Why Measuring Emotional Value Is Key For Improving Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

by Vibhu Bhan

Welcome to our experience series, and this is the first in that sequence :). Our Board Advisor told us that 2021 will be a defining year for us and the summer of 2021 was definitely one. We were able to work with a range of Retail and SaaS services based clients through critical partnerships which are still being established and formed.

We worked with an Ecommerce Apparel Retailer, Furniture Retailer, Pet Retailer and a Food Producer (Breads and Bakery), who all had different objectives, with one common thread. They all wanted to understand the Voice Of Customer, but from a non-transactional point of view. Another commonality across all of them was existing NPS based customer loyalty measurement. What they were tracking was the NPS score at a brand level and some main points of contention with the customers. All three had a good collection of actual reviews submitted by the users in-moment like delivery, checkout, or abandonment. This is where we started.

The immediate value-add for all these retailers was our ability to co-mingle both social and NPS based data together and have it analyzed for emotional contexts across time and products; this “why” behind the emotional feedback was brand new. The application of these contexts supported the following objectives:

  1. New content for future online campaigns, by product.
  2. Validation and prioritization of key customer issues.
  3. Key input to qualitative research in support of business transformation.

As a result of these critical engagements, we were able to refine and further develop our purpose for being. I.e. helping our clients understand the personal emotional contexts related to products and brands, and offering opportunities for growth and differentiation.

Below is a quick summary of how we see these new and promising “Emotional Metrics” help build companies that can continuously adapt to their most precious asset - their clients!

Net Promoter Score Enhanced Using Emotional Value:

In one of our engagements with an Ecommerce Retailer, they had a very well functioning NPS review gathering infrastructure and processes. They captured over 1 million NPS reviews over just a span of two years related to very specific parts of their customer journey, using well placed requests for NPS surveys and reviews at time of checkout, delivery, abandonment and other journey points.

This allowed them to continuously gather feedback, in-moment, when a customer is most likely to give it. However, the key constraint of NPS surveys is it’s focus on board or very specific niche topics, which might or might not be of importance to your customers. Also, they were not utilizing the richest part of the review, the actual text. This was the start we needed to introduce these new set of emotion metrics.

We were able to map the most emotional contexts from that text to certain products and categories, Geo-locations and more. One of the key insights from this emotional map was related to their last mile delivery experience, furthermore team behavior and hand-off was connected with the most emotional contexts. It was a clear fix and something they plan to use to market in the future of how they are tuning in to the voice of their customers. The illustration above shows how easy it is to navigate the emotion map using your own terms and getting the sentiment/emotional breakdown related to your term of interest.

These engagements helped refine our value add and create a method to enrich NPS score, nuanced by emotional contexts and not just a score. We also helped the client squeeze out net new intelligence from data they already had. The illustration above shows product and other entities identified as top emotional contexts related to in-store experience. Each of these have drill downs which further surface the “why” behind the emotional feedback.

Using Emotional Contexts To Further Nuance Your NPS:

NEV and realizing Customer emotions is the next evolution in building deeper understanding of the reasons why customers love or do not like engaging with your brand. We worked with an online apparel retailer to build a baseline of customer emotions at multiple levels. Being a purpose brand, tracking the alignment of values as expressed in customer feedback with their purpose was critical. Secondly, learning which products and categories were related to the emotional trends over time was needed to build the emotional baseline.

The next build on this engagement is to understand the baseline across competitors' public customer chatter and similar products and categories. This is extremely helpful in validating and mining new contexts of differentiation.

For example: If “Ease of checkout” is your relative strength, then ensure you build and support that core capability in the market. This will also lead to discovering new core capabilities, hence help you evolve to the tune of your customer’s evolving expectations. On the other hand, if your relative weakness is “Finding Product”, then make it a mission and be loud and proud in your communication about the mission and achievements. This builds an organic dialogue with your fans and critics online, which leads to an authentic reputation.

As part of our engagement with an Apparel Retailer, illustration shows top negative emotions tracked across the first quarter of 2021. This was related to over 70 different store locations.

Once the emotion baseline has been established, the next step is to design a plan to invoke these emotions across your experience landscape - both physical and digital. Continuous listening and processing of all chatter, social, emails, NPS reviews, call transcripts is how you create and maintain an edge, because these are really good sources of unsolicited feedback which is always given in context to your brand and the related moment of delight or disappointment. Identifying these moments provides you with an automated research source to build a customer centric organization or one which best aligns with your purpose, vision and strategy.

As part of our retail engagements, we helped them map the contexts across state lines and 100 different store locations. The requirement driving this analysis was their need to learn regional nuances of how their customers' feedback varies across sentiment and emotions vs products and states. Different nodes of customer journey surfaced up for different states mapped to a variety of products and store locations.

There are some key similarities between CSAT/CES (NPS Surveys based) and NEV (Emotion Value based), they both measure loyalty, happiness and overall sentiment across various customer journey points. However, what is different is the focus and structured nature of CSAT/CES vs NEV which tends to be more subjective and is more effective in soliciting open feedback. NPS questions usually put the customer in a frame of mind, which is necessary given the way NPS campaigns work, but you don’t need to stop there.

With NEV metrics like brand, product sentiment and emotion scores, derived from troves of customer chatter across social and internally collected sources, you unlock new insights, nuanced by context and associated with customer and business success factors and conversion scenarios. Just getting a number at brand level does not help you, for example, knowing that the sentiment score connected to "Pizza" keyword is slightly positive is not the same as knowing that "Pizza" is connected with {stale ingredients:negative:disappointment}, {tasty dough:positive:grin}, {yummy cheese:positive:yummy}, represented as context:sentiment:emotion triplets. Doing this over time builds a narrative trend, which will validate or introduce you to new emotional context from the chatter.

Our experience has shown us a path to successful implementation of not just analysing and measuring emotions, but also applying them with the goal of truly understanding the “why” behind the customer behaviour. While it is widely understood that loyalty ultimately is shown based on transactional behaviors, which marketers have primarily relied on through measuring retention, repeat purchases and incremental sales, we contend that including emotions as a measure to achieve superior customer experience opens new avenues for growth.

If this is a journey you have already or are curious to embark on, please get in touch with us here.

Also, check out the original post in the series where we propose calculating NEV as part of your existing NPS processes - NEV - Net Emotional Value