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How to measure customer emotions

1st Oct 2018
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Measuring customer emotions for your Customer Experience is a vital activity for your organization. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, as the saying goes.

We discussed how to measure customer emotions on our recent podcast. Today we will discuss how to measure feelings, which feelings you should measure, and where and when you should measure them.

How do we measure a feeling?

The most common way to measure emotion is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Effectively, NPS estimates how likely a customer is to recommend your product or service to their friends and family. The scale is 1-10. If you score a 6 or under, you are a detractor. A 7 or 8 score is considered passive. If you have 9 or 10, you are a promoter. Your most loyal customers are promoters and have high NPS scores. To get the Net in the Net Promoter Score, you subtract your promoters from your detractors. The remaining number is your NPS.

I like NPS because it’s a simple way to measure. Everyone can understand it. Another reason I support it is that you can compare yourself to other organizations in a way that compares apples to apples, as it were. Also, I appreciate that it talks about a recommendation, which encapsulates the emotional aspects of a Customer Experience.

For example, let’s say I was traveling to your hometown and I asked you for a restaurant recommendation while I was there. You would tell me your favorite (or maybe favorites). For those restaurants, you are a promoter. The reason you promote it is your own, but it is likely because of the way they make you feel, e.g., fat and happy, as one of my team members likes to say!

However, remember that no way of measuring is perfect. Even NPS.

As I said about NPS, there are things I like about it. It is easy to understand and it helps you compare to other organizations. It is also an effective way to measure customer feeling.

What NPS lacks is that it isn’t comprehensive or specific enough for me. It also does not tell you why people would or would not recommend you. Information like that requires more than an NPS assessment. If you have a slipping NPS, the score itself will not tell you what you need to do to change it or what you need to improve upon to turn around the decline in rating.

What emtions should you measure?

NPS is a meaningful way to measure your Customer Experience, but it isn’t the only way. It should be only part of how you measure customer emotions. Another part of the whole exercise to gauge feelings is first to define what emotion you are trying to evoke from your customers. Whatever emotion you choose, it should be one that drives value (e.g., revenue, profits or $$$$) for your organization.

Examples of this type of definition could be:

  • We want customers to feel cared for at our community financial institution.
  • We want customers to feel safe and protected with our identity protection app.
  • We want customers to feel relaxed after attending our day spa.

And so on…whatever emotion may be appropriate for a customer to feel in your particular business or industry.

(If you want help finding the right emotion, we recommend looking at our Emotional Signature overview and the Hierarchy of Emotions we developed to support it.)

Where and when should you be measuring them?

Once you have defined what emotion you wish to evoke, you should then be measuring how you are doing toward that goal. This process is not complicated. Mostly, you just ask customers.

In our global Customer Experience Consultancy, we recommend asking your customers often about how they feel. We believe in questioning at the transactional stage, like at the end of a call center interaction or a chat exchange. We also recommend following up with customers at a different time, too. By that, I mean with a customer survey in the mail or online, etc.

However, the questions should ask about the specific emotion you seek to evoke.

Examples of that data gathering could be:

  • Customer, do you feel cared for after working with us?
  • Customer, do you feel safe and protected when using our product?
  • Customer, do you feel relaxed as a result of your interaction with us?

(These are goofy, I know, but the point is that you are following up on the emotion you sought to evoke.)

One point of clarification here: you can’t ask a customer about an experience they had some time ago and expect to get accurate data. For example, you can’t ask a customer how they felt dining at a restaurant six months ago. They might not remember eating there anymore. The follow-up should happen within a short amount of time of the experience, so customers remember how they felt.

My wisdom on measuring emotions

What happens, usually, is organizations have measurements of rational stuff, like how quickly your call is answered and the efficiency of the delivery. What they don’t have is the emotional measures. That’s where you can really miss out for Customer Experience success.

To be clear, however, rational vs. emotional measurement is not an either/or proposition. You should measure rational things and irrational things. Both are crucial to improving your Customer Experience.

There is no one way to measure emotions. The examples I have given are the ways I often use but are by no means exhaustive.

I believe a deliberate effort to evoke a particular emotion that drives value for your organization and then following up on whether you are achieving that is essential to your success. It will give you a deeper understanding of how your Customer Experience makes your customers feel—and what you are doing to make them feel that way.

Hear the rest of the conversation on “How to Measure Customer Emotions”on The Intuitive Customer Podcast. These informative podcasts are designed to expand on the psychological ideas behind understanding customer behavior. To listen in, please click here.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

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