When it comes to Customer loyalty and retention, most organizations want to appeal to the rational side of their Customers. What I know from over a decade in the Customer Experience game, however, is that rationality has less to do with it than you think. Over 50% of the Customer’s Experience is tied to their emotions. So if you want to earn a Customer’s loyalty and keep them coming back to you, you have to embrace the emotional side.

Maybe you believe me already, which is great. Maybe you are ready to do something about it, but you might have questions, such as:

  • How do you create a deliberate emotional experience for your Customers that keeps them coming back?
  • What emotions should we be trying to evoke?
  • When it comes to forecasting, how do you use emotional data to predict the future?

And probably most importantly,

  • How do you know if it’s working?

Let’s touch on a general answer for each question for now to get you started on your path to a better Customer Experience.

How to Create a Deliberate Customer Experience?

Many organizations think they have no control over how a Customer feels. They instead choose to create an experience that is rationally sound and efficient–although typically only efficient for the company, not the Customer. They look at their experience from the inside facing out. To create a deliberate Customer experience, it is essential is to take the Outside-In Approach, which means to look at the experience as if you were a Customer. You must see it as if for the first time, and note how you feel throughout each moment. This awareness helps you understand how emotions drive a Customer’s behavior. Additionally, you get the opportunity to change how these moments make Customers feel moving forward.

Here is a short video that explains in more detail how this worked for the Norwich Group in the UK.

What Emotions Should the Customer Experience Evoke?

Emotions play an important role in the motivations behind people’s behavior. When it comes to Customer Loyalty and Retention, some of these emotions drive value while others do not. We undertook years of research with the London Business School to determine what emotions are best for driving the behavior we want. After 50,000 participants answered 1.25 million questions about what they want and 1 million questions about how they felt, we learned there are 20 emotions that drive and destroy value in a Customer Experience:

The emotional engagement one feels with an organization is what we call an Emotional Signature.  First, you must determine what Emotional Signature you want for the business and then design an experience that evokes those emotions at the moments you determined in your earlier outside-in approach.

How Do You Use Emotional Data to Predict the Future?

Predictive analytics explains how some organizations hypothesize a future outcome based on existing patterns from data sets in the past. The concept here is that the data exists that can help all of us improve our operations and make better decisions for our Customers.

The predictions are only as good as your data. To use Emotional Data to predict future behavior for your Customers, you must have detailed emotional data to analyze. If you do have detailed data regarding the emotional state of your Customers related to your Experience, you would have a better chance of making sound predictions. If you don’t, you are just taking a lot of time to come up with your best guess.

If you want to learn more about Predictive Analytics, this article in the Harvard Business Review is a great start.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

When it comes to measurement of your Emotional Signature work for your Customer Experience, a great place to start is with the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®). The NPS® is a tool designed to measure the loyalty of your Customers. Research shows Customers with a High NPS® are less price-sensitive, spend more than Customer with lower scores and create higher margins for an organization. They are also responsible for the coveted “word of mouth” referrals of which every organization dreams of increasing.

Measuring an increase in your Customers with a high Net Promoter Score® is for the time being the best way to determine if your efforts to evoke the proper emotions during your Customer Experience are working. One of our great success stories was with Maersk Shipping Lines, the largest shipping container company in the world with revenues in the billions (with a b). Using our systems, they improved their NPS® from a -10 to a +30 in 30 months—a 40-point improvement.

To learn more about this particular case, please watch the webinar here.

Are You Ready to Get the Answers to Your Questions?

I realize this is tricky, that emotions aren’t very “Business-like.” However, the emotions you evoke in your Experience have a significant influence on your ability to retain a Customer. It is essential to recognize this and also to measure the ability of your Customer Experience to deliver the right emotions to generate the best results.

The answers to your questions are available if you are ready to know them. But be aware, it will require in some cases difficult change and for many organizations a different approach to business as usual.

What do you think? Are you ready to get answers to your questions about the emotions in your Customer Experience?

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score® by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!



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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX