The emotional part of a customer’s interaction affects not only the rational or conscious part of the experience, but also the subconscious association that the customer makes with the experience long after it ends. In some cases, it is the memory of these emotions that are what lingers for a customer.
It is great now to see more organizations are recognizing Customer emotions are key. So tracking Customer emotions is a bigger focus for more and more organizations. As a result, there have been three recent innovations for tracking customer emotions that are fascinating.
Here are three clever new ways that organizations are tracking customers’ emotions during their experience:
#1: The Happiness Blanket by British Airways:
I make it a habit not to use airline blankets…mostly because I know that I am not the first person to use it. But I would be interested in trying one of British Airways new “happiness blanket”. This blanket helps the British Airways team figure out what makes people feel “Happy and Cared for” and what make them “Anxious and Frustrated.” Passengers wear the blankets during the flight and it will glow blue when they are happy and red when they are anxious. The blankets have been tested on transatlantic flights from London to New York. The blankets revealed that customers were happiest when they were able to go to sleep. Big surprise there!
These mood blankets are revealing aren’t exactly earth shattering discoveries. Of course customers are anxious and take off and landing. Of course they are happy when they are eating or drinking. But what I like about the blanket is that British Airways wants to know exactly when you are happy and when you aren’t. They want to improve your emotional state on their flights. Most of all I like that they are tracking the emotions at all.
#2: BBC Uses CrowdEmotion’s Recognition Technology to Measure Programming
The BBC division, BBC Worldwide Labs, is using emotion recognition software to measure the response of viewers to their programming. The software measures and tracks facial expressions over time to help broadcasters understand how their dialogue effects audiences emotionally. Using this data, they can determine if their programming is eliciting the proper response. The software can work with any device that has a camera.
What I like about this:
Emotional recognition software can feel a little unnerving until you get used to the idea, but once you do it’s a powerful tool. We have always relied on what customers tell us they are feeling when we are consulting clients. The problem is that we are only told what they are aware that they are feeling, and what they feel like sharing. There are emotions that people don’t share in surveys because they don’t want to appear petty or stupid. Sometimes they don’t share them because it happens at a subconscious level that even they aren’t aware of enough to report. This kind of data that is based on recording in real time emotions is extremely valuable to any company who wants to improve their emotional experience.
#3: Secret Facebook Experiment Reveals the Influence of Negative and Positive Interactions on Customers Moods
Nearly 700,000 Facebook users were unwittingly part of a psychological experiment by Facebook, Yale and University of California, San Diego, that studied how negative and positive emotions influenced their outlook. While the study has been widely-criticized by the media as unethical because the participants did not know they were part of it, the data collected revealed that emotions expressed online are contagious regardless of whether they are positive or negative. In other words, if your Facebook feed is negative, your status updates will be also. If your feed is positive, your updates will be more positive. The good news is that the positive emotions spread more quickly and widely.
What I like about this:
I agree that the study might have been unethical because users were manipulated without their knowledge. But I am also fascinated by the results. As you know, I have my reservations about Social Media in general, but it is good to see that it’s powers can be harnessed for good and not evil. Most of all, I like that emotions are being analyzed in this manner. The more hard data we have about our emotions, the less likely they are to be ignored by business.
For many years, business ignored emotions because it wasn’t something they knew how to manage. Customer experience improvement rarely addressed the emotional aspects of the interaction and yet we know they drive huge value for organizations. In my book, The DNA of Customer Experience: How Emotions Drive Value, we revealed the 20 emotions that drive and destroy value. Once you have this then designing and emotionally engaging experience is key. The use a process called Moment Mapping to do this. Most organizations still choose to focus on things like reducing the amount of time a customer was on hold at the call center or adding a new delivery option that was less expensive but reliable.
These types of improvements are important but they are not addressing the emotions directly. This is the ‘What’ not the ‘how’. The how is critically important. Having a short hold time is useless for a customer if when they do talk to someone they don’t feel as though they were cared for or appreciated. Negative emotions far outweigh any benefit to the customer experience that they were designed to improve.
The more scientific data we have to support the significance of emotion in business the better.
Does your organization focus on Customer emotions? What do you do? I’d be interested to hear your comments below.
|Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin has been recognized by LinkedIn as one of the top 150 Business Influencers in the world. He is an international author of four best-selling books on Customer Experience. Colin’s company, Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from our Global Headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter: @ColinShaw_CX