We just published a Temkin Group report, Emotion-Infused Experience Design.
Emotions play an essential role in how people make decisions. Consequently, how a customer feels about their experience with a company has the most significant impact on their loyalty to that company. And yet despite their importance, both customers and companies agree that organizations do a poor job of engaging customers’ emotions. To help companies create a stronger emotional connection with customers, we’ve developed an approach called Emotion-Infused Experience Design (EIxD). To master EIxD, organizations must continuously focus on three questions: “Who exactly are these people (who happen to be our customers)?” “What is our organizational personality?” and “How do we want customers to feel?” This report offers both advice and examples about how to apply these three questions across four facets that affect emotion: senses, feelings, social, and values. And to help infuse these practices across the organization, we have also identified some strategies for how to turn employees into agents of EIxD.
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Our research shows that emotion is often a missing link in customer experience. While emotions may seem ephemeral and subjective, we developed a concrete methodology you can use to design for emotion. We call this methodology “Emotion-Infused Experience Design” (EIxD), and we define it as:
An approach for deliberately creating interactions that evoke specific customer emotions.
To master EIxD, you must ask (and answer) three questions throughout the entire design process:
- Who exactly are these people (who happen to be our customers)? You cannot design emotionally engaging experiences without a solid grasp on who your target customers are—what they want, what they need, what makes them tick.
- What is our organizational personality? Research shows that people relate to companies as if they are fellow human beings rather than inanimate corporate entities.
- How do we want our customers to feel? People are inherently emotional beings, and every interaction they have with you will make them feel a certain way—whether you intend it to or not.
To address the three questions of EIxD, this report shows how to design around four elements of emotion: senses, feelings, social, and values. Here are two of the 26 figures in the report:
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I was recently interviewed for an article that discusses a post where Fox News journalist John Stossel describes his experience as a lung cancer patient at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
First of all, I hope that Stossel’s treatment is successful. And although I don’t fully agree with his analysis of the industry, I do agree with his observation “…I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks.” Yes, there is a problem with patient experience.
I’m reminded of this picture from a post that I wrote in 2009, which comes from Cleveland Clinic’s 2008 Annual Report.
With all of the focus on costs and liabilities, the medical system has forgotten about the soul of the patient. It’s become dehumanized.
The wellbeing of a patient often takes a back seat to rigid processes and procedures, and there’s little understanding of how to help patients make increasingly important financial/medical trade-offs. It’s not that doctors, nurses, and hospital staffs don’t care. It’s just that the entire system has conspired to de-emphasize humanity.
This problem is not unique to healthcare. In research that we did in 2013, we found that only 30% of employees have what Aristotle called “practical wisdom,” the combination of moral will and moral skill. This is the capability that Barry Schwartz explains is critical for infusing humanity within organizations.
While there are many structural issues in U.S. healthcare (which I won’t go into here), there are still many things that can be done to re-humanize the patient experience. Here are some ideas:
- Apply better experience design. Health care leaders should learn and apply the the principles of People-Centric Experience Design: align with purpose, guide with empathy, and design for memories.
- Develop a value mindset. As patients take on more of the direct financial burden for healthcare, doctors must do more than recommend treatments and procedures. They must help patients understand the value of those activities, so that they can make smart financial/medical trade-offs.
- Build decision-support technology. Patients should be able to understand the efficacy and full costs of the treatments and procedures that they are being asked to “purchase.” Health plans need to take the lead in providing tools for making this information transparent, and empowering patients to make better decisions.
The bottom line: It’s time to re-humanize healthcare
We just published a Temkin Group report, Behavioral Guide to Customer Experience Design. Here’s the executive summary:
According to recent scientific research, customers make most of their decisions using intuitive thinking instead of rational thinking. Intuitive thinking relies on unconscious heuristics and biases to make decisions efficiently, and as a result, people tend to be more affected by losses than by gains, to prefer simplicity over complexity, to be affected by their current emotional and visceral states, to be heavily influenced by those around them, to make decisions based on context, and to misjudge their past and future experiences. In this report, we identify best practices for tapping into these heuristics and biases across three areas of experience design; companies can Nudge customers in the right direction, Assist them in accomplishing their goals, and Enhance their overall experience. To incorporate intuitive thinking into experience design, companies need to follow four steps: define target customers, identify relevant heuristics and biases, select design strategies, and then test, test, test.
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Here are tactics for applying these human biases in your experience design efforts that we describe in the report:
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The bottom line: Embrace your customers’ natural behaviors.
As part of yesterday’s Customer Experience Day celebration, I attended a CXPA local networking event at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston. The session kicked off with a panel from the DFCI discussing patient experience.
I’m a big fan of DFCI and have enormous respect for the great work that it does in battling cancer. The panel, which included a cancer survivor turned volunteer, was fantastic. I was inspired by the commitment and compassion they displayed.
One of the points that came up was DFCI’s commitment to treat the whole person. This explains why it provides things such as hand massages during chemotherapy treatment. DFCI doesn’t just treat the disease, it treats the whole person.
I love the concept of the whole person. It’s not just applicable to DFCI or other health care providers, but to every organization. It’s a powerful concept for anyone who cares about customer experience.
Here’s how I think about the whole person:
- Emotion, not just success. DFCI doesn’t have data showing that hand massages will result in better clinical outcomes. It knows that a patient’s positive medical outcome is important, but it’s not enough. Your customers are the same. You need to understand, care about, and actively design for your customers’ emotional states.
- Goals, not just interactions. A chemotherapy patient is battling cancer, not just getting treatment. When customers interact with you, it’s often part of a broader goal. A customer who calls to change her address, for instance, probably has a life change going on that dwarfs the need to update your administrative systems. The better you can understand and cater to these larger goals, the more opportunity you will have to build loyalty.
- Community, not just individuals. One of DFCI’s key elements for helping patients is supporting their caregivers. These people are a critical element of the patient’s medical journey. Your organization needs to understand the role that community plays in your customers’ lives. How can you help your customers achieve their goals by supporting key members in their personal ecosystems?
- Caring, not just doing. DFCI doesn’t just mandate a set of explicit activities that define how people should focus on the whole person, it consistently reinforces the importance of this focus in achieving DFCI’s mission. It gets employees and volunteers to care about these elements, not just follow a bunch of directions. You need to help employees understand why the whole person is important, and spark their natural capabilities for caring.
I hope that you are inspired to drive your organization towards focusing on the whole person. Here are a few tools that should help:
The bottom line: Start focusing on the whole person!
Happy CX Day 2014!
As I mentioned in my 14 Customer Experience Trends for 2014, this year will be the “Year of Empathy.” Given the focus on this key area, Temkin Group created the Amplify Empathy movement. So when we were thinking about our CX Day celebration, it seemed like a perfect fit for us to do something about empathy.
That’s why we created this free eBook: 25 Tips for Amplifying Empathy.
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The eBook discusses these tips from a wide variety of companies:
The bottom line: Pick a few tips to replicate and amplify empathy in your organization