What is OpCX? Forging emotional connections with customers. Tread carefully

Customers want brands to take care of their wants and needs. Deloitte Digital outlines OpCX, which blends multiple disciplines to make companies more human. Can brands really live up to these relationship expectations?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Customer experience software needs to meld with operations if companies are going to make emotional connections to customers via data, according to a Deloitte report.

Deloitte Digital's survey floats an acronym of OpCX, which is "the discipline of embedding emotionally intelligent human experience capabilities into a company's operations."

The end goal goes like this:

Understanding customers' emotions and responding contextually and automatically requires an emotionally intelligent technology ecosystem that adapts to the moment at hand. It means looking beyond customer experience, or CX, to the broader, deeper connections that make up human experience or HX.

Add it up and you get another "ops" to ponder along with DevOps, DevSecOps, and AIOps. At least, Deloitte flipped the "Ops."

The interesting part about chasing these emotionally intelligent relationships with customers is that there's a lot of automation and algorithms involved. The problem is that enterprise have legacy customer experience systems that are overwhelmed by customer inputs and data. Companies aren't delivering contextual interactions at the right time and failing to make customer experience a priority.

Deloitte Digital

Meanwhile, CX has to move beyond the marketing department to address customer journeys. Consider:

  1. Shared values and rational thinking bring customers to brands;
  2. Emotions build to inspire loyalty, advocacy and preference;
  3. Rationality comes back when incidents erode customer trust;
  4. Empathetic, contextualized response strengthens the emotional bond.

Among the key findings of Deloitte Digital's research, based on 800 respondents split between 62.5% female and 37.5% male:

  • 58% of respondents use emotional language to describe their connections to their brands.
  • 68% of respondents cited rational influences such as faulty products or bad service for switching brands.
  • 70% of respondents say a brand relationship includes providing feedback and expect brands to solve their issue.
  • 67% want special offers based on loyalty.
  • 54% want a response from a brand within three days or less of posting something negative on social media.
  • 83% said trustworthiness is the emotional reason they are aligned to a brand.
  • 57% want brands to know their customer service history, but 35% don't want brands to know their browsing or ad history.
  • 66% expect brands to use their feedback to provide new products responsive to their wants and needs.

What to make of OpCX? Here are a few thoughts:

  • The blending of emotional connection, marketing, operations and customer experience highlight how multiple disciplines will blend together in the enterprise. Data science, artificial intelligence, enterprise software and psychology to name a few will blend together.
  • Deloitte's take on OpCX makes sense--especially when it outlines the data and technology silos that are challenges.
  • Brands could be set up for failure given that customer expectations rhyme more with interpersonal relationships than a transaction. These expectations of mind-reading Disney princess movie scripts torpedo interpersonal relationships daily. Can you imagine how bad enterprises and brands are going to fail at anticipating and responding to customers' relationship needs?

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