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Is the experience you provide warm enough?

Look at the picture of the wood burning in this fireplace. What does it do to you? Very likely, if only ever so briefly, it will give you a feeling of belonging and connection. And this is just from a picture. The power of warmth goes a long way.

Without the study subject knowing it, holding a warm versus an iced-coffee influenced how the participants perceived the experience in a standard setting afterwards. The people holding the warm coffee beforehand rated the experience as significantly warmer vs the iced-coffee folks. None of the participants were aware of this effect.

Humans are particularly susceptible to warmth, something that is proven not just by this one study but by several. Warm or cold are not just used to describe the temperature in a room or of an object but also people, or processes. And while the study mentioned above is about physical priming of warmth, you can extend the same principle to 'virtual warmth'.

Think about the different ways you can create warmth in the experiences your customers or citizens have with your organization. How would they describe them? Have you asked?

Contextual understanding of expectations of customers is key to deliver a 'warm' experience. Fortunately, with an increasing flow of data* there are many ways to better see the experience through the eyes of your customers. Warmth may just be the difference in loyalty and retention for your business.

The key thing is find out how you compare to your competitors by combining the insights you can get from more data streams and checking in with your customers directly via surveys or interviews. Just remember that the info you get directly from your customers is not necessarily correct due to many biases, hence the emphasis to match what people say with what people do (more on that in a future post).

Ultimately, warmth creates preference and lowers barriers to adopt. Have you read the thermometer on the warmth of your experiences?

*Anonymized or personalized, whatever is in agreement with your customers

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