Methods for Capturing and Measuring Emotion

Author: Emily Hassell
8 / 14 / 2017

This is the last in our series on Emotion Design in CX, check out the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in this series.

To successfully design for emotion, firms need to capture and measure the emotions and motivators of their customers. There are various methods to gather this data directly from customers, or indirectly through research techniques that analyze customer behavior. Below is a list of self-reporting, observation, and testing methods to consider for gathering insights on customer emotions.

Capturing Emotion

Self-Reported Emotion

Customer surveys: customers report their emotional state by selecting an emotion or motivator from a list, from a visual example, or indicating the extent of an emotion. Given during or after an experience with the brand. Can be used to inform emotion mapping

Employee surveys: employees report their emotional state and/or the customer’s emotional state. It’s important to address employee motivators and understand customer emotions from the field perspective

Text analysis: analyzing keywords in social media conversations, survey comments and call transcripts to identify emotional state

Diaries and probes: continuous self-reporting of emotional state through an end-to-end experience to identify influences on emotional state, and compare trends and changes over time

Observation and Testing

Ethnography: observing customer emotional states within a particular environment

Secret customer: undergoing the customer journey first hand and documenting emotions evoked by the experience

Voice analysis: analyzing cadence and tone of a conversation to understand a customer’s emotional state

Facial coding: software that captures facial expressions and uses algorithms to infer emotional state

Spend modeling: utilizing statistical modeling to determine touch points where emotional connection and spending align. Identifies emotions and moments that drive high spend

Measuring Emotion

After capturing data on customer emotions, firms need to measure it to track success. Measuring emotion allows organizations to understand how emotionally connected their customers are with their brand. A Harvard Business Review study introduces the idea of measuring emotion through the Emotional Connection Score, a metric that represents the share of customers who are fully connected. A statistical model is used to categorize an organization’s customers into tiers of emotional connection based on their purchase behavior and motivators. Researchers have found that fully connected customers (in the highest tier) are 52% more valuable than satisfied customers. This metric allows organizations to target high value customers, as well as track and grow customers from satisfied to fully connected, in order to increase customer value over time.

Square collects emotion ratings on customer experiences for the businesses they serve

While the Emotional Connection Score takes more advanced statistical modeling, measuring emotions through customer survey ratings is a good place to start. Square is a good example of a company that measures emotion through customer ratings. They prompt customers to select a happy or sad face to rate one’s experience after purchase. It’s easy for customers to participate, and a method that allows data capture & measurement to be simple, continuous and accessible.

As an emerging practice, firms are acknowledging the importance of measuring emotion. To take measurement a step further, businesses should consider bench marking emotions to track over time, developing dashboards with KEIs “Key Emotion Indicators” (churn, satisfaction, advocacy, etc.), as well as getting more sophisticated with customer sentiment and feedback platforms.

For more on capturing and measuring customer health in your business, download The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement.


About the Author

Emily Hassell is a Senior Consultant at Lenati who draws on her marketing and strategy capabilities to help clients solve complex business issues. She focuses on customer engagement strategies that drive connection, including CX assessment & design, journey mapping, customer research studies, go-to-market strategy, & loyalty program design. Her work has taken her across the U.S., Canada, and Israel spanning industries such as consumer products, retail, high-tech, healthcare, and life sciences.

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