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This is part one of four blog posts that discusses Emotive CX; what it is, how to measure it, and ways to take action and drive results. We begin in part one by defining Emotive CX. In part two, we demonstrate how to measure and quantify it, and in part three we deliver methods to act on these insightsand in part four, we show how to improve Emotive CX.


“We want to stick around people who make us feel good.” - Martin Hill-Wilson

Welcome to the world of the Emotive Customer Experience (CX), where feeling good gets good results. Martin Hill-Wilson’s statement above may seem simplistic; the concept almost too obvious, but the stats behind Emotive CX are undeniable.

Did you know…?

What is Emotive CX? - Feeling Good is Good for Business

Emotive CX looks into how emotions impact the customer experience. It is based on research which shows how our decisions, judgement and memory are deeply influenced by our emotions. Whether or not we are even conscious of them. This means it matters how customer feel after a customer service interaction.  

We know, for example, that the emotional intelligence of call center agents directly drives improved contact center CX. Customers rate quality better when agents employ the following customer-oriented behaviors:

  • Anticipate customer requests

  • Deliver explanations and justifications

  • Educate customers

  • Provide emotional support

  • Offer personal anecdotes and information

Agent authenticity goes a long way in making customers feel good. And agents feel good when they are empowered to be authentic; off script and with the ability to self-score their own successes and opportunities for improvement. This also provides them with an environment to utilize superior agent soft skills to build an emotional connection with customer.

Staking Your Claim on Brand Loyalty

Customers don’t owe businesses anything and in an increasingly fast-paced digital
world, it is all too easy for even long time customers to head for the nearest exit,
swap brands, and become a detractor of your business. Simply at the push of a button.

Hill-Wilson explains, “The availability of real-time information has empowered
customers to easily move between brands… customers roam free with little to keep
them on your side within a traditional value proposition.”

This is why customer experience management has become so important. It focusses
on the things that build long term customer value. Part of this is a recognition that
customers are won and lost based on how they are made to feel by a brand.

As a major touchpoint, contact centers either build or destroy customer goodwill
towards the brand. In today’s world, we are expected to deliver both functional and
emotional outcomes if we want customers to feel good and stick around.

Colin Shaw, Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy and an established expert in
customer experience, explains that “negative experiences and emotional
disappointments tend to be more enduring than positive, emotionally pleasing
experiences. For this reason, minimizing and repairing experiences that annoy,
frustrate, anger, or confuse customers is a top priority.”

However, this is not as straight forward as it might seem. Humans are conditioned to
subconsciously pick up on anything that threatens them. As a result, we remember
the negatives more than the positives. This drives how we must manage the
customer experience and work extra hard.

How Tone & Inflection Impact Business

When communicating with call center agents (or otherwise), we derive considerably
more meaning from tone and inflection of voice (38%) than we do from the actual
words being used (7%).

Many of us are aware of the research that shows how face to face communication is
all about reading body language rather than what’s being said.

We continue to look for other those clues even when communication is no longer
face to face such as contact centers.

what we listen to when people speak to us graph

This means that call center scripts will not save the day, vocal tonality will! And it's not easy to fake that.

It’s about managing emotions in a positive way by listening, asking the right questions with a sense of empathy, and listening some more.

In conclusion

Call center agents are on the receiving end of often extreme customer
frustrations. The way these agents manage their own emotional intelligence, the
inflection of their voice, their ability to empathize -- the data shows that these are the intangible attributes contact centers should focus on -- will ultimately make or break
a company’s success.

At the end of the day, customers want to feel good (really, who doesn't?). And, to
Martin Hill-Wilson’s point, those customers will tend to stick around if they continue
to feel good about your brand. With this being the case, doesn’t it make sense to try
and ensure with everything within your company’s power, that this happens?

A Bit About Martin Hill-Wilson

Martin Hill-Wilson is a customer service, CX and AI engagement strategist. He is a frequent keynote speaker, author and former CEO of the Merchants Group, one of the first contact centre outsourcing and consulting brands. His most recent thought leadership in emotion management for contact centres builds on his previous innovation around customer centred quality management.