We value emotion. Most of the choices we make are based on how we feel. When an entrepreneur recognizes the need to feel a certain way about a certain thing, she can use that understanding to guide the development of her products and services. How do your customers want to feel? What feelings do they have that they don’t want? This kind of psychological investigation is a worthwhile pursuit that can create a valuable business.
One way to approach this dynamic is to create a chart of the positive and negative emotions that your customers tend to have. We know that customers want to feel fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions, so by charting this process you can better determine how your offering will help customers alter their emotions. Entrepreneurs usually document the practical value that their products and services offer; brochures, spec sheets and product information create cognitive value that's easily understood. The same process can be applied to the emotional value your offerings provide.
Creating Emotional Value: The Love Firm
Laura loves love. Her matchmaking business provided great satisfaction; she loved pairing new couples and setting them on a path for long-term happiness. But she knew that customers were not entirely happy with some of the services offered by other people in her field – not just matchmakers, but the various entrepreneurs that helped them prepare for and create romantic relationships.
Laura decided to create an organization that would address the entire process of attracting a mate, determining whether or not a new interest could be the right long-term partner, and setting off into married life. She decided to create a “love firm,” bringing together a set of consultants and experts that could take a client from singlehood to wedded bliss, providing whatever services were needed and tailoring the experience to each customer. She modeled her business after a typical law firm: a single organization where different attorneys, each with their own specialized knowledge, may serve a single client in many different ways, from business planning to divorce. In Laura's new business, consultants with a wide range of skills would work together over months or years with a single client, tailoring their offerings as needed.
Since Laura was creating a service that depends entirely on the emotions of the client, she decided to examine the emotional state of her customers in each part of the process to help guide her in how to create her offering.
- To increase the amount of confidence her clients felt, she offered image consulting services for both men and women. Hair and makeup consultants worked in tandem with fashion consultants, tailors and personal shoppers to help her clients create their best possible appearance.
- Sometimes people are ashamed of the way they look when it’s time to get intimate. To help reduce the amount of anxiety that some clients felt, she offered counseling services to deal with underlying esteem issues and fitness and nutrition consultants to help her clients create a body that they feel comfortable in.
- To reduce the amount of fear that people feel in dating situations, she created a speed dating service that brought a large number of people together in a less challenging environment. This was a benefit for those clients who found a 10-minute interaction far easier to deal with than a multi-hour date.
- Some of her clients had few friends. Some recently relocated. Others just never developed a strong social circle. To help diminish feelings of loneliness, Laura developed a group dating program in which four or six clients would go out on a date together, giving them the opportunity to socialize with a group. This allowed some clients to feel less “spotlighted” and enjoy hanging out with people that were not romantic interests, reducing the stress they felt in a one-on-one situation while building a stronger support network.
- Laura’s services didn’t end when her clients found love and began long-term dating. Counselors offered individual and group sessions to help clients overcome problems as they surfaced rather than allowing them to accumulate and result in a breakup.
- For those who made it all the way to the altar, Laura offered event planners who could help her clients build a wedding that made both partners happy. By this time her clients were usually good friends who trusted her to create something wonderful, and the wedding itself became an extension of the relationships initiated and developed by Laura’s Love Firm.
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