How Emotion-Driven Innovation Increases Customer Loyalty

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from my online course, inspired by my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? Click here to learn more about the course and enroll. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.

Ah, the hospital gown. Is there any other piece of clothing that renders us so vulnerable? The minute we slip it on, we feel less like ourselves. Even at a simple doctor’s visit, that gown makes us feel cold and uneasy.

Often, what sets apart the companies that we love is that they obsess over how customers feel in certain situations. They work at understanding the emotions that are native to certain customer experiences, such as wearing that gown at a hospital or doctor visit. Then they use that understanding to redesign experiences to deliver an outcome that flips the negative emotion to a positive one.

For example, in the case of that gown, they turn patient vulnerability into comfort and they redesign that gown. Emotional understanding of customer experiences is often what leads these companies to their most innovative practices. It sets them apart as people.

So, practice emotion-driven innovation. Make-Mom-Proud companies strive for innovations starting with the emotions customers are having. Their own natural desire for connection drives them to develop products and services that support the human condition. They think about their customers’ emotions first.

2 Best-in-Class Brands That Design with Emotions in Mind

For example, restaurateur, Danny Meyer, knows that tipping stirs up emotions—some bad, some good—among both restaurant patrons and restaurant team members. So he eliminated tips so people and teams can focus on the food and the service. Similarly, Zappos Adaptive was designed around the emotions of their consumers with physical disabilities. Through this initiative, Zappos fulfills its mission of creating products that causes feelings of self-sufficiency and pride for their customers.

Earn Customer Advocates Who Are 3X as Likely to Recommend

Not surprisingly, these practices are yielding results. Both the Disney Institute and Gallup Research tell us that companies who practice this kind of emotion-driven innovation earn customer advocates three times more likely to recommend. They are also immune from the competition. And with all of this comes greater sales growth: up to 85% higher than competitors who have not engaged emotionally with customers.

This is our opportunity to understand the emotions that come along with customer’s journeys with us. Once we understand our customers and how they feel, we can devote our energy to designing out fear, frustration, worry, and concern, and creating moments of joy.

Ask yourself: Is there anything you’d redesign in your company for your mom, for your customers? Do you know the emotions that customers have before, during, and after they work with you? Do you stew over these emotions and then redesign experiences so that the stories they tell about you include the positive emotions that you deliver to them?

Implement emotion-driven innovation! Ask yourself: Do you know the emotions that customers have before, during, and after they work with you? Share on X


How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?

In her latest book, customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”

Learn more

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