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And How Does that Make You Feel? Measuring Emotions in CX

We all know that the human experience is rife with emotional ups and downs. You've probably experienced more emotions so far today than we could even count: angry while commuting, relieved (or stressed?) when finally entering the office, frustrated when you spilled your coffee on your brand-new white shirt (exasperated that of course you chose today out of all days to wear your new shirt), surprised yet thankful that you actually had your stain-eraser pen for once, etc. We live through our perceptions, with every action being processed through our emotional filter.

How are you feeling today?

So why would we expect any different for a customer's experience? Throughout each interaction with a business, a customer likely feels a certain way, maybe even those same feelings I listed above: anger, relief, stress, frustration, exasperation, surprise, and so on. How can we harness those feelings – emotions – to help us improve the customer experience?

I wrote another blog about emotions last year, in which I was pondering these same points, but unsure of how to measure emotion. Since then, we've had a chance to explore the measurement in more detail, allowing us to develop a few new approaches. Of course, text analytics can search for key terms that indicate emotion, and we've also incorporated quantitative questions in our surveys to ask directly what emotion was felt.

The example I want to share is an interesting opportunity to outline emotions during a customer's experience – journey mapping. Journey maps have already been helping to identify where customers might struggle or succeed the most when interacting with a business. Layer on common emotions felt during each key touch point, or moment of truth, and you have a much more powerful understanding of a customer's perspective. See the example below, inspired from a real journey mapping session.

Emotions were measured by asking customers how they felt about certain key moments. It can be that simple – "How did you feel when you were buying the product?" "From this pick list, choose one word that describes your experience when renewing your contract." These answers constituted the "Current" emotions in the top blue bar.

Separately, employees were asked how they wanted customers to feel during the interactions. Those emotions appear in the bottom blue bar, next to "Ideal." Then, planning sessions ensued to determine how to move customers from "Current" to "Ideal."

You'll notice that two of the emotions, "Trapped" and "Loyal," hearken to Walker's proprietary Loyalty Matrix. Not all emotions are going to manifest in a customer yelling and screaming about poor service, or in someone simply recommending a company to their pals. Feeling attached or feeling the need to escape are powerful emotions that could directly indicate what a customer's behavior will be.

There are a lot of emotions out there, likely more than one simple process or measurement could ever harness. However, keying in on important moments, as done in the journey map above, can help to prioritize at least where we should identify common feelings, and how those feelings could impact CX overall.

About the Author

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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