The Science Behind Customer Experience and How to Use It

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Much has been written about the importance of customer experience and how to achieve an optimal one. But what most companies likely don’t know is how that experience actually plays out in the brains of those customers, from what they remember and retain about your brand to the senses involved. How you play to these scientific factors can greatly affect the end result.

First and last impressions matter most

There are two psychological concepts that explain how human memory tends to work: the “primacy effect,” i.e. the beginning, and the “recency effect,” i.e. the last thing that happened. These effects contribute to the customer experience, as consumers researching a new product will indubitably pay attention to both their first and last impressions they heard about your brand. So, if the beginning and ending experiences are positive, consumers are more likely to purchase from you. This is true even if they learned or experienced something negative about your products or brands in the time between.

Peak moments are also highly memorable

The exception to human memory favoring beginnings and endings is what’s called “peak” moments, which elicit powerful emotions (both good and bad). The reason is pretty obvious: emotions trigger memories. Given that 95% of purchasing decisions are influenced by emotions, not logic, it becomes imperative for companies to focus on evoking positive feelings in customers. “An optimal brand experience demonstrates emotional sensitivity and sets the bar for all brand expectations moving forward, regardless of category or sector,” says Deloitte.

According to Howard Lax, Ph.D. from experience and research technology platform Forsta, fostering a positive emotional attachment to a brand increases the likelihood of repurchasing or renewing, increasing loyalty and spending by about 50%. On a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than 2x as valuable as highly satisfied customers, buying additional products and services, exhibiting less price sensitivity and paying greater attention to a brand’s communications.

Don’t forget about personalization

We know now that the information between the beginning and the end is unlikely to be remembered unless it produces a powerful emotion. So how can you make it more likely? The key is through personalization. Consumers appreciate personalized experiences because they reduce the paradox of choice. Customers and prospects would rather have a menu of options narrowed to best suit them and their needs, thus feeling less overwhelmed and more in control. 

And how do you determine exactly what those needs are? Through the data you collect about their preferences and habits, like how they want to receive a billing statement and what channel they choose to make payments. This information helps you tailor experiences to your customers, engaging with them within the channels and during the moments that matter.

Marrying the art with the science

Marketing is often said to be part art and part science. To tap into the parts of human memory that can have the greatest impact on customer experience, seek a partner that offers the ability to centralize and enhance your customer data. Use this partnership to orchestrate personalized journeys across a depth and breadth of channels, and ultimately create lasting impressions on your customers. To learn more about personalized customer journeys such as digital billing and payment adoption or upselling new products and solutions, click here.