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How to measure customer emotions?

Written by Jake Pryszlak

On October 8, 2018


How to measure customer emotions?

I am an award-winning market research blogger and speaker. My personal brand and blog have taken me to places all over the world. From Twitter and my blog, you can find out my latest thoughts about the sector.
As researchers. Many of us measure customer emotions in some way. Whether using quantitative data or by actually speaking to individuals through qualitative means. What we sometimes forget is that after being a researcher in the day or/and night, we are human beings.

Your mode of transport could vary from walking, taking the train, car, or plane. Through life, you measure individuals emotions when you look at them or even interact.

Whilst on a busy train leaving London I thought my latest blog post would tell you some hidden truths when measuring customer (or if you are really one of those individuals.. consumers) emotions.


Measuring customer emotions for your customer experience is a vital activity for any organisation. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

How Do We Measure a Feeling?

The most common way to measure emotion is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It’s a little bit like marmite. You either love or hate it. Those who are in favour of the metric usually want to use it as a benchmark process to look back on previous years. Those against, are looking for different ways of measuring a feeling.

In a nutshell, NPS tells you how likely a customer is to recommend your product or service to their friends and family. The scale is between 1-10. If you score a 6 or under, you are a detractor. A 7 or 8 score is considered passive. If you have 9 or 10, you are a promoter. Your most loyal customers are those who ultimately have high NPS scores. Then to calculate your ‘Net’ you subtract your promoters from your detractors.

Are you in favour or against NPS?

Tweet me at @Jake_pryszlak with your thoughts.

Personally, NPS isn’t the poor metric that many individuals make out. It’s easy and simple to understand for researchers. As well as those non-researcher brains which is essential when talking to clients and departments that may not be research led. You can also compare yourself to other organisations.

What does this mean to customer emotions?

Which means you are comparing apples to apples and not an orange to an apple. Finally, it is a recommendation from a customer which is part of the emotional aspect any customer would go through when thinking about a brand or product.

Whilst NPS is a useful measuring tool, it doesn’t sing of the hymn sheets for me. Remember that no way of measuring can absolutely be correct or perfect.

Why NPS doesn’t sing of the hymn sheets for me is because:

  • It lacks a comprehensive feel.
  • It does not tell you why people would or would not recommend you which I think Is vital to measuring customer emotions.
  • A signal figure poses more questions than actual answers.

Information to answer the WHY requires much more than a simple NPS question. Whether you have a rising or a slipping NPS, the score itself will not tell you what you need to change or improve.

What Emotions Should You Measure?

When thinking about customer emotions and before you start to think about measuring, you first need to think about what emotions you are trying to evoke from your customers and how you would define these. Any type of emotion should drive something commercially such as revenue and profit.

Examples of customer emotions are:

  • To feel cared for when entering one of our hospitals.
  • We want customers to feel safe and protected when using our app.
  • I want customers to feel relaxed after joining us for a spa day.


I could go on but I think you get the picture. Essentially it’s emotions that may be appropriate for a customer to feel when they are engaged in your business.

Where and When Should You Be Measuring customer emotions?

Once you have defined your emotions, you should then think about how you want to measure these towards that goal. This could be as simple as asking your customers.

Asking customers questions should be like clockwork. You could:

  • Ask customers at the purchase or transactional stage – this could even be at the end of a chat exchange or a different customer experience intersect.
  • Ask customers questions as a follow-up.

Don’t forget that the questions you ask should be linked to the emotions you are wishing to test. Also, you can’t expect accurate data from customers if you ask them some time ago which is why timing is crucial. The follow up should take place a short time after the experience, so the customer knows how they felt.

What does customer emotion look like at the moment?

At the moment, organisations measure rational things such as how quickly was your call answered or how efficient were your questions answered. We don’t ask very well any emotional things which is where I think customer experience could be brought to light. What you measure could also be either rational and irrational – both which are crucial to your customer experience.

How can you lead the way in customer emotion measurement?

To capture customer emotions you should first think carefully about what you are trying to measure and how these could impact on business performance. Then how will you measure these emotions at a particular time whether that is pre and post-purchase or in different scenarios?

You should test your ideas with a group of people to understand what answers you may receive and whether they are accurate and useful for your work. Then, do you have more questions than answers after your receive those answers?

If yes, then you need to ask other prompted questions to understand the ‘WHY?’ and ‘SO WHAT?’

How do you measure customer emotions at the moment?




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