This week’s Forrester Forum in NYC created conversations around two very different concepts: emotional connections with customers and prioritization of CEX budget. Emotional connection is “touchy feely”, full of metaphors of food, sports & nature, whereas prioritization tends to be very numeric and measurable. The question raised is how do we combine the two to measure and improve an emotional connection?
On day one, Megan Burns, principal analyst at Forrester, set the stage convincingly by re-calibrating the science of CEX and the weights of the original core dimensions: Effectiveness, Ease and Emotion. Her team’s research showed emotion as a much more significant driver than the other two. Customers tend to be loyal to brands with which they feel an emotional connection.
As she drilled into emotion as that significant driver of loyalty, she uncovered dependencies. To create emotional connections there needed to be efficiency – such as the ability to resolve customer problems quickly. With that in mind, we can start attaching metrics and driving an emotional connection, at least to some extent.
The Home Depot’s Fil DaCosta spoke about the less tangible aspects. Coming from the contact center space, the “masters of measurement,” he discussed how The Home Depot leverages customer feedback and what customers are saying on calls to evaluate and drive the right behavior from employees. The previous day, CEO of Mercedes-Benz stated passionately that “Customer Experience Follows Employee Experience.” The Home Depot’s story proves that point. Creating a direct understanding of customers, all the way down to every frontline employee, you can drive that coveted emotional connection. After all – it takes two to make an emotional connection, and humans do it best. By holding employees directly accountable for the customer experience, through education and customer-driven scoring, the Home Depot created tangible results that would impress even the most cynical of CFOs.
In the end, after much discussion and debate of metrics (such as CEXi, NPS, CES…) the emotional connections at Forrester’s event were created when metrics were put aside. All mouths watered when Rick Parrish talked about chocolate-chip pancakes; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Fil DaCosta told the story of a Christmas tree hand-delivered by an employee to a customer fighting cancer; and everyone nodded with warmth at the famous quote from the late Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said. They’ll forget what you did. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”
We couldn’t agree more.