How to Understand Your Customers’ Emotions and Their Decisions

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We all have those days.

We’re overwhelmed. Work’s been stressful. Should we answer that email, or let it go until tomorrow?

The car’s making that noise again. Can it survive for a few more weeks before we have time to take it to the shop?

But then there’s that family vacation coming up. Can the mechanic squeeze us in before then?

What about dinner? Lucy has her soccer game at seven. Is there time to cook the family dinner between now and then? Or should we swing by the fast food place down the street for those value burgers?

We make thousands of decisions every day. Some of those decisions are so simple, so ingrained in our behavior, we barely notice them. Should I stop for that stop sign? Of course, I should!

These are unconscious decisions, automatic processes.

Meanwhile, other decisions take more time and sometimes induce enough stress that they can ruin our day.

Consistency & Trust

You may not realize it, but ninety percent of our purchasing decisions are unconscious decisions. They’re driven by our emotions.

When we’re having a bad day, when we’re making thousands of other decisions, a purchase is the last thing we want to think about. We turn to luxury brands with recognizable names. They reduce our emotional noise.

While we’re worried about our car, our job, or our kids, we don’t have to worry about whether or not Kleenex or Kellogs is going to get the job done.

When it comes to making a purchase, we’re driven by consistency and trust. These brands, like they have been for centuries, will always be there. While the rest of our lives are in flux, our purchases don’t have to be.

With so many products or services finding their way through the emotional noise, how does your business stand a chance?

How can you compete against the Kellogs and Kleenexes of the world?

How can you change the way customers make a purchase if their decision is unconscious to begin with?

By understanding your customers and the emotions that drive them.

Emotional Motivators

We’re all motivated by something and the decisions we make reflect that. Your business can tap into a customer’s emotions and influence their behavior.

Harvard Business Review outlined several high-impact motivators in the paper “The New Science of Customer Emotions.” You probably see one or two or even three of these motivators in yourself.

Some of them include:

  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Having confidence in the future
  • Feeling a sense of freedom
  • Feeling a sense of belonging
  • Feeling secure
  • Feeling successful

Think about why you may have purchased those name-brand shoes. Was it to feel successful? Was it to feel a sense of belonging? Why did you get that new haircut? To feel free? Unique?

If your brand can tap into what your customers most desire, you’ll silence their emotional noise. You’ll help them feel better. “This brand gets it,” they’ll think. “They listen.”

Despite them having to make a thousand other decisions, despite them having to worry about what to cook for dinner or what to say to their boss in that meeting tomorrow, you’ll make them feel unique or free or safe.

They’ll grab your product off the shelf or walk into your store without a second thought.

The thing about unconscious decisions is that customers might not even know why they’re making that purchase. They’ll just know how doing so made them feel and they’ll come to associate that feeling, that emotion, with you.

Technology Can Help

Technology is a great way to help break through a customer’s emotional noise.

Think of on-demand services or user-friendly apps where the multitude of options is all but eliminated for customers.

Think of Uber or Lyft. All the customer has to do is type in where they’re going. Then, a car is on its way. There aren’t any taxis to choose from or Subway maps to puzzle over.

Think of the Disneyland MyMagic+ app, which allows parents to make reservations, skip lines, and check into their hotels. The hassle is eliminated, the options are simplified, and all that emotional noise…silenced.

With the right technology, you can give your customers one less thing to think about.

Brainstorm ways your business can utilize on-demand services, real-time discounts, or even digital loyalty programs. What can you do to take one more thing off your customers’ plates?

What can you do to show them you’re listening? How will you make them trust you?

Gain their trust by silencing the emotional noise around them, and their loyalty to you and your brand will speak for itself, loud and clear.

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