Customer’s emotional experience – more complex than positive or negative

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Customers are irrational consumers. How many things do you have in your home that are impractical and lack function? Why do we collect things? Why do we pay over the odds for a product in one shop that we could find cheaper in another? Why do consumers not shop around for cheaper services? All for the same reason – the impact that such activity has on our emotions. Our mood rules more than our head with most consuming we engage in. Despite this fact, I still find it surprising that most company’s/brands still only pay lip service to the importance of understanding customer emotional experiences. There is a world of difference between merely collecting data on whether your customers are in a positive or negative mood, compared to understanding more precisely their exact emotional position. For example anger and boredom are both negative emotions. However, psychologically they will result in different consumer actions. Angry consumers will want an opportunity to feedback this negative energy as they are emotionally engaged which will result in behaviour engagement. Bored consumers on the other hand are emotionally disengaged, and this will result in inaction. Wouldn’t it be vital to catch the indifferent consumer before they became bored or provide the angry customer with timely opportunities to vent this frustration and then pacify them? They are both experiencing negative emotionality, yet they are completely different species of consumers who need very different customer experience needs.

Recently one of my clients was focusing all their energy on addressing negative customer feedback. Yet what they had missed was that this feedback was from the irritated, frustrated or angry consumer. The other group of negative customers, the disenchanted, unimpressed, indifferent had simply drifted away quietly and unnoticed. We estimated that this client was losing perhaps 27% of its potential customer base in this way. Once we understood that there were very different groups of ‘negative’ consumers we could implement very precise intervention strategies with each.

You experience a very rich emotional world – so does your customer. Brands, ignore this at your peril!

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