Lately, there has been great emphasis placed on customer experience, and customer journey mapping. Through insights gained, we in customer service are aware of the importance of utilizing soft skills to better enhance a customer's experience, as well as improving the level of service and support.
But what insights can we learn by understanding the emotions of customers? How can we better position ourselves as a brand by viewing the journey and experience through the lens of customer emotions? I had an opportunity to speak with Maria Pocovi, CEO of Emotion Research Lab, to learn more the company, her, and the importance of the emotional journey of customers.
Tell me about yourself? What are you passionate about? What keeps you awake at night?
I am from Valencia, Spain so I have a Mediterranean character. I love the sea, food and enjoy live. I am passionate about robotics. I believe in more human machines interacting with us according our emotions helping us. I believe social robots will be a part of our lives soon. What keeps me awake, well I sleep so good! I do my best during the day in the business side with the idea that to run my own company is like a marathon, so I try to keep my body ready for the next miles. And these days I am nervous about my upcoming wedding!
What is facial emotional recognition, and how does it work?
Facial emotion recognition is the ability for machines to understand human emotions. We develop algorithms to understand how people feel in real-time. To read emotions, we use a web cam to translate micro-expressions based on emotional analytics. We can detect if someone is happy, surprised, angry or sadness. In addition to these basic emotions, we also detect 97 secondary emotions and 8 moods.
The technology is now ready to work online. In stores, we can monitor groups of people at the same time.
How are businesses using facial recognitions?
Understanding customer behavior is one of the main uses right now, but the technology is now entering many different verticals. For example, the technology is now being used to help drivers travel more safely.
What industry is utilizing facial recognition and how are they using it?
Well brands from different verticals are using the technology to understand customer behavior, and also to interact in real-time. They are also focusing on who is looking at their product via Attention Index. e are providing ATTENTION INDEX, no one has any doubt today about customer attention is a critical point. This real-time attention provides insight into who is looking your product based on age, gender, and emotional reaction, as well as the frequency in which they are viewing your product.
How did Emotion Research Lab come to fruition?
Three years ago, I found Emotion Research Lab with Alicia Mora, an incredible woman with a great technical background. My background is in business and marketing. I have no idea how to write a line of code! Together, we created the perfect team, consisting of market vision and technical capabilities. Today, we have a team of 14 people with projects in Latin America, London and Spain. New partners from Malaysia and Dubai are also partnering with us.
What separates Emotion Research Lab from other competitors?
I believe we have a more global vision about a human technology interaction. In the last year, we questioned of six basic emotions are enough to fully understand consumers. Oh my, humans are so complex! We realized we needed more. We are different from our competitors because we are measuring those 6 basic emotions, along with 97 secondary emotions, 8 moods, age, gender, attention, and eye tracking.
Many studies have be done, which show a correlation between consumer spending and consumer behavior. What are some behaviors that contribute to consumer spending?
Point of sales attention, and a positive experience show correlation with the consumer spending. When we are working to increase the effectiveness of media content through ads or promotional material, emotions are key. Happiness means a customer is going to purchase your product. The secret is the emotional pattern, and what creates change in the emotional behavior. So we focus on moods. If someone is elated, calm, exuberant, relaxed, or anxious, we see a correlation.
How should businesses engage consumers emotionally?
Well the first step is to really understanding the emotional experience of their customers. Our technology can help to understand the more complex emotions that customers are feeling, which is impossible to explain in a traditional survey. So, I encourage everyone to test the emotional experience as the first step. Also, develop an your emotional strategy, and understand the emotion of your brand. Are your communications aligned with the feeling that you want create? You most likely know about the customer experience journey, but you must also know the customer emotional journey.
We must start to think about these things. However, take it further, and interact in real-time according the emotional experience of the customer.
Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to the readers?
We are living in a connected world, but the real connection is emotional.
Maria's career comes from national and multinational companies as director of marketing and communications departments. Follow Maria on LinkedIn and Twitter.