The Importance of Emotional Engagement in Customer Experience

The Importance of Emotional Engagement in Customer Experience

At The Research Locker, helping clients understand how Customer and Company Effort during service interactions (particularly in a complaint environment) impacts future Customer Loyalty is one of the key ways in which we can help them improve their performance and, as a result, help their retention efforts while also improving the end-customer experience.

We also measure Customer Emotion during their ‘journey’, visualising how interactions with client organisations makes the customer feel, and how this can also impact future Customer Loyalty. Both Effort and Emotion strongly influence the Customer Experience and can significantly impact your organisation’s bottom-line.


A key factor worth considering when discussing both Effort and Emotion is how your organisation can display your own efforts in an emotionally engaging way – because connecting emotionally with your customers will be recognised, appreciated and remembered by customers!

It is suggested that almost 50% of any Customer Experience is made-up of emotion [1]. With such a high proportion of any customer interaction being judged on an emotional basis, then it is critical that organisations ensure they are engaging customers in a positive emotional way.

More than 50% of a customer’s experience is about emotions

When a customer interacts with their chosen providers, these interactions create an emotional connection – be it good or bad. Emotional connections are especially prevalent in instances where the customer is attempting to resolve a problem, issue or complaint as their emotional status at the start of this journey may already be ‘fragile’. A poor service experience – including non-resolution of a customer complaint – can provoke negative emotions which live long in the memory and will influence the future behaviour of that customer.

As an example, research by the US Tempkin Group [2] suggests that emotion in Retail Banking is one of the weakest elements of a Customer Experience – and this emotional weakness had commercial implications in terms of an organisation’s ability to convince customers to:

  • purchase more from a company
  • recommend a company
  • trust a company
  • forgive a company for a mistake
  • try new products and services offered by a company

By generating positive feelings among your customers and combining this ‘feel good’ factor with your own organisational efforts to make the service experience more effortless for your customers, you can enjoy stronger, more engaged relationships with your customers.

Your employees might benefit from such soft people skills as:

  • active listening (to the customer’s needs)
  • empathy (with the customer’s situation and / or distress)
  • empowerment (to resolve the customer’s situation as quickly and painlessly as possible)

Such skills can help your staff connect emotionally with your customers and is likely to position your organisation in a more favourable light and engender positive feelings towards your organisation among your customers. With many industry sectors becoming increasingly competitive, customer retention efforts are more important than ever – and to meet such retention challenges, organisations might be aided by connecting in a more positive emotional fashion with their customers.


In our experience, many organisations could do more to understand how their service interactions make their customers feel and, particularly, establishing what elements of the interaction drives negative customer emotions. Those organisations who proactively seek to understand such drivers and seek to improve how they can emotionally engage with their customers can benefit from competitive advantage as well as business success.

Where some view negative emotions as a problem – others see opportunity!

Organisations who deliver a positive emotional experience have seen customer loyalty improvements which include [2]:

  • 15x more likely to recommend the company [NPS]
  • 8x more likely to trust the company
  • 7.8x more likely to try new products offered by the company
  • 7x more likely to purchase more from the company
  • 6x more likely to forgive a mistake


So, I’ve blogged a lot recently about Customer Effort and Customer Journey Mapping … then I highlighted the importance of measuring Company Effort as well as Customer Effort. All are important ‘tools’ to help your organisation understand your customers’ service experiences. But as highlighted earlier, if circa 50%+ of any Customer Experience involves Emotion, then it’s not enough to just understand how service interactions make your customers feel and why … you also have to consider how well your own organisation connects emotionally with your customers. Only by considering the emotional role your organisation plays when interacting with your customers, will you truly understand how you might create and grow positive customer relationships … it’s worth taking the time to contemplate as the commercial implications are significant!

What is your organisation doing to deliver positive customer emotions to the heart of service interactions?

Scott is Head of Research at The Research Locker, a full services research agency which focuses on helping clients improve service interactions and the customer experience, particularly within a complaint environment. To learn more about The Research Locker, visit