Beyond the default: Customer experience requires a heart and mind connection.

I'm trying to give up chocolate. 

I really love chocolate. But, like the haircut my mum gave me in primary school, it's not doing me any favours. 

It's really hard to break up with chocolate.

Chocolate is everywhere in my life. It's on the top of my coffee. It's in my biscuits. Chocolate bits in my granola? Tick. And it's definitely in my cupboard. (Who am I kidding, it's in most of my cupboards: plural!)

I always buy the same brand of chocolate. It's not that I particularly like the taste of that chocolate. (It is, after all, chocolate and must by extension be good). I buy the same brand because I'm lazy.

You're lazy too.

That's not an insult, it's just a fact. As human beings, we're all lazy. Our purchase decisions are largely based on our brain's energy-saving tendency to choose the default.

This is excellent news for chocolate makers.

Although the idea of a new brand of chocolate might appeal to me, when I'm dashing through the supermarket with low blood sugar and a curious toddler, I will go straight for what I know.

In essence, my rat brain is fuelling my chocolate habit.

But there's another contributor: my heart-brain. As a human being, my emotions also contribute to my decision making. If something makes me feel good - less fearful, smarter or better looking, for example - at an emotional level, I will keep choosing it. 

Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology show that when we're choosing products the brain's emotion centre (limbic system) lights up, and it's rational centres are left largely unstimulated.

Appeal to the human, not the buyer.

As a business in the new economy, where choice is abundant and consumers aren't afraid to flex their choice muscles, it's not good enough to assume default thinking will preserve your business. It won't.

To create loyalty, you need to capture hearts and minds. As international CX expert Shep Hyken says, "There's a big difference between satisfied customers and loyal customers. Satisfaction is a rating, loyalty is an emotion."

What's your strategy for capturing your customer's hearts?

Emily Verstege