Understanding consumer emotions is more crucial than ever, and including emotional states into customer journey maps is one of the most effective methods to turn this knowledge into action.
One of the most important functions of a customer journey map is to depict the customer's emotional state. While it is critical to precisely portray the customer's behaviour throughout their trip, a critical piece of the puzzle is missing unless emotion is also incorporated into the map.
“The emotions people have while interacting with your brand are tied to their future behaviors—and those behaviours directly impact business growth,” says Steve Offsey, VP marketing at Pointillist. As more firms create customer experiences that actually improve their customers' lives, customer expectations for their encounters with brands are growing more demanding and less forgiving. Customers' emotions at critical moments in their trip can be brought to the forefront using journey maps, which are an useful tool for sharing this information within and across an organisation.”
“By knowing the triggers of emotions, organisations can search for methods to make moments of truth either a moment of delight or an easier scenario for the customers,” says Jeannie Walters, a customer experience speaker and writer and the creator of Experience Investigators. The first step in strengthening those trigger points in the journey is to identify the places of disappointment, irritation, or lack of empathy.”
However, capturing emotion in customer journey maps isn't without its difficulties. For starters, precisely recording the customer's emotional state through the numerous paths of the journey might be difficult. “Customers can communicate their emotions if prompted... but they can't always tell us what they're genuinely experiencing in the moment,” Walters says.
How do you capture customer emotions?
A variety of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies can be used to capture emotions.
According to Offsey, qualitative research is a fantastic approach to capture in-the-moment emotions—positive, neutral, or negative—at several touchpoints along the trip. “It allows you to capture the intensity of those feelings as well as the behaviours they drive, allowing you to determine which touchpoints are truly "make or break" moments.
“Qualitative research helps you understand your consumers' emotions by putting their reactions to their experiences in the context of their overall goals, and by allowing you to capture positive and negative emotions in real-time as they interact with your business. This way, you can figure out which aspects of the event are important.”
The following are some of the most common qualitative travel research methods:
- Contextual Interviews.
- Observational Interviews.
- Digital Diary Studies.
- Focus Groups.
- Community Boards.
There are quantitative approaches as well as qualitative ones that can be used.
“Although researchers frequently employ quantitative methodologies to back up qualitative ideas with ‘hard facts,' they are a strong tool to discover what customers ‘really do' and prioritise which sections of the trip are crucial for additional exploration,” says Offsey.
The following are examples of quantitative research methods:
- Surveys (email, online, in-person, intercept).
- CSAT and Net Promoter Score (NPS) assessments.
- A/B tests.
- Eye-tracking, in-store tracking.
- Via reporting from frontline staff.
Another quantitative method that is gaining traction is customer journey analytics.
Customer journey analytics, according to Offsey, is a method of analysing customer behaviour and motivations across touchpoints and over time in order to improve customer interactions and anticipate future behaviour. “Customer journey analytics can show you which parts of your customers' trip are the most important. As a result, your survey can ask your consumers to score or describe their emotional response to that specific aspect of their experience.”
How do you build emotion into a journey map?
Once the data on emotion has been collected, emotion can be portrayed on a journey map in a number of different ways.
Some maps are highly explicit about the feelings of their customers. Words like frustrated, bewildered, happy, amazed, and so on may appear, for example. Simple conventions such as happy/neutral/sad or positive/neutral/negative are used in certain maps.
Strativity is one company that employs this last method.
Because there are so many emotions, and humans can experience multiple emotions at once, Peter Haid, director of Strativity's trip mapping practise, adds that it's vital to simplify it for the map. "The idea is to figure out if emotions are driving behaviours," he says, "because that's where customers make decisions."
Strativity divides emotions into five categories: Positive Active, Positive Passive, Neutral, Negative Passive, and Negative Active, to name a few.
Scores, scales, and graphs may be used in maps that include quantitative evaluations of emotions. Icons, pictures, words, and phrases can all be used to illustrate emotional stages on a map.
“Of course, it depends on the map,” Walters says, “but posting real customer quotations, audio, photographs, or videos may be really successful in expressing emotions.” The use of simple graphics such as emoticons or temperature gauges allows individuals viewing the map to detect trends in the highs and lows of the consumers' emotional journey.”
“Every map should include an experience evaluation that identifies the points in the customer journey that cause friction and those that pleasure your customers,” says Offsey. To effectively explain the friction and delight spots in the customers' journey, some maps use graphic approaches or experience ratings. Using a convention that specifically designates those areas as pain points and delight points is one method to draw attention to them.
“Those make-or-break moments in the customer journey are known as moments of truth. Identifying moments of truth reveals which of those touchpoints are the most crucial for your consumer to maximise. This gives you a prism through which you can prioritise your investment in the journey's most crucial touchpoints.”
Offsey also thinks that combining emotions with different sorts of experience evaluation is beneficial. Here are several examples:
- Importance of a touchpoint, tool or resource.
- Satisfaction with a touchpoint, tool or resource.
- Measure of how much effort a customer had to exert to accomplish a goal relative to how much effort they expected to exert.
- Measure of how much time it took customers to accomplish a goal relative to how much time they expected it to take.
“The goal is to capture emotional experience data and visually express it in your map in a way that is easy to grasp and impactful,” says Offsey, regardless of how you display customer emotions in your journey map.
“Any organisation aiming to improve customer experience and quantify it in a meaningful way must capture your customers' emotions in your trip map,” he says. The qualitative and quantitative methodologies described can assist you in the following ways:
1.) Make sure you're investing in customer experience from the perspective of your customers, not from the perspective of your company.
2.) Engage clients with an ideal message that resonates emotionally and is delivered through their preferred channel at important points in their journeys.
3.) Move beyond gut instinct to prioritise customer experience enhancement possibilities and establish a direct link between customer behaviour and company outcomes to gain executive buy-in.”