2 Principles for Driving Customer Experience

How to craft customer experience so that they keep coming back?

This is a question that comes up often in many businesses. Now this blog is about the ‘foundations’ or the ‘principles’ of anything at all. So, we won’t get into the nitty-gritties of how to craft an experience and instead look to talk about what it is needed to fundamentally craft an experience.

Principle 1: A good experience is one that has strong positive emotions that are generated in the brain. Note – I am not talking anything about any specific product or services here. Just make sure – if you can hypothetically hook up an EEG device to your customers’ brains then there should be positive waves. Period. It does not matter whether the emotion they experience is ‘joy’ or ‘ecstacy’ or ‘fun’ or any other positive emotions. As long as it is positive then we are good here.

Principle 2: In any experience, there are two things that drive how a person remembers it after the fact. The feeling they felt at the end of the experience and secondly, the strength of the strongest emotion that they felt in that entire experience.

Let’s talk more through this. The first thing is the ’emotion at the end of the experience’. This says that you should leave your customer is a positive frame of mind at the end of the experience. Think through all the movies or the operas that you went to. The ending is usually very memorable. The great experiences have great positive endings. This is what will ‘stay with you’ well after the performance has ended.

The second thing, which is a slightly more nuanced point is the ‘strongest emotion felt in the experience’. This says that you should be able to create a key moment(s) in your experience where the emotion is really strong compared to the rest of the experience. Think about the greatest movie climaxes and the symphony where the music transforms you even if it is for just a few mins in a long performance. The mind remembers that well after the performance is over. 

Put these two principles together and here is what it means. Make amazing endings for any experience you are trying to craft for your customers. In my daughter’s day care and swim classes, they give you stickers or treats that end their day on a positive note. My daughter, atleast, loves those things.  Second, create something in your experience that will ‘move your customer’. Something truly exciting and positive. Even if the customer experience with you or your product or service is over many minutes or hours, these principles apply.

Yes, UI and UX matter. Yes, understanding customers’ needs matters. Yes, your product matters. But ultimately, in the core biology of humans, the experience is encoded as the last thing they remember and the deepest emotion they felt. If they want to experience those things again, they will come back to you and your product or service.

Some people ask me if it is always required to create positive emotions. The answer is NO. People like to experience all sorts of emotions. Think about all the sad movies you keep going back to. You do that because you want to experience that emotion again. One of my favorite movies is ‘Life is Beautiful’ starring Roberto Benigni. It has a sad ending and yet the movie evokes such strong emotions that I have watched it multiple times. Not something I will watch when I need a ‘pick me up’ but there are days when I will enjoy the emotions that come with it.

These principles are also one reason why you tend to remember certain scenes from movies. Those are the ones that were just off the charts. Those are enough for you to keep going back. Remember, movies can be long affairs and the entire movie is not usually ‘amazing’. The key scenes, twists in plots and endings make them amazing and that is why directors spend an inordinate amount of time making sure they are worth remembering. 

Is this post worth remembering?