Forrester recently reported that in 17 out of 18 industries, customers are
influenced more by how they feel than by a product’s actual effectiveness. That’s a
lot of industries and a lot of customers, which is why Emotive CX can be so valuable to call center managers’ approaches to their call center customer experience strategy and how they score and manage their agents. This approach is understandably gaining attention from enterprise executives and call center
The challenge is to upgrade your overall capability. This means
enabling every agent to understand emotion management and use it for every
While it may not be easy to measure or quantify a highly subjective concept like emotions, it is certainly not impossible.
In his recent thought leadership series sponsored by New Voice Media, Hill-Wilson defines Emotive CX for customer interactions as the ability to optimize the way a customer feels during and after a contact center interaction.
Working with this definition, we can begin to explore the ways in which to measure Emotive CX.
“As a goal, we want our teams to be able to improve customer outcomes by raising their awareness of the emotional content within interactions and their skill in addressing how a customer feels.” - Martin Hill-Wilson, Managing Emotive CX for Customer Interaction
Here’s what we know: emotions impact customer purchasing decisions -- sometimes positively, other times, negatively.
While great strides have been made in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and speech analytics, Hill-Wilson points to active listening by live call center agents as the best chance of having a great outcome, assuming a live agent is necessary for tuning into and understanding what matters to a customer.
In addition, when call center agents get off structured scripts and instead actively listen to customers, they begin to have more engaging and emotionally intelligent conversations. Their chances for a successful interaction greatly increase.
Agents can show they are listening actively by:
Anticipating customer requests
Delivering explanations and justifications
Providing emotional support
Offering personal information
In this chart, Bruce Temkin, Managing Partner of the Temkin group and known in the CX world as the “Godfather of Customer Experience,” maps how both positive and negative emotions impact customer loyalty. A strong listener can also pick up on unstated needs and sense what a customer feels. This is the foundation skill that enables emotion management – amplifying the positive and transforming the negative.
In summary, when customers feel excited, appreciated, and happy, they “want to do more” business, as opposed to those customers feeling disappointed, frustrated, and angry. While perhaps intuitive, it’s validating to have data sets that more precisely pinpoint these trends.
Scorecards can be used to measure and quantify Emotive CX in call centers; quality assurance and call center QA specialists can certainly complete these areas on the scorecards before and after a call center or customer service interactions.
Agents can and should also self-score interactions as a means of optimizing customer engagement, enhancing agent self-awareness, and accessing more comprehensive cross-functional feedback. By being empowered as part of the solution, agents can take on a more active role in their own success, improving call center customer experience, and in the overall satisfaction level of the customer’s experience.
Here are some examples of how scorecards can be upgraded to focus on how well the agent recognized and then responded to a customers’ emotional state and how well they used excellent agent soft skills.
In this example, the scorecard is used to indicate if the agent initially recognized the mood of the customer at the outset of the interaction. And if the mood was identified as positive, what word from the choices given would best describe that mood. These areas of the scorecard can be used to determine if the agent is able to ‘feel’ what the customer is feeling; demonstrate empathy.
In this section of the scorecard Question #3, the scorer is asked to indicate if the agent initially recognized the mood of the customer at the outset of the interaction as being a negative one. Did the agent demonstrate empathy by saying something that would recognize that the customer for example, was desperate or angry? And if the mood was identified as negative, what word from the choices would best describe that mood at the outset of the interaction.
In Question #4, the scorer is also asked to determine if the overall mood of the customer was changed by the interaction. Moving the needle of the customer’s mood in a positive direction is obviously the best outcome. In question #4, the scorer is asked to select the word that best describes the customer’s mood at the end of the interaction.
Questions #5 and #6 are intended to determine if the agent was able to satisfy the customer's needs both functionally and emotionally during the interaction. What you wanted the customer to feel at the end of the journey is most important. Did the outcome of the call leave the customer with a positive impression of the interaction because both their functional and emotional needs were met.
Customers who experience positive Emotive CX interactions are more likely to buy from your business and remain loyal customers. While this may be intuitive, it is helpful to have data that points directly to which part of a customer experience went well or needs improvement.
To this point, Martin-Hill explains, “Customers who have great experiences will remember them long after they have forgotten the price they paid.”
The bottom line is that it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure that customers have great experiences.
Looking for More? Read The Roadmap for Success: Improving Agent Soft Skills