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How can emotions impact conversion rates and retention?

Published on November 30, 2022  - Updated on December 05, 2023

How can emotions impact conversion rates and retention?

Emotions play an important role in consumers' buying decisions. They can be a powerful driver of conversion and loyalty.

Most of the time, we tend to believe that our decisions are based on a rational or analytical processing of the different options available. We like to believe that we are in control, that our evaluations lead us to make the right or best decision and that we are not influenced by branding or advertising. 

However, even though they sneak up on us in very subtle ways, emotions are the main drivers of the whole decision making process. These are often indeed emotional. 

When used correctly, they can be a huge benefit to your business. By understanding how your customers feel and what triggers those emotions, you can create a much more positive customer experience. This, in turn, can lead to increased sales and loyalty. First, we'll look at why emotion is so important.

1 – The importance of emotion

The impact of emotions in the customer buying process has been the subject of much research.

For example, a study by Qualtrics XM Institute (on a sample of 10,000 American consumers in 20 industries), showed that individuals are 7.8 times more likely to try a new product/service and 7.1 times more likely to buy more if they feel a positive emotion towards a brand. Creating an emotional connection therefore builds a stronger and more lasting relationship with the customer. If the customer starts to feel that the company understands their needs, or that the gap to meet their needs seems simple and easy to fill, then the company has won: this famous emotional connection will be built and will be harder to break in the future, it is a real competitive advantage. 

This notion of emotional connection was highlighted by Alan Zorfas and Daniel Leemon in the book: The New Science of Customer Emotions (2015). 

Here's what Alan Zorfas had to say about the value of companies successfully connecting with customers' emotions: 

"When companies connect with customers' emotions, the payoff can be huge. Consider these examples:

  • following a major bank's introduction of a credit card for Millennials designed to inspire an emotional connection, usage in this segment increased by 70% and new account growth increased by 40%. 
  • Less than a year after launching products and messaging to maximize emotional connection, a leading household cleaner has turned market share losses into double-digit growth. 
  • and when a nationwide apparel retailer shifted its merchandising and customer experience to its most emotionally connected customer segments, same-store sales growth more than tripled. 

This demonstrated that an "emotional connection matters more than customer satisfaction."

Another study conducted by the Disney Institute found that their emotionally engaged customers compared to "traditional" customers tend to be : 

  • at least 3 times more likely to recommend 
  • 3 times more likely to repurchase 
  • less likely to buy elsewhere 
  • much less price sensitive 

But the reverse is also true, negative emotions have a strong impact on the relationship with your customers and on the way you communicate with them.

Indeed, it is easy to understand that a customer who expresses stress or fear will not need the same response as an angry customer. Without this emotional layer, with for example only an analysis of the feelings, it will be extremely difficult to correctly answer the customer's expectations. 

Imagine a customer expressing disgust for a product. If you offer him a discount to buy this product, it will not work, for 2 reasons: 

  • because the client is already looking for a complete change
  • because this emotion is often uncontrollable, stronger than
    his mind and will. 

Offering the same answer over and over again is like saying you don't understand your customer.

Customer experience is the new battleground where the real competition is played out. A true understanding of customer needs can help companies improve not only the buying experience, but also the conversion.

That's why at Q°emotion we have developed an emotional analysis tool.

2 – The emotional analysis

The first step to start tracking your customers' emotions is to collect their opinions and comments using one or more tools. You can choose to analyze one or several sources, the most classic being: barometers, satisfaction surveys, hot/cold surveys, online opinion sites, possibly chat conversations, instant messaging (Whatsapp, Messenger, etc.) and emails. 

Initially, you will need to collect more than 500 comments to get a meaningful view of the customer experience. This limit will be reduced to a minimum of 100 comments if you are already focusing on more specific topics or if the comments are longer (over 500 characters). The second step is to analyze these comments. You can of course start by simply reading the comments, but integrating these elements into a semantic and emotional analysis tool will help you turn complex data into actionable data. But how does it work? Specifically, the tool will analyze the comment, decide which emotion is most appropriate for each sentence and assign a main emotion based on the emotional weight. 

To achieve this result, millions of words, phrases, sentences, etc. have been integrated into an emotional dictionary and coupled with layers of interpretation, which allows for the interpretation of all signals used in the written language. 

Capitalization, negative forms, punctuation, emojis, inversion, verb tense and forms will be useful to better detect the emotion of the comment and limit the number of errors.

It is thanks to all this analysis that you will be able to segment your customers by emotion and create an emotional profiling.

3 – The emotional profiling

As previously mentioned, by coupling semantic analysis and emotional analysis, you will be able to segment your customers by the emotion they feel. 

But why adopt this strategy? 

The main reason is your customers' needs. Indeed, behind each comment there is an emotion and behind each emotion there is a different need. It is important to understand the deep motivation of customers to answer your survey or to write a review on the Web. Customers do not respond to please the brand(s). Customers answer your survey questions to express or confirm the need(s). 

And they do so, using words, phrases. All the words used by the customer are, consciously or not, emotionally charged. 

If a visitor writes a very enthusiastic review about his last visit, it may be to share it with others to help them, to promote it because he is proud of it, etc.

Following our feedback, here is an infographic made by our team that represents the main need that could be concretely translated behind each emotion: 

Action by emotion

By identifying the emotions expressed by your customers, you will know what their needs are and what message to send them. This allows you to spot signs of attrition and act before it's too late!

Emotional profiling to improve conversion rates

But that's not all, by analyzing the comments of your most loyal customers, you will be able to identify the "enchantment levers". These are all the little extras that will give your customers a wow effect and make the experience with your brand memorable. This can take many forms: 

  • a free airline upgrade
  • a helpful staff in a store or hotel
  • a bank that quickly identifies a fraud and warns the user

By surpassing your customers' expectations, they are likely to become ambassadors of your brand and promote it to their friends and family. By showing their satisfaction on online reviews, it helps to improve your conversion rate. At Q°emotion, we have measured an increase of up to +5% in the conversion rate of our customers. By having this information in your CRM, you will be able to make targeted communication by emotion felt by your customers to encourage them to leave you a review online.

Emotional profiling in the CRM - Q°emotion

If you would like to learn more about emotional analysis to improve your conversion rate, make an appointment with our team by clicking here

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