Customer Experience vs. Memory: Make Every Touch Count

In his seminal TED Talk entitled, “The riddle of experience vs. memory,” Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman discussed a variety of studies showing that what we experience in life and what we remember of those experiences are often very different. While we can’t remember every detail of our experiences, we remember the highs and lows and, particularly, the outcome.

Kahneman gives an example of a man listening to a beautiful symphony. At the end, there was an emotionally jarring sound, a screech. The man claimed that the screeching ruined the experience for him. But according to Kahneman’s research, it was the man’s memory of the experience that was ruined—not the experience itself, as he had listened to 98% of it and fully enjoyed it. Memory is the part of the self that keeps score and maintains the story.

This cognitive gap between memory and experience applies directly to customer experience in business. All touchpoints are relevant in creating a memory of the best customer experience. When 98% of interactions are good, and the journey ends on a bad note, that’s what we remember. How can you make sure that the customer journey is remembered as a positive experience? Be proactive. Just as the memory of the symphony experience was ruined by a bad ending, an experience can be recovered by proactive engagement and reconciliation.

Build Use Cases that Serve Your Goals

Proactive engagement is more strategic than just sending email alerts. It requires design around desired outcomes, with efficiency and cost-effectiveness for customers and the business overall.

This need for efficient ways to deliver strategic business outcomes is the driver behind the Genesys SMART program. It’s a methodology designed for maximum and incremental business benefits—and fast time to value. Use cases are the cornerstone of SMART. Prescriptive in nature and repeatable, each SMART use case offers specific benefits and business outcomes.

Engage with Customers Using Their Preferred Channel  

Let’s look at a major utility company in the United States that uses proactive engagement very effectively for a variety of use cases. First of all, its strategy is to keep customers informed and engaged on whichever communication channel the customer prefers.

The utility used Outbound, a key component of the Genesys Customer Experience Platform and deployed in the Cloud. They developed 25 campaigns totaling more than 15 million touches across email, phone and voice—all based on customer preferences. One of the use cases is billing forecast alerts. These notify customers when their monthly bill is forecast to exceed a customer-defined limit, and when they’re at risk of a surcharge.

Another use case is event day alerts about outages in the customer’s area, with regular updates on those outages. This eliminates the need for customers to reach out to other parts of the organization for updates, saving the utility and its customers precious time. Most importantly, follow-up surveys show that 83% of those alerted find the campaigns to be a positive and valuable experience.

Outbound and Your Customer Experience Strategy

There are other benefits of using multiple channels for outbound engagement, including an increase in the likelihood of contact with the customer. The utility company set a target of reaching 96% of residential customers with its multi-channel event day alerts. Yet, they actually reached 96.54%. These solid results were only possible because the company proactively managed each customer’s permissions. They were able to contact the customer on their preferred channel, with the right messages at the right times. And with the advantages of modern cloud technology, deployment was quick and easy. This speed of deployment enables the utility to address immediate business opportunities—including urgent alerts—and drive rapid and strategic business outcomes.

The end of a customer journey is often the most critical point in what customers remember as their experience. Proactive communication builds that memory all along the journey by improving satisfaction, lowering costs, and creating efficiencies that are more likely to result in those happy endings. Therefore, you have control over how the story plays out with your customers. Proactively engage with them on the channel of their choice.

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