More Than a Feeling: New Research Confirms the Impact of Emotion on Specific Customer Service Outcomes

PRESS RELEASE: Organizations looking for a way to better understand the relationship between their customers’ emotions and their business results will find a concrete starting point for their efforts — as well as a few surprises — in a new research report published today by Mattersight Corporation’s Personality Labs.

Contact Centre CLUB

In “How Emotion Influences Conversation Outcomes,” customer experience research and consulting firm Temkin Group partnered with Personality Labs to analyze a data set of 118,116 de-identified contact center conversations culled from 11 enterprises, in order to ascertain the impact of joy, anger, fear and sadness on specific loyalty metrics.

The results of this analysis identified a direct connection between the way a customer feels during a contact center conversation and several of the outcomes by which that conversation’s success is measured, including call time, call transfers and Net Promoter Score® (NPS.)

Key findings include:

Anger and Sadness are NPS killers. These two emotions — unfortunately all too prevalent on service calls — result in the lowest NPS: 19% and 18% lower than the company average, respectively.
Fear is expensive. Calls on which people express fear last longer and drive costs up.

Anger doesn’t have to be fatal. In addition to driving the lowest NPS, angry calls are also 40% longer and 2x as likely to be transferred.

However, customers who start out angry on a call often express joy near the end of the conversation, suggesting that training agents to recognize and respond to anger early can “rescue” calls from a poor outcome.

These and other findings uncovered in the research present an opportunity for organizations to gain unprecedented insight into customer behavior and contact center performance metrics, and can help guide and shape more effective, emotion-based customer experience design.

“We named 2016 the ‘Year of Emotion,'” said Bruce Temkin, Managing Partner of Temkin Group, “because despite being one of the largest drivers of both customer loyalty and brand promotion, emotions are almost entirely ignored by companies. To remedy this oversight, we’ve dedicated a significant portion of our research to help organizations understand and tap into the power of emotions. It’s great to see Mattersight Personality Labs open up its rich data to help us shine a light on this critical area.”

The report is the first to be published by Personality Labs, a non-commercial platform within Mattersight established to advance the study, understanding and application of personality analytics, an emerging field of data science grounded at the intersection of advanced analytics, behavioral analytics and personality modeling. Real-world applications of personality analytics include predicting outcomes, modeling simulations, optimizing systems and improving relationships.

“In a decade-long analysis of over 1 billion consumer conversations, our data science team has amassed an incredible quantity and depth of unique insight into human behavior and interpersonal relationships, and pioneered a groundbreaking analytical process not replicated anywhere else,” said Mattersight VP Marcel Korst, director of Personality Labs. “Personality Labs is a forum that allows us to share the output of this insight and capability with the wider world of researchers and scholars. We’re thrilled to launch this new endeavor with research as solid and relevant as what Temkin Group has produced, and we look forward to seeing how a deeper, more scientific understanding of personality impacts ever-greater numbers of individuals and organizations.”

The full report, “How Emotion Influences Conversation Outcomes,” is now available to read or download at