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How to Leverage Customer Emotion

Emotion plays a huge role in customer decision making. Negative emotions cause customers to shut down, talk about your organization and negatively and become distracted from other positive touchpoints. Likewise, positive emotions can open up a world of opportunity. Consider the following implications of negative and positive customer touchpoints while developing your overall customer experience strategy for improvement.

The Impact of Strong Emotions

Strong emotions, whether positive or negative, dictate a customer’s tendency to share those experiences. Unfortunately, negative experiences tend to be more readily shared than positive ones. With that said, this isn’t specific to a single business — this slightly negative tendency puts organizations on level playing ground with their competitors, and should dictate their strategy. Specifically, it puts a major emphasis on mitigating negative experiences.

Within the customer journey, organizations should do their best to collect feedback in real time about the experience, including overall ratings (such as net promoter score) and descriptive feedback about their emotion, along with explanations of things that did or didn’t go well. Collecting this feedback in the moment results in a higher degree of accuracy and gives organizations the opportunity to identify how things possibly went wrong, so they can be rectified.

Similarly, strong positive emotions create a major opportunity for passionate brand advocates. Businesses should think about creative ways they can transition move specific touchpoints from good to great in order to create an atmosphere where customers will share their experiences with potential new customers.

NPS Is Still Highly Valuable

Within the world of emotional measurement, net promoter score is still the gold standard. Distinguishing detractors (typically 1-6) passive customers (7-8) and promoters (9-10) is an important measurement any business should take account of, breaking each measurement out by customer touchpoint.

Adding emotional context can help assist with the why behind the what of NPS. When organizations look for feedback about customer touchpoints, they should ask about specific positive and negative emotions (frustration, excitement, impatience, reassurance, etc.) to better understand scores as well as soliciting open ended feedback on what is good or bad about an interaction.

Taking action on this feedback can mitigate any low points and provide context for ways to truly delight customers and make them an organic advocate for your brand.

The Big Picture of Customer Emotion

Context is extremely important with customer emotion. Knowing where your company stands and where competitors stand on overall customer satisfaction at various touchpoints is important for a few reasons:

  • Competitive advantage: Some industries will simply trend higher than others in terms of overall customer satisfaction. Looking at NPS and other touchpoints compared to competitors will help better align your organization with the competitive landscape and identify where improvement is most needed, or where your greatest competitive advantages exist.
  • Context for your customer communication: Whether your brand satisfaction is good or bad, knowing where you stand can help you better communicate with customers. In various situations, it may make sense to celebrate touchpoints that rate highly, ask for feedback where things can be improved or leverage high customer satisfaction as an opportunity to sell.
  • Targeting: Perhaps most importantly, understanding where your various touchpoints stand can help you prioritize. There may be some points that serve as opportunities — either outlying low scores or scores that are on the cusp of moving into promoter territory — which can become focal points of your overall customer satisfaction strategy.




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