Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design

As I’ve discussed many times on this blog, customers experience interactions across three dimensions, Success, Effort, and Emotion. So how effective are companies at proactively designing for those elements? Not very.

In our latest CX management study, we surveyed 252 companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues and asked them about their experience design effectiveness. As you can see in the graphic below:

  • Only about one in 10 companies is very good at proactively designing for any aspect of customer experience.
  • More companies are good at designing for success (completion on interactions) than effort or emotion, but less than half of companies consider themselves good in this area.
  • Emotion is the weakest link, as only about one-third of companies think they are good at proactive emotional design.


If companies don’t improve their experience design skills, then their customer experience will never be better than inconsistent. And the biggest problem is emotion, which happens to drive the most loyalty.

If you want to fix this problem, we’ve got some help. Keep an eye on this blog for a new Temkin Group report on emotional experience design, which we’ll be publishing in a couple of weeks.

The bottom line: Join the Intensity Emotion Movement!

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

3 thoughts on “Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design”

  1. As a qual researcher, the obvious question to ask when faced with this survey feedback from organisations is “Why?” Why is designing for positive emotion so much harder than functional or ease-of-use?
    My hypothesis (based on 15 yrs of qual research into CX) is that it’s much more subjective and hard to measure. Functional experience has things like conversion rates, basket drop-outs, etc. whilst ease-of-use has proxies like time taken, no. of clicks as simple metrics to support UX design simplicity.
    in contrast, emotional measures are harder – one person’s “quirky” is another person’s “frustrating”! I can love that ‘eccentric’ experience for its old-fashioned charm when I have time on my hands, and yet another day, the warmth gets washed away when I’m in a hurry, and leaves me feeling tetchy at their inflexibility.

    Emotion relies on context, and so the safest way to handle it is to empower your employees to have the freedom to respond within a brand framework but in empathy with customer situation (think Nordstrom here). That’s a brave place for an organisation to be, which is why few companies feel confident about achieving it.

    So that’s my hypothesis! Who’s up for disproving it ?! 🙂

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