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Shaping emotional customer experience

Customers now have dozens if not hundreds of touchpoints with the key brands in their lives. Shaping better customer experience by mapping and improving those touchpoints has become an obsession. But if journey mapping isn’t driven by empathy and emotion, rather than process, it can be an expensive investment with limited return.  

Satisfaction, effectiveness, and ease are the classic vectors of customer journey mapping. This makes sense - what customer shopping for clothes or trying to get a bank account set up wants more difficulty? - but there’s a problem: companies worldwide are getting much better at the basic elements of customer experience. High call resolution rates and removing obstacles to sale has become the floor, not the ceiling.  

This is especially obvious if you look at China. Key sectors like fintech and retail are deeply evolved and brutally competitive, constantly pushing forward on every front. The mechanics are just expected.  

Going beyond the classic vectors to re-establish advantage is where emotional customer experience comes in. An experience can be highly efficient while still leaving you cold: imagine dealing with a service agent via webchat who quickly assigns you a case number and ‘solves’ your immediate issue by pointing you to a web page, but never uses your name or expresses any interest in understanding your problem. Now imagine if you experienced that from a hotel or airline (in some cases, especially airlines, little imagination is needed).  

Emotional customer experience is built around empathy: the feeling that ‘this company gets me’. Done well, it increases the long-term value of the relationship far beyond individual transactions and tactics.  

This insight drove us at riders&elephants to develop our Customer Experience (CX) Deck, a card-based tool to help people and organisations become more truly customer-centric.  

The deck is built around two foundational questions:  

“Who are our customers?  

What do we want them to feel (and not feel)?” 

It then works by sparking structured conversations about who your customers are, what you know and don’t know about them, and how you want customers to feel when they engage with your business.  

We designed The Customer Experience Deck because we’ve found that many organisations struggle to get to the heart of these customer relationships. Leaders know they need to be more customer-centric. Front line teams often have great insights. But maximising the return on investment in journey mapping relies on being precise about the emotional connections you’re trying to build and focusing on the touch points that most affect that. 

The CX Deck is a simple, human way to build shared understanding and better experiences.