Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Emotional Attachement = Customer Engagement

Hot off the presses.. Human Sigma is HOT.. A must read for anyone who is interested in customer or employee engagement. John Fleming lays out for us all a great model for evaluating our efforts at customer satisfaction that is logical and research based. I love it and plan to use it to complement my already robust customer service programs. The model lays out four levels of Emotional Attachment.. the kind of attachment that has been proven to positively impact the financial statement. The model looks at these four dimensions:
  • Confidence: What are you doing to create customer trust in your services? Would your customers say you always deliver on your spoken and unspoken promises?
  • Integrity: Do you treat your customers fairly? When something goes wrong, do you apologize for the problem? How fair are you in resolving the problem?
  • Pride: Do your customers have a positive sense of association and identification with you? Are they proud to be your customer? Does their association with you mean something to them personally? Does it define their own self-concept of who they are?
  • Passion: Would your customers consider life not worth living without you? Ok.. that is a bit much, but the concept is the same... Are you indispensable? Would they drive across town for you? How much passion do they have for you?
I will use a easy example to bring these home.. Think of the last time you flew somewhere on an airplane, where things didn't quite go as well as you hoped.. close your eyes and imagine yourself waiting to get on the flight...

Confidence: How sure were you that the flight would leave on time? Were you confident that you would get where you were going on-time and with your baggage?

Integrity: Now whatever went wrong has happened.. they have been delayed, or your bags are gone.. etc..Do you think they treated you fairly? Did they demonstrate respect for you?

Pride: After the flight.. did you go around bragging on how you traveled.. I mean, did you become a poster child for the airline?

Passion: Now suppose you are going to fly again next week.. how important is it for you to fly on this same airline.. if they can only offer you bad connections or cost more, would you still fly on them?

Most likely, you answered no to all of these questions. It is sad, but I think the deck is stacked against airlines. They don't help themselves much, but they have little chance of overcoming the confidence dimension. Some have risen above.. take Southwest.. you could argue that they do most of these well. I have run into a few Southwest Air Passion Freaks in my days.. Better examples might be Apple or Nordstroms.

There is another piece of this pie as well.. It also links up to employee engagement:
Confidence is about knowing what to expect.. Integrity is about respect and recognition, Pride is about belonging and inclusion (FIRO), and Passion is about connecting to some future goal.. The result is employee engagement.. which equals retention. Incidentally, these concepts also overlap with concepts in Lencioni's new book on misery! :)

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