Rational elements account for half the typical customer experience; the rest is emotional.
Most organizations focus solely on the rational experience, things like delivery times, how quickly calls are answered in a call center and how easy it is to deal with the organization. While these are important factors in a customer experience, they only comprise part of the customer experience.
In 1953, Neil Borden first used the term “marketing mix” in reference to what are now recognized as the Four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion and place. Since the 1960s the Four Ps have dominated customer loyalty research, but in the 1990s and beyond the need to update the Four P construct has become evident.
One of the weaknesses of this approach to understanding the customer is that it strictly appeals to the purely rational elements of the customer experience. Deliberate and effective customer experience management has a broad and lasting effect on customer acquisition, customer loyalty and customer retention. But it’s necessary to address both the rational AND emotional factors that comprise a complete customer experience. Why?
Customer loyalty, by definition, is not rational. In economic terms, rationality means people will chose the product or service that provides the greatest reward at the lowest cost. The benefits of a product or service are measured against its cost compared to similar products or services. Yet customer loyalty means that a customer is willing to forgo purchasing lower-priced identical products because of an irrational preference for a particular product or service.
Clearly, the Four Ps are not enough to assess whether a company is customer-centric. While product quality, best value for the dollar and convenience are important as purely rational values, “irrational” values like happiness, belonging and self-actualization are equally, if not more, important to purchasing decisions.
The competitive playing field of modern business has shifted from the tangible and rational to the intangible and irrational. Physical assets (the Four P’s) matter less than the intangible assets sustained through long-term buyer/seller interactions.
We help organizations to understand the rational and emotional elements of the experiences they provide. Contact us today to start the process for your organization.
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