Emotions are greater drivers of brand loyalty than rational factors such as price competitiveness or brand values including social responsibility, according to consumer research from Capgemini. A new report from Invoca and Adobe reveals what a high emotional quotient means to consumers.
Invoca surveyed 1,000 US consumers, finding that when making a typical purchase of less than $100, just 9% feel that the ability to understand their emotions is the most important attribute a salesperson can display. But when they were asked about making stressful or complicated purchases, 25% said that emotional quotient (EQ) is most important.
Consumers attribute a range of characteristics to high EQ interactions. However the most important are:
- Problem-solving (90% identifying as important or very important);
- Support (89%);
- Efficiency (88%); and
- Adaptability (87%).
These generally reflect what consumers to be the most important aspects of a great customer experience, which revolve around speed, convenience and efficiency.
Humans Still Preferred
Seven in 10 respondents believe that brands will mostly rely on artificial intelligence (AI) for communications 5 years from now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re excited about it.
8 in 10 respondents feel that human representatives in person offer the best emotional quotient, with human representatives on the phone (49%) perceived as offering the next-best interactions. Far fewer feel that voice assistants (24%) and chatbots (22%) can offer a solid emotional quotient, indicating that human interaction is still crucial.
In fact, recent research has found that in the US, almost 2 in 3 consumers (64%) feel that companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience, and 71% would prefer to interact with a human than with a chatbot or other automated process.
Returning to the Invoca study, fewer than one-third of respondents under the age of 35 believe that it’s probable that voice AI can offer them a sense of EQ, and only half as many respondents ages 55 and older share that belief.
Moreover, majorities of both men (65%) and women (56%) feel that AI will make experiences less personal.
Finally, while most respondents feel that companies across industries meet their emotional needs most or all of the time in-person or on the phone, only around 35-40% feel that way about email and fewer than one-third about chat.
More results and takeaways can be found in the report, which is available for download here.