Measuring customers’ emotional as well as rational thoughts
Sometimes it is too easy with a standard customer feedback questionnaire to simply ask customers for their opinions on a particular supplier’s performance to date, without fully appreciating that we are human and not machines. There is an emotional aspect to how we assess things as well as a rational one. We like to think, particularly within a business context, that we are very rational about our views and our actions, yet even here how we feel does impact us.
So whilst it is possible to ask people about their feelings within a survey, is it actually meaningful? Many companies now recognise that a large part of a customer supplier relationship is built on trust. This is particularly true in a B2B environment where companies increasingly want more of a partnership approach rather than just a basic customer supplier relationship.
In a recent Customer Engagement Directors Forum a number of both the speakers and attendees discussed the impact of emotion on customer behaviour. There was a common theme that aspects such as overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend, and to continue to do business with, are all good solid measures of rational attachment by customers. But moving customers through a more emotional hierarchy covering aspects such as trust, being treated fairly, being respected, and being passionate about a brand were all further indications of customer emotional engagement between the company and its customer. This customer emotional engagement can only lead to a much closer relationship and therefore a greater likelihood to increase spend and become loyal.
Companies also are increasingly looking to measure the extent to which they are delivering their values. Although questions around this area frequently appear within employee surveys, we find they are too infrequently considered when asking customers for their feedback. This is why many firms are using emotional intelligence as the key criteria for selection, the theory being it is more likely to result in faster settling in and longer retention of a new recruit. The successful outcome from the customer’s perspective is about having the right people, doing the right things, in the right place at the right time. After all as many studies have shown it is the combination of employee and customer engagement that ultimately delivers the business performance that is targeted.
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To discuss using customer emotional intelligence as part of your customer feedback gathering, get in touch.