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3 Efficient Ways to Understand Your Customers’ Emotions and Decisions

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Written By Kyle David

Do you understand your customers? Do you know that your customers buying behavior is based on emotions?

We all have those days. We are overwhelmed. Work has 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 is 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 and automatic processes. Meanwhile, other decisions take more time and sometimes induce enough stress that they can ruin our day.

Why is emotion important in customer service?

In the realm of customer service, emotions play a pivotal role, wielding a profound influence on the overall customer experience.

When customers are treated with genuine value, respect, and understanding, their interactions with a company become gratifying, leading to higher satisfaction levels. But, if customers experience emotions like anger, frustration, or being ignored, dissatisfaction may ensue.

Why is emotion important in customer service?

The significance of emotions in customer service stems from various key factors:

  • Customers are emotional beings: Customers aren’t solely driven by logic; they are emotional beings who make decisions influenced by their feelings. When a company succeeds in evoking positive emotions, customers are more inclined to engage with that company repeatedly.
  • Emotions impact customer satisfaction: Extensive studies have highlighted the substantial impact of emotions on customer satisfaction. For instance, a study revealed that customers who felt angry were ten times more likely to express dissatisfaction with their customer service experience compared to those who felt happy.
  • Emotions influence customer loyalty: Positive emotional experiences forge a profound connection between the customer and the company, thereby fostering customer loyalty. When customers feel emotionally connected, they are more inclined to remain loyal patrons.

By understanding the importance of emotions in customer service, companies can shape a more positive and memorable customer experience. This, in turn, can drive heightened customer satisfaction, foster loyalty, and ultimately enhance overall profitability.

What are examples of customer emotions?

During a customer journey, various emotions come into play, ranging from positive to negative, each leaving a distinctive mark. Among the positive ones are:

  • Joy: which embodies sheer happiness and contentment, is triggered by receiving outstanding products or services, enjoying courteous customer service, or simply encountering a delightful brand.
  • Trust: the foundation of confidence in a brand or company, meticulously built through top-notch customer service, offerings of high-quality products, and utmost transparency in business practices.
  • Appreciation: a heartfelt sense of gratitude towards acts of kindness. It manifests in expressing thanks to customer service representatives, leaving glowing reviews for products or services, or happily sharing positive experiences with friends and family.

Conversely, there are those negative emotions that can sour the customer journey:

  • Anger: an intense surge of displeasure and hostility, may arise from poor treatment by customer service representatives, encountering issues with products or services, or facing general frustration with a brand.
  • Sadness: a feeling of sorrow and disappointment, may take hold when losing a beloved product or service, experiencing dissatisfaction with a purchase, or enduring a negative encounter with a brand.
  • Frustration: is the irritating annoyance that can emerge from prolonged waiting for customer service, struggling to find essential information, or facing difficulties in utilizing products or services.

To excel in the realm of customer experience, understanding this spectrum of emotions is paramount. By doing so, businesses can craft positive, unforgettable experiences while promptly addressing any emerging issues.

Apart from the emotions mentioned above, the array of customer sentiments extends far beyond. Each individual, situation, and brand will evoke unique emotions. By familiarizing yourself with the most common customer emotions, you can elevate the customer experience for all.

3 Efficient Ways to Understand Your Customers' Emotions and Decisions

3 Ways to Understand Customer Emotions and Decisions

Here are some efficient ways to understand your customer’s emotions and buying behavior:

1. Consistency and Trust

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

When we are having a bad day, when we are 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 are worried about our car, our job, or our kids, we don’t have to worry about whether or not Kleenex or Kellogg is going to get the job done.

When it comes to making a purchase, we are driven by consistency and trust. These brands, as 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.

2. 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 are 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.

3. 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 are 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 are 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.

What are the customer's emotional needs?

What are the customer’s emotional needs?

Customers possess a myriad of needs, comprising both rational and emotional facets.

Rational needs represent the specific desires or requirements customers seek from a product or service. Conversely, emotional needs encompass the array of sentiments customers desire to experience during their interactions.

Customer emotional needs encompass a broad spectrum of feelings they yearn to encounter while engaging with a brand or company. These needs can be of a positive or negative nature, contingent upon the unique customer and prevailing circumstances.

Among the common emotional needs are:

  • To feel understood: Customers crave acknowledgment and comprehension from the company or brand they interact with. Their concerns should be taken seriously, and prompt resolutions should be provided.
  • To feel respected: Customers demand respectful treatment from the company or brand they engage with. They desire to be valued as customers and yearn for genuine appreciation of their business.
  • To feel in control: Customers seek a sense of empowerment over their experience. They want to make informed choices without feeling coerced into uncomfortable situations.
  • To feel appreciated: Customers long for a genuine sense of appreciation from the company or brand they associate with. Knowing that their business is truly valued and acknowledged makes a significant impact.
  • To feel confident: Customers desire unwavering confidence in their decision to purchase from a particular company or brand. Assurances of making the right choice and avoiding disappointments are crucial.

By delving into the emotional needs of your customers, you can curate a profoundly positive and unforgettable experience for them. This will serve as the bedrock for fostering customer loyalty and driving sales growth.

How do you measure customer emotions?

Measuring customer emotions encompasses several effective methods that offer valuable insights into their sentiments. Here are some common approaches:

  • Surveys: Employing surveys is a popular technique to gauge customer emotions. By asking customers to rate their feelings on a scale or express emotions in their own words, you can gather valuable data.
  • Social media: Monitoring social media platforms allows you to track customer sentiment through tweets, Facebook posts, and other mentions.
  • Customer service chat transcripts: Analyzing chat transcripts can reveal emotional cues through keywords and phrases, indicating positive or negative reactions.
  • Customer feedback: Collecting feedback through surveys, social media interactions, or in-person interviews provides valuable firsthand insights into customer emotions.
  • Sentiment analysis: Utilizing natural language processing, sentiment analysis helps analyze emotional content in text data, be it social media, customer service transcripts, or other forms of text.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is a loyalty metric that measures customers’ likelihood to recommend your product or service on a scale of 0 to 10, indicating their emotional attachment to your brand.
  • Facial recognition: Employing facial recognition software can enable real-time identification of emotions by analyzing facial expressions during customer interactions, offering immediate feedback.

Choosing the best method for measuring customer emotions hinges on your specific objectives. For a comprehensive overview, surveys or NPS can suffice, while real-time monitoring benefits from facial recognition or sentiment analysis.

To ensure accuracy, employ a combination of methods and maintain consistency in your measurements. This approach will enable you to track changes in customer emotions over time and gain a deeper understanding of their evolving needs and sentiments.

How emotions affect buying behavior of customers

How emotions affect buying behavior of customers

Emotions wield tremendous influence over our buying behavior, with research indicating that they can account for a staggering ninety percent of our purchasing decisions.

Let’s explore some ways in which emotions impact our buying behavior:

  • Positive emotions and impulse buying: When we experience happiness, excitement, or satisfaction, we become more susceptible to impulse purchases. Positive emotions create a sense of openness to new experiences, prompting us to indulge in unplanned buying.
  • Negative emotions and compensatory buying: Stress, anxiety, or anger can trigger compensatory buying, a way of self-soothing to feel better. In such states, we seek solace in purchases as a means of coping with negative emotions.
  • Fear-based buying: Fear of missing out (FOMO) or being left behind can push us into making unnecessary purchases. The avoidance of negative emotions linked to missing out drives these fear-based buying decisions.
  • Influence of social proof: Observing others making purchases nudges us to follow suit. Social proof prompts us to conform to social norms and align our buying behavior with that of others.
  • Emotions evoked by branding: Strategic branding can evoke specific emotions in consumers, impacting their buying decisions. Brands associated with luxury or status, for instance, may evoke feelings of envy or aspiration, prompting consumers to purchase their products.

Understanding how emotions impact buying behavior empowers marketers to craft more effective campaigns and aid consumers in making informed and rational purchasing choices.

Here are some tips to leverage emotions in influencing buying behavior:

  • Elicit positive emotions: Infuse your marketing with humor, music, or visuals that evoke feelings of happiness, excitement, or satisfaction to connect with your target audience.
  • Avoid negative emotions: Steer clear of using negative emotions in marketing campaigns, as they can have adverse effects on buying behavior.
  • Utilize social proof: Highlighting that others are buying your product or service creates a powerful influence on potential customers.
  • Establish an emotional connection with your brand: Craft a brand image that triggers specific emotions in your target audience, fostering a deeper connection that leads to increased sales.

By applying these tactics, you can effectively harness emotions to shape buying behavior, thereby boosting your sales and enhancing customer engagement.


Understanding customer emotions and buying behavior is crucial for businesses. Emotions play a significant role in purchasing decisions, and brands that evoke trust and consistency appeal to customers.

By identifying emotional motivators such as uniqueness, belonging, or security, businesses can influence customer behavior.

Technology can also simplify choices, reducing emotional noise and enhancing customer loyalty. Overall, by comprehending and addressing customer emotions, businesses can build trust and loyalty, leading to successful outcomes.

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