In 2014, Forrester analyzed CX Index data to see which of the three dimensions of CX quality matters most to customer loyalty – effectiveness, ease, or emotion. We found that emotion, how an experience makes the customer feel, has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than either of the other two factors. Repeating that analysis with data from the first wave of our 2015 CX Index only strengthened that conclusion. Emotion was the #1 factor in customer loyalty across 17 of the 18 industries that we studied this time around.

Unfortunately, few CX programs pay as much attention to emotional experience as they do to functional experience. That’s partly because few people understand emotions very well. Conventional wisdom says that emotions are too unpredictable to manage. We disagree. True, we can’t control customer emotions (nor should we). But we can understand and influence them in a way that makes everyone happy.

How, exactly, do you do that? Forrester hadn’t explored that question in much depth in the past, but that’s changed. Just last week I published the first of a series of reports on the role of emotion in CX and what it means for CX professionals across the globe.

This first installment debunks some myths about emotion and explains what CX professionals need to do to factor emotion into the larger CX management practice. For example, when we reviewed the latest academic and scientific literature we found that emotional response isn’t as illogical as it seems; it just follows a different set of rules than rational thought. The report outlines the four rules of emotion that every CX practitioner needs to know and summarizes best practices for working within those rules based on the real-world successes of 19 emotionally savvy firms. We even explore the latest in emotion detection tools. It turns out that technology, which one interviewee said has “cut the soul out of customer interactions,” can help solve some of the very problems that it creates.

This topic is a personal passion of mine, so I’m excited to get a conversation going in the broader CX community. Also, listen to the episode of  CXCast (our CX podcast) where I discuss this research with my colleagues Sam Stern and Deanna Laufer.

And stay tuned…we’re diving deeper into topics like measuring emotion, designing for emotion, and ways to include emotion in customer research.