Data and Analytics

Forrester Q&A: Measuring Customer Emotion

Forrester Q&A: Measuring Customer Emotion

September 03, 2018 | Christine Cornwell

Forrester AnalystWe asked Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian, PhD, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, about the impact of digital transformation on customer experience (CX). Here is the fifth and final question in our series.


Question: To improve customer experience, you say we must create and drive loyalty. And that emotion is one of the best predictors of loyalty. If we want to build strong emotional connections, how do we start to measure customer emotion?

Answer: Measuring emotion is hard because we can only measure emotion cues, such as:

  • What customers say they feel
  • How customers’ social-expressive behaviors change (e.g. face, voice, or body language)
  • How customers’ neurophysiology reacts (e.g. heart rate and perspiration)

Taking several emotion cues together, plus considering the situation and personality as context, increases the chance to identify the right emotion.

Machine Learning-Based Tools Make it Easier to Detect Emotions

Most emotion analysis in CX measurement today focuses on self-reported emotions, such as survey questions that use emotion scales or mining comments or reviews for sentiment and emotions. New machine learning-based tools make it easier to detect self-reported, social-expressive and neurophysiological emotion cues. For example, technology providers have created proprietary algorithms to identify frustration and distress of customers who call the contact center (e.g. using tone and pitch) or interact online (e.g. clicking and scrolling).

And what’s more, these tools can run multi-modal emotion analysis, i.e. combine emotion cues to emotion signatures that apply to a specific context. This makes it more likely to realize that a customer who smiles (facial expression) while struggling to enter a captcha code (situation), and who swears at the screen (self-expressed) because he lacks patience for technology (personality) as frustrated. Hrishi Talwar, VP of Digital Identity and Mobile Products at Equifax, explains,

From retailers to real estate, business and government agencies alike must understand that digital is not just a channel. It is an experience and a key strategic component for customer experience.1

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  1. Source: The Year Ahead: Digital Shall Become a Table Stake in CX