Understanding, and properly acting on customer emotions to your business strategies is without a doubt one of the most frustrating and daunting tasks facing management today.
The reason is clear enough: because doing so requires the blending of two realities that seem almost diametrically opposed to one another.
For starters, there is the data imperative. Competent managers across all industries know that data wears the crown. In a world where differentiating on price or product is more and more difficult, ROI is found by collecting better data and then using it more effectively than the competition.
But on the other side of this equation, you have the human customers, whose emotions are esoteric, fleeting and sometimes even contradictory.
The result of this duality? The reality that generating meaningful data about customer emotions is both critical and extremely challenging to do.
Executives and managers who need to square this circle must start by understanding the metrics currently being used by smart businesses, and how they can properly generate them for themselves.
Hint: The Net Promoter Score Isn’t The (Only) Answer
Generations of executives and managers have grown up with the golden grail of the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Not so much anymore.
The NPS does create relevant data. After all, the question “how likely are you to recommend us to others” is one that is both easy for customers to understand and businesses to measure. In that sense, it provides relevant and actionable data that opens a window into how a customer ultimately “feels” about a company or brand.
However, there are serious limitations to the NPS that many companies overlook. The most grave drawback is that it lacks context about the consumer’s decision to recommend/not recommend - the why - and therefore fails to give an accurate picture of the psychological motivations and reasons behind the decision. And without this psychological component, an organization is left without any clear path to improve.
In other words, NPS tells a company about the effectiveness of its current customer experience, but provides absolutely no information about where or how they need to improve.
Augmenting NPS with Net Emotional Value
This critical lack of prognostic power is simply not acceptable to any company in a competitive market. To stay streetwise, there must be a better job done “squaring the circle” to turn messy human emotions into data-driven business decisions.
An excellent solution is the Net Emotional Value (NEV). Like the NPS, NEV generates a single number. However, unlike the NPS, NEV measures the “balance between the positive and negative emotions a customer feels about their experience with your organization.”
This is done by determining how many positive interactions a customer has with the company during their journey, and offsetting them by the number of negative interactions they have.
In this way, NEV improves on the NPS by delving deeper into the interplay between the customer’s feelings about their journey and the experience a company is providing, rather than simply measuring the ultimate manifestation of those feelings.
The bottom line is, if a company has negative NPS, it knows it has a problem. If a company has negative NEV, it knows where it has a problem.
Creating Positive Customer Experiences
Ultimately, both NPS and NEV measure the experience a brand or company provides its customers. NPS is a great tool for ranking overall performance, but it provides little in the way of future guidance.
And future guidance is where data provides ROI. In the race to overlay empirical study onto something as amorphous and difficult to measure as human emotions, failing to ask where the end product of emotion is coming from is a critical error. NEV fills that gap.
For brands and companies serious about differentiating on experience, it’s an empirical metric that simply cannot be ignored.