One of the definitions of Customer Experience is “Everything your Customers go through while interacting with your Brand, Products and Services. Are those interfaces that will give rise to emotions and feelings, that will fix memories on the Customers’ brains, that will influence the way they think, they decide and their purchasing behaviours, which ultimately will define how they will relate to your brand, saying good or bad things about it.”
On the other hand, a definition of Negotiation is “A process or a strategic discussion, that involves 2 or more parties, that resolves an issue in a way that each party finds acceptable.”
Comparing those 2 definitions bluntly, there seems to be no common ground between them. CX and Negotiation are apparently 2 completely different things.
However, when we look closer, if we take a practical example, where you are trying to sell something to a Customer, trying to convince them to purchase your product or service, then it is easy to see that the Negotiation is actually part of the Customer overall Experience. Now we are getting closer.
But in fact there is so much more to it. What if I offer you the following definition: “An interaction that will make the parties feel good about the outcome, where the knowledge of what is Value from the other party’s perspective goes a long way towards the satisfaction with the end result of this interaction and when both parties expectations are met, this can be called a successful interaction.”
What did I just define? Was it CX or Negotiation?
Correct, it is both. This is the core of this article, the conclusion that both CX and Negotiation have the same basic success factors behind them and some of the basic principles to drive success are shared. Let’s talk about some of those principles and success factors:
- Preparation: both Experiences and Negotiations require the proper preparation. Memorable Experiences are Staged, and Successful Negotiations are Engineered. In both cases, improvisation may be needed as a display of flexibility and adaptation to the reality of the human interactions, but cannot be the sole tool to achieve a favourable result to both parties in the process. The more preparation, the more you invest time in understanding the other party’s habits, behaviours, attitudes and how they perceive value, the better your chances of coming up with solutions that will make them happy.
- Empathy: the ability to put yourself on the other party’s shoes to be able to see the matter in question from their perspective, will significantly increase the chances of leaving the interaction with the other party satisfied with the outcome of the process.
- Understanding the real needs: the ability to understand what the other party really needs, which is frequently different than what they say, is crucial to be able to provide real value and drive satisfaction. The translation of what the other party needs, the verbalization of what they want, is their position. The positions are normally simplifications of the actual needs and are driven by the communications skills of the other party and filtered by the emotions playing at time of the interaction. Those are most likely exaggerated reactions to the situation or simply understatements of the actual need. Through the proper communication, asking the right questions, you can learn more of what is behind the positions, which will facilitate to deliver alternatives that address the core needs of the other party.
- Confidence: actions that create confidence between the parties significantly increase the chances of the parties to open up and share their true intentions or expectations.
- Expectations: a continuous exercise of trying to understand the Expectations of the other party. This is what makes Experiences and Negotiations successful.
- Attention to Details: being careful about the details can make all the difference in those interfaces. Every small thing can create an unreasonable expectation or trigger a gut reaction that can spoil the whole effort on the interactions. Being careful and paying attention is a basic requirement in any successful interaction, as those create the context and reinforce statements that can drive success in the interaction.
- Satisfaction: this is the aim on both cases. Having the other party satisfied means more business in the future. Means people coming back for more, because they trust they will be able to get what they need out of the future interactions.
- Human Interface: the recognition that although a process can be created to optimize the interactions, to facilitate the finding of mutual satisfaction, this is at the end of the day a human interface, that requires sensibility, understanding the context and constantly adapting to the environment to be able to capture the variations in the mood and the expressions of feelings, to drive solutions mutually satisfactory.
- Emotions: as a human interface, emotions play a fundamental role in providing a successful interface. Not only recognizing and properly reacting to the emotions involved, but also creating the right emotions to drive the success of the interaction. Never forgetting that emotions fix memories on our brains, so the more emotions the more memories and the more we are influenced by those when it comes the time for us to decide in the future. Being able to create or at least manage the right emotions can make the total difference between loving and hating the experiences with the interactions.
- Experience: the recognition that all interfaces represent the creation of an Experience, that are the cognitive, affective, sensorial and behavioral responses of people to these interactions.
As you can see, all of the above principles or success factors apply equally to CX and Negotiation.
In closing, the fundamentals are the same to achieve a great outcome in a Negotiation or a great Experience. Reason why, CX Hub going forward, will provide guidance, training, consulting and people development in both disciplines, the Customer Experience and the Experience of Negotiation.
Stay tunned to watch and read our great content on both types of Human Interfaces.