Build Positive Emotional Equity with Customer Care


Share on LinkedIn

The Situation:

Every business has the potential to subject customers to an occasional "oops" moment … but some businesses are better equipped to recover from those mishaps than others.

Recently, a client with offices in a remote section of Canada asked me to help with some strategy planning. They kindly put me up in a charming little inn by a secluded lake. The setting couldn’t have been more beautiful.

But… there were a number of service-related issues that I found aggravating.

Among these problems: no shampoo or soap in the shower, (only discoverable while one was actually in the shower, thanks to the wall-mounted squeeze-bottle dispensers favored by the innkeeper), no air conditioning to dispel the heat and humidity … and a temperamental Internet connection that left me cut off from the outside world, unless I went to the conference room and set up my lap top on the ping-pong table.

Normally, problems like these would have lit my fuse and launched me on a mission to track down the innkeeper and have a little chat about service quality expectations.


But I didn’t have that chat. So, I started to think about why I had not complained.

I realized what a great job the management of that inn had done in “insuring” itself against “oops” moments like the ones I had experienced with the missing soap and the unreliable wireless connections. That customer insurance policy took the form of superb service interactions with all the staff at the inn.

Ernan Roman inducted into the DMA Hall of Fame. To learn more, please click here.

For instance: One evening, after I noticed the sign informing guests that breakfast was not served until 8:30 am, I asked the staff to prepare something I could take with me as left early the next morning, for my client meeting. They not only had breakfast waiting for me, but they also asked if I wanted to take a seat in the dining room, which was still being set up, and relax as I ate.

During breakfast, I happened to compliment the chef on his excellent fresh gooseberry muffins. He said thanks and proactively offered to prepare an early breakfast the next day.

When I arrived for breakfast the following day, the chef came out with a bowl of fresh gooseberries he had prepared based on my comments the prior day.

These were just a few of perhaps a dozen great face-to-face interactions with the staff during my 3 day stay at that little inn.

Management had trained every staff member, from the chef to the gardener, to deliver consistently exceptional service. As a result, every interaction built positive emotional equity with me.

Those positive “deposits” in the “bank” of emotional experience not only built up my sense of satisfaction with the place, but they also made it much easier for me to overlook the occasional “oops” moments.


The more complex your business, the more likely you are to inadvertently deliver an “oops” moment to a customer.

In fact, “oops” moments are pretty much inevitable. You can’t eliminate all of them. The question is, how good are you at compensating for them by making regular deposits in the emotional bank accounts of your customers?

Ask yourself and your management team:

How much emotional equity are we building up during every single interaction with customers? How easy are we making it for our customers to look past the occasional mishap … and look forward to interacting with us again?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ernan Roman
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to the results his VoC research-based CX strategies achieve for clients such as IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt and HP. ERDM conducts deep qualitative research to help companies understand how customers articulate their feelings and expectations for high value CX and personalization. Named one of the Top 40 Digital Luminaries and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here