Every interaction a customer has with your company says something about your brand. Do you know how you're making them feel with every touch point? Most companies have detailed processes for delivering products but very little definition of the emotional experience they want customers to have. To delight customers, decide how you want them to feel, and tailor your communications and actions to produce the right emotional experience.  

1.     When do your customers interact with your company?

Start by outlining every typical touch point the customer has with your company while completing a process. This could be as detailed as the step-by-step process for registering online with your website, or as broad as your management of new clients if you're a services firm. The key is to list all the touch points where you can influence the customers' experience.  An Excel spreadsheet is a useful tool for this exercise.

2.     How do you want your customers to feel?

At each point of interaction with your company, identify the primary impressions and emotions you want the customer to have. How do you want them to feel at each stage? You might want to talk with some customers for input if you are unclear how they want to feel.  Here are some useful examples from online to offline:

Example 1: Online Registration Step 1

What's the target customer emotion? "I feel confident I can complete this form with little hassle. What a relief!"

Example 2: Services Firm Project Kickoff Meeting with Client

What's the target customer emotion? "I'm relieved that all the details are covered, and I don't have to drive this project. Now I have time for other things.

3.     Pinpoint your firm's actions and communications to drive those emotions.

Identify what specific actions your company can make at each touch point to drive the emotions and impressions you have defined.  If you have a deep understanding of your customers, then you can complete this process quickly with your team. If you are unsure how to address their emotional needs, spend more time talking with customers. Here's what I mean, continuing with the above examples:

Example 1: Online Registration Step 1

How to achieve this target emotion: "I feel confident I can complete this with little hassle. What a relief!"

  • Make sure all registration fields are 'above the fold,' the form appears brief, and scrolling is not required.
  • Clearly indicate which fields are required and which are optional.
  • Offer more information for any fields that are not self-explanatory.
  • Provide friendly error messages that help rather than hinder customers

Example 2: Services Firm Project Kickoff Meeting with Client

How to achieve this target emotion: "I'm relieved that all the details are covered, and I don't have to drive this project. Now I have time for other things."

  • Prepare a detailed kickoff agenda with key questions and updates to set expectations correctly
  • Show deep understanding of the project scope and prior discussions
  • Drive the meeting so the client can be on "auto-pilot"
  • Show expertise on the product and industry
  • Arrange time and date for all subsequent meetings; own scheduling
  • Recap key decisions and all next step action items

4.     Make customer emotions part of day-to-day company-wide practice.

This exercise will do little good sitting as a file on your computer. You must promote customer-centered "emotional journeys" throughout the organization. Include them in employee training. Make one-page laminated cheat sheets with a visual representation as a reminder to all team members.

To truly delight customers, their emotional journeys must be embedded in the "DNA" of your company. Once you have mastered this once or twice, consider applying it to other functions of the company. At AnswerLab, I have found it extremely useful in crafting our interviewing and new-hire experience, for instance, as well.