experiences. Yes, you need to remove friction Absolutely important. 

Many of your listeners may be familiar with the effortless experience that talks about. The most important outcome to create loyalty is not to create a wow, but to make it easy. And that’s monk and in fact, the reason. If you go back and look at their research, the research is completely isolated to callers, to the contact center, right where there’s a problem. Exactly yes, if there’s a problem, don’t ask me to build my grandkids, don’t build a relationship. Solve my problem, and I agree with that. The authors overreach on the implications. It does not apply outside of service recovery. Outside of service recovery, whether you like Exxon Institute, whether you like, forester, or whether you want to look at the internal data of Dow, UKG and others, they all say the same thing that emotions are a better predictor of loyalty as a behavior. Buying more, staying longer, operating ways less expensive to serve, then, is an effective or easy experience. 

Mike Giambattista

So I’m just going to reiterate that all this and more happens at gyms at the conference you’re hosting, the do B2B Better conference with some amazing speakers. I’ll reiterate that there are banner ads all over our site and we have discount codes that Jim and his team have given us. If you’re interested in attending, please reach out. In the meantime, Jim, it is always a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for this. 

Jim Tincher

Well, thanks, Mike. I always enjoy it. Clearly I’m passionate on the topic, but I love talking with you, talking more, and be happy to do it anytime. 

Mike Giambattista

Well, let’s keep doing it!

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