Don’t Be An Emotional Train Wreck: Start Understanding Your Customer’s Emotions

By Michelle Turner


Emotions are both powerful and complicated. They play a significant role in both our purchase decisions and our future customer loyalty.

Consider for a moment the standout customer experiences that you have experienced with brands you love – or hate. I became a life-long Nordstrom customer years ago when through ill fated circumstances, I didn’t have shoes for my wedding two days before. Not having much time or patience, the helpful sales representative listened to what I was looking for, selected a few options, searched across the country for availability, and sent multiple options and sizes to my doorstep the next day. She was my hero. I experienced tremendous joy and gratefulness for that experience that solidified my loyalty to Nordstrom. It wasn’t the rational aspects of that experience – the price or product selection – that won the day. It was a purely emotional reaction.

According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95 percent of our purchase decisions take place unconsciously. While we might think we rely on our head to make well thought out, judicious decisions, research has shown that is wishful thinking. The vast majority of our decisions are made based upon subconscious emotions only to be justified by our rational thoughts. This role of emotions in decision making extends to customer loyalty.

Capturing Customer Loyalty Through Emotion

Customer emotions have also been shown to have a more significant impact on loyalty than a rational evaluation of product or service attributes. In Forrester’s Customer Experience Index of U.S. Consumers, it was found that how an experience makes customers feel influences customer loyalty more than rational measures such as effectiveness or ease in 17 out of 18 industries they studied.

The reality is that despite this strong connection to customer loyalty, most companies have yet to effectively integrate emotional measurement into their CX efforts. Colin Shaw said in his book, The DNA of the Customer Experience, “Emotions are at the very core of the actions buyers take, but yet for years, businesses have ignored them.” Measuring emotions is not easy.

One of the best ways to derive customer emotions today is through unstructured feedback – whether that be survey verbatims, social media, call center notes, or any other form of direct customer feedback. Unstructured feedback by nature allows customers to tell their story in their own words – the good, bad, and the ugly. And while not all customers will express detectable emotions in their feedback, we’ve found in most sources of unstructured feedback – a large percentage of customers will give clues into their emotional state.

Through the use of text analytics and natural language processing (NLP) tuned to detected on average between 8-10 relevant customer experience emotions (derived from many of the leading models of customer emotions), we can identify when customer emotions are present in the customer’s comments at a thought phrase level.

Airline emotions

Figure 1: Illustration of Key Customer Emotions Detected in Airline Customer Feedback

Armed with this information, we can use it in several key ways to Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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