The Customer's Anatomy

The Customer's Anatomy

13 Jun, 2019

What really counts in a purchase decision and why the customer experience is crucial: Heart or brain? That is the question.

We humans make about 20,000 decisions every day. If you now think back to your last decision, you are surely wondering how that is supposed to work. Well, the last decision you are thinking of now you probably made consciously. But most decisions we make in a flash and intuitively, i.e. unconsciously. Whether you start running to catch the train or press the accelerator just as it turns orange to speed through the intersection, you don't even notice that you have made a decision. When researching this topic, it is not always clear whether the factually scrutinised decisions are the better ones or the intuitive ones. Intuitive decisions are definitely faster and often not the worse ones.

Power of intuition

With every decision we make, we rule out alternatives. If I buy an Audi, I rule out all other car brands (at least that's what most people's budgets are limited to). But why do we choose an Audi and not one of the many alternative brands? Status certainly plays a role. But mostly it is the benefits associated with it. On a purely logical level, because one needs a comfortable and reliable vehicle. In addition, it is highly likely that one has had good experiences with an Audi. These experiences are important on an objective level, but our intuition is also fed by the sum of our experiences. If I have had good experiences with an iPhone, I will most likely shortlist Apple again when buying a tablet or a wearable. And although the Apple product is indisputably the most expensive, I might buy the Apple Watch - as you notice, the pure maximisation of benefits does not apply here, but the alternative options and the experiences.

Tests confirm that intuition is very powerful and often the feeling, the heart, wins over the mind, the brain. In fact, without the ability to feel, we are not able to make decisions.

Not logic, not intelligence, feelings determine our decisions*

And that is why it is important to give all customers a positive experience with a product, the service, even the entire company.

Customer experience is the sum of the experiences that customers have with a brand. It describes much more than just customer service, but all experiences around a product or service. Customer service - ideally done perfectly - is therefore the duty, and customer experience the freestyle. This also makes it clear why every customer experience counts, because even if we cannot consciously recall all experiences, they are anchored in our intuition.
The benefit of a great product recedes into the background if I have to incur increased expense in the case of a return. Therefore, every experience should be a positive one, because we recall it: whether consciously or unconsciously plays a subordinate role in the end.

Effective and friendly service is a duty and by no means the special feat: technology forms the basis and efficiency is the driver.
We should be aware of a few truths: speaking is faster than writing. In our efficiency-driven society, seconds matter - that's why most customers choose the easy and fast way to get in touch with companies. Speech - new German "Voice" - whether classically on the phone with employees or with the voicebot, formerly known as voice computer or IVR - is still the most important communication channel. So never force your customers onto other channels. People and technology should mesh because customers want simple, convenient and fast interactions. Technology paves the way and can surprise us in a positive way thanks to artificial intelligence. According to futurologist Sven Gábor Jánszky, this will enable us to act faster than real time.

Magic word: employee satisfaction

But according to a PWC study, Germany has the highest percentage of customers who want to interact with a human being - it is 84%. (In Japan, by the way, this figure is the lowest at just over 50%.) Technology is therefore "only" the basic prerequisite for good customer service - the special feat is completed by empathetic, authentic and competent employees who, in case of doubt, are also allowed to make a decision themselves in the interest of the customer and thus in the interest of the company.

Employee satisfaction is and remains the magic word for any customer loyalty in Germany: For 55% of customers, employees have the greatest influence on their service experience. 75% even say, according to PWC, that they would like to see more human action, not less. These figures prove that employee satisfaction is the foundation stone for a positive customer experience. As we now say, no customer experience without employee experience. Employees are the best brand ambassadors - they create the experience.

Relying solely on having the best product is no longer enough. Delivering excellent customer service and a holistic positive customer experience with the help of your employees is your key competitive advantage.

My tips

  • Create experiences, because the brand experience is becoming more important than individual features.
  • Listen to the "Voice of the Customer", because customers forgive only few mistakes.
  • Strengthen your most important brand ambassadors: Your employees.

Author: Ralf Mühlenhöver

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