Top 10 Reasons Why Emotions Are Being Ignored In Business


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Have you watched the news and seen the terrible sight of starving children in Africa, it always brings a tear to my eye. Have you watched music videos such as, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, a song about women getting breast cancer and how their families support them, without failing to feel tearful?

Who can fail to be inspired when they see disabled/handicapped people fight through adversity and undertake great feats of endurance in the Special/Paralympics from last year? The human spirit is what defines us. Emotions are what define us. People are driven by emotions…..

…..the alarm clock rings on a Monday morning. We go into work and as leaders we seem to detach our hearts; we spend our business life working on the marketing assumption that all Customers are rational and logical beings and only buy based on Porters 4 P’s – product, price, place & promotion. How utterly ridiculous! Why does this happen? Why is it that something as obvious as making a Customer feel ‘happy’ with you, showing you ‘care’ and ‘value’ your Customers is so alien to many businesses?
After working in this area for 15 years and writing four books on Customer Experience here are my top ten reasons why emotions are effectively ignored by many businesses:

1. Businesses have not had to worry in the past. Businesses focus on their product and expanding their markets. With globalisation, the internet and mass commoditization this is forcing people to think of other ways of differentiating themselves, hence the rise of the importance of Customer Experience.
2. Emotions are perceived to be hard to define and difficult to measure.
3. Emotions are soft, fluffy and difficult to quantify and relate to $ outcome. My book the ‘DNA of Customer Experience, how emotions drive and destroys value‘, Palgrave MacMillan 2007, has gone a long way to dispel this myth and shows statistically how much $$$ can be gained.
4. Business is about numbers. This requires an analytical approach. In the past there have not been many tools that will show the financial return that evoking an emotion in a Customer will generate.
5. As a result of items 1-4, businesses like logical/analytical people. These are the people that tend to get promoted and are now in senior positions in companies. These people tend to do what they are good at, the rational/logical thinking. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
6. Businesses have been traditional run by men. Just look at the great TV series ‘Mad Men’. You see how much women were down trodden in the work place and ignored.
7. Women are better, in the main, at understanding their emotions than men. Women tend to be more empathetic but not enough are in positions of authority. We can have a great debate on whether that is nature or nurture and/or societal effects but let’s not get into that now.

Why Emotions Are Being Ignored

8. Most senior people in organisations are 50-60 years old. In fact the median age for a CEO is 55. I am 56. We baby boomers were brought up on ‘big boys don’t cry’ and ‘be a man’. I bear the scars of trying to convince people that emotions are key aspects of dealing with Customers. When I was in corporate life, 95% of my colleagues were left brain focussed. I have struggled daily to get emotions accepted and on to the table to discuss.
9. Many of the people who are revered in business are the tough, ‘go get them’, ‘let’s charge over the hill and kill the competition’ macho types, not the people who are experts on psychology, emotions and other ‘soft’ subjects.
10. People may agree that they should focus on emotions but don’t know how to do it.

These areas are what have stopped people in the past. I am starting to see signs of people really starting to embrace emotions as an important part of the Customer Experience. Here are some examples.

Exhibit 1:
I was delivering a key note speech at a Telecoms event in Miami and SVP’s from a Telecoms company told the audiences that understanding and designing Customer emotions into their experience was a key part of their strategy.

Exhibit 2:
One of our clients, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, improved their Net Promoter by 40 points in 30 months by focussing on three emotions: Pleased, Cared for and Trust. Take a listen to the webinar and case study we conducted with them on how we help them do this.

Here is Forrester’s independent case study on Maersk that you will also find interesting.

Exhibit 3:
Forrester’s predictions this year states:

Emotional insights will take center stage. The idea that happy customers are more likely to remain loyal, try new products and services, and spread good news about their experiences has started to catch on. Over the past several months, we’ve seen a rise in the number of companies pondering the connection between enjoyment and metrics like satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS). In fact, one global company statistically demonstrated that several emotional factors trump NPS in predicting customer loyalty, effectively dethroning “would you recommend?” as the ultimate question. As firms start to emphasize customer emotion in 2013, we expect to see more vendors developing offerings like Beyond Philosophy’s Emotional Signature, which examines the rational, subconscious, and emotional elements of an experience.”

We are very pleased they saw fit to mention our Emotional Signature® service that quantifies the value ($) of evoking an emotions. Emotions have an enormous capacity to improve the revenues of your organization. It’s taken some time, but the revolution has started. I look forward to seeing it blossom and grow…

Does your organization focus on customer emotions?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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