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.

Found in MarketingCharts 101818, 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.

Eight (8) in ten (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.