Why We Should All Be Monitoring Net Emotional Value (NEV)

“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” Plato

Plato hit the nail on the head. We humans are not purely governed by the rational and businesses that want to deliver fabulous customer service need to acknowledge that emotions drive buying decisions and learn to channel that to the advantage of the customer and business alike.

Determining the value of any given product or service is complicated. Behavioural economics has proven that people do not buy things based exclusively on rational assessment. Customers are equally influenced by more nebulous concepts like loyalty, their perception of the service they have received and whether the brand aligns with their ideology or personality.

So, how do you measure an emotional/subconscious value? Most companies, accepting the competitive advantage that good customer service brings, have adopted the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as the metric by which to measure success. NPS is a customer satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your customers are to recommend you to a friend. Companies typically use it to evaluate and improve customer loyalty.

Though useful, NPS gives you limited information. Measuring Net Emotional Value (NEV) allows you to explore in more depth the psychological experiences that drive customers to interact with your organisation in the way they do. The value equates to a single number that represents the emotional value you provide to your customers and is derived from subtracting the negative from the positive emotions a customer feels about their experience with your organisation.

So, what specifically are these customer emotions? Colin Shaw, the author of The DNA of Customer Experience: How emotions drive value (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), worked with the London Business School and the Chair of Consumer Psychology in England to determine what customer emotions drive value for an organisation. Thousands of people were asked millions of questions to determine 20 emotions in order to create a Hierarchy of Emotional Value:

Hierarchy of Emotions

You can see that the emotions at the bottom of the image destroy value; the emotions in the next sector up lead to short-term value by engaging a customer’s interest; the cluster up from that contains emotions proven to drive people to stay with an organisation longer and the top of the pyramid group together the advocacy emotions. This latter cluster is at the top of the hierarchy because these are the emotions that drive the most value for organisations.

So, being equipped with this information, the first thing you need to do is to ask your customers how they feel against these emotions. You then need to make a strategic decision about what emotions you want to evoke in your customers and design these into your current customer experience.

Once you start monitoring your Net Emotional Value, you can start to learn how your customers really feel about your organisation at an emotional level, and how to tune into this to give you that important competitive advantage.