Friday 26 April 2019

"Ooh, ooh Pain is so close to pleasure"
A CX lesson from Freddie Mercury

Remember this song Pain Is So Close to Pleasure released by the legendary British rock band Queen in 1986?


Ooh, ooh Pain is so close to pleasure.
Sunshine and rainy weather
Go hand in hand together
All your life.


 What if pain & pleasure also went hand in hand when it comes to customer experience?

If you have started CX management in your company, you might be in the position of having all these identified pain points, coming from your research work, customer voice, and insights, to act upon. You might also have the ambition to correct all of them, so you may deliver the most effortless customer experience possible. And - of course - you might now struggle with prioritizing CX projects. 

But what if all of that was for nothing? What if it had not much of a positive impact on the overall customer experience - or worse, did more harm than good?

Will your customers be satisfied if you eliminate all their dissatisfaction?
Most likely, no.
Will your customer remember you or be more loyal to you if you eliminate all their dissatisfaction?
Most likely, no.

Hard to believe?
Not so much, if you really think about it.

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues found out that people remember an experience, whether it’s negative or positive, largely based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, instead of judging the experience as a whole. This psychological heuristic is known as the Peak-End Rule.
Why wouldn’t this be applied to CX too? 

CX is very much about providing emotion to customers.

By unrelentingly trying to raise the bar for you and your competitors to turn every moment to ‘good’ across the entire experience, you will indeed disallow pain, but also minimize pleasure.

By flattening the emotion curve and delivering an experience with no significant peak and end, you may fail at building an emotional connection with your customers. Your experience becomes purely functional. So much so, that there is nothing left to remember.

Designing an experience is pretty much like writing a movie script. You need to master all the key elements of a powerful story: the iconic scenes, the climax, and the end. Every writer/director knows that the success of a movie is highly dependent on those critical moments where nothing is left behind. If these critical moments are up to its expectations, the public will forgive all the rest. 

Achieving excellence across the entire journey will have very little ROI or impact on your brand perception if the average experience is already good enough. On the contrary, focusing your effort on just a few critical moments will help you create a memorable experience with significant pleasure peaks, while spending fewer resources.

So let’s be okay with providing pain to our customers once in a while if it enables us to focus on delivering memorable experience that will leave a positive mark on customers’ mind.


Ooh, ooh, pain is so close to pleasure, I told you so…


Véronique Tillaud, CX(M) Practice Leader - SQLI Switzerland

Photos credits

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