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Playing with Emotions

If you're keeping up with the latest trends in customer experience measurement, then I'm sure you've heard that identifying and tracking your customers' emotions is important – vital, even. Recent CX research shows that emotion can influence a customer's behavior more than "effectiveness or ease," according to "How To Measure Emotion In Customer Experience" by Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian with Forrester.

Unfortunately, as the report further explains, measuring emotion is very difficult, particularly when relying only on traditional measurement methods, such as quantitative survey questions. Even planning on which emotions to measure is a chore! There are some straightforward feelings, probably those we learned to express very early on in our childhoods – happy, sad, mad – but then there are those underlying and complicated emotions that might not always be as easily explained – fulfilled, uncertain, eager. If we struggle to identify and discuss emotions even as intelligent and perceptive humans, how do we expect any sort of automation or measurement to capture that same understanding?

Well, unfortunately again, I'm still trying to figure that out, along with a big portion of CX professionals I'd assume. Naturally, I'm very interested in learning more about how we can use text analytics to identify some of the biggest, most impactful emotional experiences customers have (for the record, Forrester also suggests using open-ended, unstructured data to help with this process). We've already started playing around with an emotions model that covers some of the main touch points a customer can experience.

Speaking of touch points … I also think emotions pair quite nicely with journey mapping. After all, that's what journey mapping is, pretty much – identifying how a customer moves throughout a business and how they feel about each step in the process. Perhaps aligning our emotions measurements to the journey would be a great way to narrow down what to focus on. For example, do they feel anxiety or excitement when searching for a vendor? Are they frustrated or comforted when speaking to support, or when installing a product? Do their interactions with the company leave them smiling or shouting?

As I dig into this a little further, I think I'll be more discerning about which emotions to measure, and how they align with the whole customer journey. What about you? How do you plan to tackle this exciting challenge? Are you anxious and uncertain, or optimistic and fearless?

About the Author

Amanda Wray

Amanda Wray

Amanda leads Walker’s text analytics initiative, helping to turn vast amounts of qualitative data into manageable, insightful results. She weaves together this valuable unstructured feedback with quantitative results to provide a robust, 360-degree view of the customer, partner, or employee. Text analytics can provide powerful results, and Amanda helps clients to realize that potential.

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0 thoughts on “Playing with Emotions

  1. In our internal analytics, we have a custom team that listens to calls for specific programs, depending on the need of the business. Our specialists will try to evaluate customer demeanor on a scale of 1 – 5, which is the closest we are able to come to an emotion measure. However, a person can rely on cues that automation cannot – a light sigh, a delayed response, sarcasm, tone, pace. We are able to discern strong demeanor (noticeably upset or noticeable happy) on about a third of our observations, but often in a phone interaction the cues are not strong enough to make a determination other than a "neutral" or business-like demeanor. We also listen for a shift in demeanor – does the interaction make the customer shift from neutral to angry or pleased? There is value in continuing to evolve the way we measure customer emotion. I’ll never forget the 2008 study from CEB on customer effort that found fully a quarter of repeat calls can be attributed solely to failing to address customer emotional needs. I doubt it’s changed much since then because we still do not do a good job of meeting that need.

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