Digital Emotional Intelligence: How to Make Customers Give an Emotional Response?
Updated: Sep 20
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to understand your own emotions, the emotions of others, and how they impact the way we interact. It also includes the ability to use that knowledge to adapt to interactions with others to achieve goals. Digital Emotional Intelligence (DEQ) is the ability to apply EQ in our increasingly digital, connected environments.
This infographic breaks out 9 of the key DEQ themes like Culture Resiliency (adaptation & resilience as work & societal norms change) and Digital Wellness (balancing technology with healthy boundaries & emotional health).
When it comes to digital emotions, the Avery Dennison report provides an excellent comparison of physical and digital emotion tools and indicators.
Digital Emotions are defined as "human emotions that, while still experienced in the body, are primarily influenced, augmented, composed, or expressed through digital technology." This could be a digital interface like smartphones or data collected from sensors in the objects and environment around us.
Due to the speed and virality of internet communications, and because online social networks are more extensive and broader, Digital Emotions are more contagious than their physical counterparts. Updating your Facebook status or posting on Instagram, for instance, can trigger an emotional response with someone thousands of miles away.
One of the most popular ways to digitally show emotion now is emojis. These are also useful to get a quick overview of your consumers' perceptions of a brand and what they associate with it. Generally, customers perceive brands that use emojis in their online communication as more friendly, popular, and trendy. Such brands are also seen as more innovative.
Brands and DEQ
Somewhere along the way, brands lost sight of the importance of empathetic connections with human beings. Paradoxically, this is happening right at the time when technology has an extraordinary ability to amplify and respond to emotions. Using the Internet of Things and smart product technologies – from mobile devices and sensors to real-time cloud applications – physical and digital interactions can now be merged into a unified set of connected brand experiences.
When it comes to applying digital emotion in retail and creating experiences that encourage people to buy more, some consumers are more susceptible than others. One academic study identified two different types of shoppers: "Utilitarian Shoppers," who are more concerned with convenience and transactions, and "Hedonic Shoppers," who prefer to shop for fun, enjoyment, stimulation, and sufficient gratification. Targeting consumers who buy with their heart more than their head (combined with the impossibility of competing head-on with the pure efficiency of e-commerce) are why retailers like Lululemon, Lush Cosmetics, and Nike create distinctive and memorable shopping experiences from yoga classes and in-store spas to full-size basketball courts. Research shows that these kind of hedonic shopping experiences, particularly ones that are digitally enhanced, are strong predictors of positive word-of-mouth and anticipation of a return visit to those retailers.
Brands can identify the most effective touchpoints to capture and generate contextual, real-time data throughout the customers' shopping journey and post-purchase – for example, IoT smart products, connected devices, digital interfaces, and sensors. They can use real-time decision making to interact with consumers in a more personalized, emotional way 'at the moment', and then apply machine learning algorithms to extract more valuable insights overtime to engage consumers better, increase conversions and sales, and drive loyalty.
There are three key ways brands can apply DEQ:
1) Accuracy. Through physical products, environments, and social relationships, brands can digitally process human emotion, design more effective physical-digital consumer journeys, and more effectively guide and influence consumer choices. Smart and digital products can augment our senses by delivering a new range of data inputs on what is being experienced in specific moments, thereby revealing and predicting emotional response. This allows content experiences to be far more targeted and relevant, and communication more personal and perfectly timed, which lets brands get closer to customers.
2) Anticipation. By using data, brands can understand the consumer's state of mind in a particular moment, anticipate expectations before they have been set, and respond in real-time. By combining emotional personality profiles with dynamic decision-making and content delivery, brands can digitally create empathy with consumers. As an example, an appliance could detect consumer frustration when the same button is pushed multiple times and trigger a customer service chat session. Or say apparel products allow consumers to unlock curated musical playlists by scanning them at point of sale and post-purchase – analyzing the real-time streaming playlist preferences would reveal information about how a person feels at that moment and allow retailers to test which product content or incentives work best.
3) Application. The more physical objects and environments become digitally connected, the more contexts brands can engage consumers in—and the more opportunities to convert points of emotional connection into sales. Smart products play a crucial role in multi-channel marketing. As omnichannel paths to purchase become more evolved and connected, the one constant that brand brands can truly control is the product. A smart product can adapt its role and service to the context of use and create a cohesive, individualized experience throughout the shopping journey.
Return on Emotional Investment
Brands that leverage DEQ have a powerful competitive advantage. Research shows that fulfilling emotional needs drives customer engagement, conversion, and loyalty. For instance, our work with smart products has revealed that consumers scanning smart products spend 23% longer on a brand's site. There is a more than 50% sales growth for retailers who base a customer experience strategy on emotional connection, and consumers interacting with smart products generate 39% more likes and shares.
Critically, smart products make personalization at scale a reality. In terms of Digital Emotion, a more digitally personalized experience is, by definition a more empathetic one; I get something more appropriate, relevant, and timely because the brand knows me. This results in more meaningful consumer attention, more effective brand recognition/recall, and a more substantial impact on consumer behaviors — leading to higher engagement and sales. With increased consumer demand for customized products and experiences, personalized engagement is a key brand differentiator in the market. Data from smart product interactions and connected devices and environments can help power this new personalization imperative, driving behavior, and influencing future purchases.
As traditional brands risk being overtaken by digitally native players, there's now a chance to regain competitive advantage by digitizing their physical assets to unlock new sources of data to improve their knowledge of — and relationship with — their customers. In today's increasingly competitive, always-on world, the brands that use digital technology to connect more emotionally, personally, and contextually with consumers will win.
DEQ in E-commerce
With millions of sites on the internet and each query generating many results in Google, it is becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to create an attractive and optimized website that can generate sales. It is also said that most e-commerce sites follow a specific format that is supported by the designers with similar styles and functionalities.
So, an e-commerce website has to work harder for conversions. Consumers are also living their experiences and opinions about the products and services and discovering these opinions and their effects on the other users can be a challenging task. To be successful in the business world, retailers should now tap into their audience's consciousness and look at the sentimental analysis to solve their challenges.
Sentiment analysis is the process that enables you to determine the emotional tone that represents the series of words and is used to gain an understanding of the opinions, attitudes, and also emotions expressed within an online mention.
This type of analysis helps retailers and brands to understand consumer feedback and user-generated content clearly. Not only does it help to understand the context of the emotion, but also analyze these opinions for specific aspects. More and more companies are using it to make sense of the feedback that is coming on their way.
Most people think that they act consciously while they go shopping, but studies have reflected that about 95% of purchasing decisions, whether online or offline are based on emotional impulses. Female customers spend more time browsing items, and they rarely have specific targets while buying them.
They are influenced emotionally, visually, and also have higher expectations. So, the golden rule of advertising is to catch their emotions in a way that is clear and concise. Online shoppers are likely to feel three times more excitement while adding various items in their baskets, and negative emotions also play a huge role in decision making. Ecommerce business owners must utilize emotional intelligence and alter their customer journey to offer a better shopping experience.
Thoughts, reviews, and experiences of others act as a key to emotional intelligence in the e-commerce business, and retailers must have this capability to make use of any positive content. Leaders with empathy often have a huge amount of followers, and they can easily establish trust among other people. Motivating leaders also help to make long term decisions and using them as a means of communication always proves to be beneficial.
Neuro-imagery scans show that when consumers evaluate brands, they use their emotions, based on personal feelings and experiences, rather than information about the brand, such as features and facts. This means that whether you're marketing a homepage, post-click landing page, or a squeeze page, etc.; connecting emotionally to the viewer is the most crucial factor.
Since consumers tend to choose brands based on emotions rather than logic, the more emotional intelligence a brand has, the better they will do with conversions and ROI. The Rio Olympics ads discussed previously touched an emotional nerve with consumers so much that consumers shared these videos at an extremely high rate, showing engagement, connection, and peak brand awareness. This incredibly high level of engagement is the Holy Grail in marketing and happens when emotions are involved.
As long as we have to work with other people and as long as we serve human customers, emotional intelligence in business will be an essential part of negotiating the complexities and dilemmas of those relationships for the best outcomes.
The revival of interest likely has many contributing factors, but the most obvious include:
Digital transformation: This seems counterintuitive at first glance. The rapid development and hyper-focus on AI and machine learning have also reminded of the importance of balancing it with human strengths such as empathy and emotional intelligence.
Leaders with higher EQ get better results: Happier employees are more productive and innovative. But different people are motivated differently, and emotionally intelligent leaders find out what works for each individual and adjust their approach accordingly instead of forcing a one-size-fits-all solution. Happier employees make happier customers make higher profits.
Workplace culture grows out of the tone set by EQ levels of executives. That willingness to listen to others and to adjust one's behavior and course of action radiates outward, emerging in the customer experience with your company.
Why is emotional intelligence in business so important?
With customer experience as the primary field of competition among brands, the ability to listen to and understand your customers – even as they are changing from moment to moment – the emotional intelligence of your leadership and your company enables you to meet and exceed customer expectations.
It requires fostering an emotionally intelligent workplace culture. Leadership demonstrating EQ and training employees to develop their self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and ability to build rapport and trust with everyone they encounter. The emotional intelligence of your company inevitably shows through in the customer experience.
The numbers continue to support the benefits of higher emotional intelligence in business. Boosts in productivity, employee engagement, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and, of course, profits have caught the attention of the business world.
Using DEQ to Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy
1. Drive Traffic to Your Website
Once you have understood the emotions that drive your customers, you need to work out how to get your brand in front of them at the right time. Semantic search can help.
Search engines understand identifying keywords alone is not enough. Instead, they need to know how the data is related.
Semantic search helps to improve your buyer's search accuracy by understanding their intent and the context that surrounds their search.
To ensure the search engines pick up your content during a search, you must build your customer's emotions into your content. While crafting the copy for your sales pages and content for your blog posts, consider this:
• What will make your visitor click further?
• What will make her share something?
• What will ultimately make her hit the buy button from you (or contact, or whatever your call to action might be)?
You also need to think about the form your content takes and how it can influence emotion. For example, visual content plays a tremendous role in conversions. As the expression goes, a picture speaks a thousand words.
2. Increase Conversions – Make Your Content More Relatable
You can use EQ to tap into your buyer's inner thoughts. By doing so, you're better equipped to increase conversions because you are adding value to the buyers' journey, rather than barging in, interrupting and then hijacking the conversation.
Think about how you can add value. Find a way to enhance and improve the lives of your customers with helpful content. Let them get to know you first by becoming an expert storyteller.
This also requires an equal dose of respect for your audience when engaging in retargeting. The frequency of your communications is essential. Too little connection and your audience might forget about you. Too much and you could become an annoyance. Be respectful and understand less is sometimes more.
Measuring the success of your campaigns shows you what content prompted the most significant emotional reaction. More than 30% of marketing executives use analytics to alter, extend or repeat a marketing campaign, according to a piece of research by Forbes Insights and Turn.
By experimenting with a mix of different 'emotional' content such as infographics, videos, imagery, and articles, you can gather data to help you become emotionally smarter when it comes to your buyers. Social media and Google Analytics can be used to identify which pieces of content were clicked or shared the most and provided the most conversions.
3. Use DEQ to Strengthen Your Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is all about nurturing prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to delighted customers. In case it's done well, marketing automation will generate significant revenue and boost your ROI.
So how does this fit in with Emotional Intelligence? With the help of EQ, you will be able to strengthen your marketing automation so that you no longer sound like a robot. You can tailor your content and messaging to speak to specific lead segments at the right time in the buyer's lifecycle stage. Creating a more personalized experience for them. In turn, this will help you close more deals, generate more revenue, and delight your customers.
How to measure the ROI of EQ
Study after study tells us that the most common reason people voluntarily leave a position is because of a bad boss or poor leadership – one recent study put that number at 57%. People don't like working for or with someone who doesn't treat them as an individual, takes credit for their work, micromanages them, or is dishonest. These are exactly the kinds of things that emotionally intelligent leaders don't do.
Instead, emotionally intelligent leaders tend to partner with direct reports in their career development. They actively foster opportunities for their staff to be innovative and grow personally and professionally. Emotionally intelligent leaders recognize the importance to uphold their interpersonal agreements through honest and open communication, as well as through demonstrating their best efforts to fulfill commitments and taking ownership of any failures along the way. These behaviors, in turn, create a tangible partnership between leaders and their team members and strengthens the connection between employees and their employers.
2. Discretionary effort
The difference in output/impact/creativity between those who do the minimum possible and those who work to their maximum potential is huge. We also know that the relationship with a person's leader is a significant predictor of whether this discretionary effort is forthcoming. People will work harder when their boss is someone skilled at authentically establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships, which, as established above, is a crucial trait of emotionally intelligent leaders.
There is a great deal of data that supports engagement as a construct that provides desirable outcomes for organizations. It's not by accident that effective leadership plays a role in almost every aspect of engagement measured by the world's most famous employee engagement survey, the Gallup Q12. These measures include things like whether the employee understands the connection of their work to organizational mission, whether he/she receives clear expectations from the leader, and if he/she receives recognition for their work, etc. These measures are all directly reflective of a leader's practice of emotional intelligence.
Digital Emotional Intelligence in the Post-COVID-19 Era
Emotional Intelligence is closely linked to leadership and is even more critical in uncertain and challenging times. The ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be mindful of others' feelings is what emotional intelligence is all about. At times when people might feel uncertain about their job and the future of their business, it is vital to connect with people on an emotional level. Individuals with strong EQ will be coveted by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
DEQ specifically will be necessary for companies that need to understand the newly formed desires and changed customer behaviour. Also, showing compassion, even as a company, is vital in a time when humanity just went through a pandemic.
HERO and Omni Channel Shopping
HERO's technology has powered global retailers to transform their shopping experience by making their brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce work smarter together.
One of the examples of brands using HERO is size?, a British footwear retailer. size? Experts is an exclusive partnership between Nike, size? and HERO. It enables online customers to connect with in-store staff for their personal shopping experience, offering real-time product information, stock availability, sizing guidance, and styling advice while they shop online at home or on the go.
In collaboration with size?, Nike has trained over 50 members of size? store staff across 14 locations to continue to provide a top-class service within size? stores. Customers shopping online at size.co.uk and sizeofficial.fr can connect with their local participating size? store by clicking the size? Experts icon located in the right-hand corner of users' screens on Nike products.
Through chat, size? experts allow a chance for the online customer to see the finer details on Nike products, such as materials and color — store staff will not only be able to message the customer, photo share and live stream products but can also allow the customer to book an appointment to meet their size? Expert in store for further guidance.