Customer Experience: how are ‘robots’ going to cultivate feelings that generate memorable customer experiences?

So much talk about Customer Experience – seems like everyone gets the importance of Customer Experience and many businesses are busy designing, improving, orchestrating experiences that reflect the brand, make an impact on the customer and generate customer loyalty.

What constitutes a Customer Experience?  In my experience a ‘customer experience’ is an integrated combination of physical sensations, thoughts and feelings.  Again, tapping into my lived experience it occurs to me that the customer experiences that I have access to right now are the ones that have a strong emotion (my emotion) associated with them.  Put differently, if an interaction with an organisation left me with a strong feeling – surprise, delight, happiness, disappointment, frustration, anger, boredom..- then I can access it because it stands out in my memory bank.   From that I’d argue that feelings are the key lever to work on when it comes to being a master of Customer Experience.

Now walk into the business world – especially the world of big business – and you will encounter a desert: a landscape where feelings are absent.  There is no agreement for feelings to be present in this landscape.  Where feelings do flower the flowers are sprayed with such criticism that the flowers wither almost instantly.  And if the plant/s insist on producing these flowers one too many times then the plants are uprooted and tossed out.  The only plants that survive and prosper in this landscape are the ones that delight in their ability not to have feelings.  Some of the younger plants do have feelings and start out by keeping them hidden in the darkness where no-one can see them.  As these plants get used to playing this game – it becomes second nature – they also lose sight of their feelings.  One day these plants wake up and find that no feelings are present and because they have lost their capacity to feel they do not feel anything about not having any feelings.  Some of the plants actually take delight in not having any feelings: how great to be totally rational.  The paradox of it is a wonder to me:  such a strong feeling about being a plant that does not have feelings!

Which brings me to my central question: how are a bunch of people who long ago lost connection to their feelings and gave up expressing and sharing feelings (at least in the workplace) going to orchestrate stuff so as to cultivate strong feelings in customers and the people on the front line who are serving these customers?  And how are they going to design products that evoke feelings of wonder, delight, affection and love?  Or design processes / introduce technology that creates feelings of being validated, treated as a worthwhile human being, a part of the community, someone that matters….?  If you have the answer then please comment and share your perspective.

A final word:  or me the beauty of plants occurs in their flowering – the variety of colours, shapes, sizes – what a joy to behold and to experience.  What about you?

Posted on January 14, 2012, in Customer Experience, Customer Philosophy, Customer Strategy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi Maz,
    Without a doubt everyone that you refer to has feelings, many of which are suppressed at work and, hopely, not in their personal life. So, why is it do you think that feelings/emotions in the work place are suppressed? Is it due to fear because showing emotion can be construed as a sign of weakness? Is it because feelings are difficult to measure? Is it that the world is changing around business and they are only just waking up to the changes that are taking place but for them to truly respond to them it would take an internal cultural revolution so for now they are making like ostriches?

    Yours with lots of questions,

    Adrian

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    • Hello Adrian

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The answer is that every child has a mother and the child of Capitalism is Calvinism and the child of the modern corporation is the 19th century army.

      Calvinism is austere and man wins salvation through hard, arduous, work with no complaints. Man is born in sin and can redeem himself through work and direct access to God. The 19th century army was no less austere. The rule was simply: one bunch of people gave orders and everyone else followed without question. Incidentally, that is still the model in the English state school system.

      If you go back long enough in history you find the mother (and father) to that which shows up today. Or as my PHysics professor said many years ago: “When you are struggling to make sense of stuff always go back to the fundamental principles and work forward from there!” Thank you professor – great advice that I continue to use.

      Maz

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  2. Hi Maz Iqbal, this is a great website. I was wondering if you would like to write an article regarding some good romance guides. Plenty of couples are having relationship troubles and often they do not know how to handle them. Maybe a good article about romantic helping guides could help them.

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  3. Great topic here Maz! As long as the expeirence is good enough to 1. make you want to use it again or 2. recommend the service them I would call that ‘Good’ customer experience no matter how its generated?

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    • Hello Shelly

      First, welcome to The Customer Blog, I am pleased to hear your voice and to have this opportunity to enter into a conversation with you. I hope you are well.

      Second, I love the zen like simplicity of your answer to the customer experience riddle! And what can I say? I am in total agreement with you!

      I thank you for making the time to speak with me, to share with me, to open my eyes to the simplicity of the answer. I wish you well and look forward to hearing your voice and learning from you.

      Be well, make a massive contribution

      At your service and with my love
      Maz

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