The Demographics of Happiness

1611_demographicsofhappinessTomorrow I will join millions of Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving. Many of us will spend the day with our families devouring turkey, stuffing, and other savory dishes while watching football games. It’s also a great time to actually give thanks.

I have a lot to appreciate; a wonderful family, a great group of friends, a thriving business, an amazing Temkin Group team, and the world’s best clients. As we know from the positive psychology movement, the act of appreciation creates happiness—and all of that makes me very happy.

Given the holiday, I decided to dig into Temkin Group’s Q3 2016 Consumer Benchmark Study and see who’s happy. I analyzed which of the 10,000 U.S. consumers in our study agree with the statement “I am typically happy.”

This first chart shows data from the 27 states where we had at least 100 respondents. As you can see, happiness ranges from a high of 83% in Oregon down to a low of 67% in Wisconsin and Indiana.
1611_hapinessbystate

The next set of charts show the level of happiness across different demographic segments:

  • Genderations: The happiest females are 75 and older, while 65- to 74-year-old males are the happiest (85% say that they are typically happy). 18- to 24-year-olds are the least happy, followed closely by 45- to 54-year-olds. Between the ages of 18 and 44, males are happier than females. Females are happier between 45- and 74-years-old.
  • Education: As the level of education increases, so does happiness. Eighty-five percent of those with an advanced degree are happy, compared with only 60% of those who did not graduate high school.
  • Ethnicity: There’s little variation in happiness across ethnic groups. Caucasians are the happiest (73%), but only three points above African Americans (73%).
  • Income: Only 60% of consumers making less than $25,000 per year are happy. Happiness rises with income until consumers’ household income hits about $100,000, after which happiness plateaus around 86%.
  • Family: Married people are happier. Eighty-four percent of those who are married with young children are happy, followed by married people with older children and with no children at all. The least happy people are those who are not married and do not have kids; only 66% are happy.

Read more of this post

Three Steps For Happiness to Fuel Organizational Empathy

Over the last couple of months, I’ve delivered several keynote speeches. In many of them, I’ve discussed organizational empathy (often as an element within People-Centric Experience Design). One of my key messages is that happiness creates empathy.

EmpathyHappyAs shown in the blog post Happy People Are More Productive Employees, happy people are more empathetic. So how do you take advantage of this information?

Here are my three simple steps:

  1. Be Happy. If you’re not happy, then you won’t have much capacity to think about other people, employees or customers. So how do I recommend being happy? By being grateful. A growing body of research shows that the act of being grateful actually makes people happy. So take some time every day to focus on the things that you are grateful for.
  2. Hire Happy People. Your organization probably screens employee candidates for professional experience, skills, and maybe even cultural fit. But those only tell a portion of the story about successful employees. If you want to build organizational empathy, screen candidates to make sure they are typically happy. Another way to say this is: Don’t hire unhappy people.
  3. Keep Employees Happy. HR processes focus a lot on hiring, firing, reviewing, and adjusting employees’ titles and compensation. But these are not the key drivers of employee happiness. What does motivate employees? Four intrinsic rewards: The sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. Make sure that you focus on providing those things to your employees.

The bottom line: Happiness drives empathy.

Examining the Happiness of Mothers on their Day

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers that read my blog. Given the day, I decided to examine our consumer research to find out if mothers are, in fact, happy. My previous analysis already shows that females are happier than males. But what about if they are mothers or not? I examined happiness levels of more than 5,000 U.S. females based on their family situation.

As you can see in the chart below, married moms are by far the happiest females.

MothersHappinessThe bottom line: Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Examining the Demographics of Happiness

I read an interesting article this week by Adam Davidson in the New York Times called Money Changes Everything. It’s one of the growing number of articles raising the discussion about happiness. I’ve blogged a bit about happiness and decided to dive into our latest dataset of responses from 10,000 U.S. consumers and examine the demographics of happiness. Here’s what that analysis uncovered:

  • 74.4% of U.S. consumers agree that they are typically happy
  • Females are happier than males
  • African-Americans are the most happy and Caucasians are the least
  • People who live in the South are the most happy and those who live in the Northeast are the least
  • Happiness increases with annual income, up to about $100,000. Additionally, consumers who make less than $25,000 are considerably less happy than other consumers.
  • Consumers older than 65 are the most happy and those between 45 and 54 are the least

HappinessDemographicsThe bottom line: What can we do to raise all of these numbers?

Happiness Is Key Ingredient To Productivity

I want to leave you with a happy thought for the weekend. As you can see in the chart below, happy people tend to be more productive in work.

My take: First of all, it’s important to have happy employees. So make sure that you are screening out unhappy people during the recruiting and hiring process. Also, design your company environment and operations to encourage employees to be happy. It might make sense for the executive team to discuss employee happiness on a regular basis.

Psychologist Shawn Achor, in his TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work, describes that happiness is what leads to success at work, although we often think about it working in the other direction. So it might make sense to follow his advice for creating your own personal happiness:

  • For 21 days, write down thee things you are grateful for
  • Journaling one positive experience per day
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random acts of kindness, write one positive email praising or thanking somebody in their social support network.

The bottom line: I hope that you have a happy weekend, you deserve it!

Infusing Humanity Into CX, Discussion With Barry Schwartz

It’s CX Day in New Zealand, so that’s reason enough to kick off Temkin Group’s CX Day celebration. I can’t think of a better way to start CX Day in The Year of Emotion, then to share my Q&A with Barry Schwartz.

During this one hour video focused on Infusing Humanity into CX, we discuss some of Barry’s key findings about people and happiness, and explore what it means for customers, employees, and leaders. Sit back and enjoy the discussion, and then follow the links below for more information.

In case you don’t know Barry (and you should!), he’s the Emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, and has spent forty years thinking and writing about the interaction between economics and morality. 

This Q&A was a real pleasure for me, because Barry has heavily influenced my thinking over the years. He’s one of the key thought leaders of our time, and I believe that all CX professionals (and all leaders) can learn from him.

Here’s some of Barry’s work that we discuss:

Here’s some of our research that we discuss:

The bottom line: Thank you Barry Schwartz!

Intensify Emotion Provider Showcase

IntenisfyEmotion2Our research shows that emotion has a significant impact on customer loyalty, yet is almost entirely ignored. To help companies recognize and tap into the power of customer emotion, we started the “Intensify Emotion” campaign.

As part of this campaign, we’ve created the Intensify Emotion Provider Showcase as an opportunity to highlight some of the vendors who are helping their clients discuss, measure, enhance, and design for emotion. Vendors submitted nomination forms to Temkin Group describing the ways in which they help clients emotionally connect with customers.

Given the complicated nature of human emotions, there is no single path companies must follow to engage customer emotions; rather there are any number of possible strategies and methods companies can adopt. To help companies learn about some of the concrete ways they can improve emotions, we wanted to highlight a sample of cutting-edge vendors who are using proven, scalable strategies to Intensify Emotion across organizations. For example, some vendors use facial or voice recognition technologies to identify customer emotions, some create feedback mechanisms that specifically measure emotions, some design for sensory cues that trigger emotions, and others focus on amplifying customer emotion throughout the company.

CONGRATULATIONS to the companies that were selected into the showcase based on the innovativeness of their use cases and the scalability of their products for a large organization (the remainder of this post was directly contributed by the vendors):

  • audEERING GmbH (www.audeering.com): audEERING develops intelligent audio analysis algorithms and provides consulting services to help you integrate next-generation audio analysis technology into your products and your workflow. audEERING’s main area of expertise is automatic emotion recognition from speech signals. Its technology is based on decades of solid, published scientific evidence and uses audEERING’s popular open-source speech and emotion analysis framework openSMILE as core. Here’s the company’s use case:
    • Callyser – Automatic Emotion Recognition from Speech
  • BigEars Ltd (www.bigears.com): BigEars are award-winning world leaders in interactive voice feedback surveys. Founded in 2004, BigEars helps businesses become more profitable by connecting them to their customers in a way not previously possible. Our unique feedback application, Customer Radio, brings feedback to life by making the voice of the customer easy to capture, listen to and share. With BigEars every number has a human experience behind it, giving you answers to questions you never knew to ask.Here are the company’s use cases:
    • Cabot Financial
    • Wellington City Council
  • Cogito (www.cogitocorp.com): Cogito Corporation develops and delivers behavioral analytics software that provides sales, service and care management professionals with the real-time emotional intelligence needed to improve sales results, deliver amazing customer experiences and enhance quality of care. By applying validated behavioral science through artificial intelligence and machine learning, Cogito helps the world’s most successful enterprises enhance employee productivity and better care for their customers. Backed by Romulus Capital and Salesforce.com, Cogito is headquartered in Boston, MA. Here are the company’s use cases:
    • Building Emotional Connections On Every Member Phone Conversation 
    • Delivering Better Care Through Real-time Emotional Intelligence
    • Artificial Intelligence Enhances Negotiation Skills
  • Confirmit (www.confirmit.com): Confirmit enables organizations to develop and implement Voice of the Customer, Employee Engagement and Market Research programs that deliver insight and drive business change. Confirmit’s clients create multi-channel, multi-lingual feedback and research programs that engage customers, empower employees, and deliver a compelling respondent experience. Confirmit’s solutions are the most secure, reliable and scalable in the world, and provide technology and expertise that deliver high Return on Investment to leading companies across a range of industries. Here are the company’s use cases:
    • Giving the Customer a Seat in the Boardroom 
    • Sony Mobile Corporation: Emotion in Social Media
    • Uncovering Emotion in B2B Sales and Support
  • CrowdEmotion (www.crowdemotion.co.uk): CrowdEmotion is a cloud-based emotion intelligence company that measures emotion in a way that is scalable, insightful and cost-effective. We are a dedicated team on a mission to collect and curate the world’s emotions to further human understanding. To do so, we provide a cloud-based platform where academics and industry can extract emotions from consumer devices to infuse them into the business in a relevant way. Here are the company’s use cases:
    • The Science of Engagement 
    • BBC Worldwide: Tackling the Elephant
  • Fiveworx (www.fiveworx.com): Fiveworx is a customer engagement software platform that was purpose-built for the energy sector. Our custom-built email marketing and marketing automation software uses persona-based messaging and journeys (derived from proprietary polling of 80,000 Americans on their opinions, behaviors and attitudes around energy and environment) to tap into energy customers’ deeper emotional drivers and engage and motivate them to act, increasing customer participation in utility programs, products and services; improving customer satisfaction, and delivering energy savings. Here’s the company’s use case:
    • Alliant Energy in Wisconsin takes utility customer engagement to a new level
  • Man Made Music (www.manmademusic.com): Man Made Music is a strategic music and sound studio. We score entertainment and brand experiences by creating unique sonic identity systems that can be woven through brand touchpoints – communications, devices, customer support and immersive environments. Because people have instinctive and visceral emotional reactions to music and sound, our work helps brands efficiently and effectively convey meaning and strengthen emotional connections with their audiences, by providing more familiar and desirable brand experiences. Here are the company’s use cases:
    • Using Sonic Identity to Better Connect Across Touchpoints
    • Using Sonic Identity to Galvanize People Around an Organization’s Mission
    • Using Sonic Identity to Ignite Emotion in Immersive Environments: IMAX
  • Mattersight (mattersight.com): Mattersight’s mission is to help brands have better conversations with their customers. Using a suite of innovative personality-based software applications, Mattersight can analyze and predict customer behavior based on the language exchanged during service and sales interactions. This insight can then facilitate real-time connections between customers and the agents best capable of handling their needs. Fortune 500 enterprises rely on Mattersight to drive customer retention, employee engagement and operating efficiency. Here are the company’s use cases:
    • Predicting NPS outcomes for 100% of conversations through measuring emotions
    • Fortune 20 healthcare leader slashes costs in call-center through better emotional connections

Details of Intensify Emotion Providers

Here are the detailed submissions from the vendors (we did not edit these): Read more of this post

Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Drops in 2016

Temkin Group has been doing large-scale consumer research for several years. As part of our ongoing studies, we track many consumer attitudes. To gauge the overall quality of life for the U.S. population, we created the Temkin Well-Being Index (TWBi) based on a few of those attitudinal elements.

The TWBi is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January. The overall index is an average of three measurements representing the percentage of U.S. adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  • I am healthy
  • I am financially secure

While we began publishing the TWBi in 2014, we’ve been tracking it since 2012.  As you can see in the figure below:

  • After the TWBi increased in 2013 and 2014 two years, it fell for the second straight year. The drop this year, 1.9 points, is the largest change we’ve seen.
  • All three areas of the TWBi dropped since last year. While there was a small drop in financial security (-0.4 points), happiness dropped 2 points, and healthiness dropped 3.3 points. The drop in healthiness is the largest change we’ve seen in any area.
  • When comparing 2016 to 2012, we find that U.S. consumers are slightly less happy, a little healthier, and much more financially secure.

We’ll be examining 2016 TWI by age and gender in an upcoming post.

1602_2016TemkinWellBeingIndex

The bottom line: U.S. consumers are a lot less healthy this year

Want to Improve Well-Being? Sleep for 7 to 8 Hours

One of the themes from the positive psychology movement is the importance of sleep. Research has shown that happiness is very reliant on people getting enough sleep. Check out Ariana Huffington’s excellent Ted Talk where she identifies sleep as a critical ingredient to success.

We decided to test that theory in our most recent study of 10,000 U.S. consumers. We examined the degree to which consumers agree with a series of statements about their well-being, and then compared responses from people based on the typical amount of sleep they get. As you can see below, people who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night are the most well off. 

1508_WellBeingBySleep2

People who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night are the most likely to feel as if they are:

  • Happy
  • Loved and appreciated
  • Healthy
  • Financially secure
  • Physically fit

The bottom line: There’s almost nothing more precious than 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Positive Psychology Infuses Customer Experience

In case you missed it, here’s a recording of a recent Temkin Group webinar, Positive Psychology (PP) Infuses Customer Experience (CX). It shows how principles of PP can be used to enhance an organization’s efforts to improve CX.

We’ve been using some of the underlying principles of PP within our work for years, but never labelled it that way. Going forward, we plan to tap more into the growing body of research in the space, and also hope to provide a leading voice in areas such as organizational culture and experience design.

If you like this topic, here are some posts that you may find interesting:

The bottom line: Positive psychology + customer experience = a world of positive experiences.

Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience


See webinar with Bruce Temkin and Aimee Lucas:
Infusing Customer Experience With Positive Psychology


1506_PPplusCX

Last week, the Temkin Group leadership team attended the World Congress on Positive Psychology in Orlando. Kudos to the International Positive Psychology Association for putting on such a great event. It was inspirational for us, as it confirmed what we fundamentally believed; positive psychology can be an incredibly valuable tool within the world of customer experience.

What is Positive Psychology?

Before we go any further, I want to make sure everyone understands what positive psychology is all about. Here’s the definition from the Positive Psychology Center:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

It’s a new branch of psychology where the emphasis is not on fixing psychological ailments, but on helping people “flourish.” You may want to read the book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman, who many consider the godfather of the positive psychology movement.

Highlights from the World Congress

Seligman was one of the keynote speakers at the event, which included the who’s-who list for positive psychology. Here’s a small dose of highlights from the keynote speakers:

  • Martin Seligman, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. The latest research is showing that helplessness is a natural reaction in the brain and rather than trying to unlearn it, it is possible to create a “hope circuit” in the brain by building an expectation of control or mastery of the situation. In the World Well-Being Project, positive psychologists are now monitoring world wellbeing by creating word clouds based on millions of social media from around the world. What emerges is a clear picture that positive and negative emotions each have their own lexicon. The question this research raises: if we can change the words people use, can we change their life satisfaction?
  • Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.: When it comes to understanding and helping people through change, rather than studying a “sample of the average,” study the “growing tip” where individuals or organizations are performing at their best. This shift to focusing on peak performance can help to “democratize excellence” and push through what Goleman has referred to has the “honeymoon effect,” where after some initial success the change is not sustained over the long term.
  • David Cooperrider, Ph.D., Case Western University: Flourishing enterprises support the development and engagement of their people and have a culture and identity based on sustainable values. As he put it, “human beings are not a resource that gets used up, but are a source that can intensify and increase in value and contributions.” These sorts of organizations can be agents of world benefit, and Cooperrider put the spotlight on efforts like Google’s Balloon Project, that brings Internet connectivity to extremely rural areas lacking infrastructure through the use of large balloons. To discover and design positive institutions, we have to view organizations as solutions and use techniques like appreciative intelligence to bring out the best in the system (and the people within the system) in order to drive change at the scale of the whole.
  • Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., New York University: Haidt put forth that capitalism is the most transformative force since the domestication of fire. And in order to “increase the total tonnage of happiness around the world,” capitalism can be a means to create the right kind of happiness. Rising prosperity brings rising security in society, which lets the attention shift away from simply surviving. With that shift comes a change in values away from the traditional, a push for greater freedom, investments in education (especially for women), and additional powerful benefits for society.
  • Tom Rath, Gallup Consulting: To have the energy they need for sustainable performance, people require three things: meaningful work, quality interactions, and energy. Meaningful work aligns our interests and natural talents with the needs of others. Quality interactions are those relationships with people we enjoy being around, which can have a profound impact on individual health and wellbeing. Energy comes from recognizing that how we eat, move, and sleep work in parallel. Across all three elements, small wins can generate meaningful outcomes when it comes to individual wellbeing.
  • Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Institute of Heartmath: Of the four energy domains—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—the emotional domain is the primary driver of physiology and is the biggest way to lose or gain energy as a result. Researchers have identified a nerve center within the heart that sends signals to the brain to help regulate emotion. It is possible to apply some specific techniques to control variable heart rate and self-regulate emotion in order to build capacity for resilience and sustain energy over time.
  • Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., University of North Carolina: The center of this presentation was the Upward Spiral Theory of Lifestyle Change, still a work in process in the research world. Early findings show that the more you enjoy a wellness behavior you undertake (swimming, meditation, etc.), the more you will have spontaneous positive thoughts about that activity resulting in an increased passion for that behavior. In short: you are more likely to stick with a wellness behavior over time if you enjoy it from the start. With the upward spiral, wellness behaviors become more rewarding over time and our motives to pursue them also increate over time. When it comes to prioritizing positivity, people should be proactive about arranging their day to incorporate activities that increase their positive emotions rather than trying to “will themselves happy.”

Infusing Positive Psychology Into Customer Experience

Hopefully this brief introduction to positive psychology has made it clear why there is so much potential value for customer experience.

To make the connection explicit, here are three of the many themes from positive psychology that we will be infusing into our work:

  • Positive emotions support sustained behavior change. People are more apt to continue an activity if it results in positive emotions, which supports more sustainable results than sheer personal willpower.
  • Positive emotions increase human capacity. People are more thoughtful, creative, and adaptive when they experience positive emotions, and it also improves their physiological health and well-being.
  • Meaningful work amplifies positive emotions. People experience more positive emotions when they find meaning in their work, and this can be heightened when their work and efforts are appreciated.

We believe that these themes can affect every aspect of customer experience. Here are some of the many ways that they connect with our four customer experience core competencies:

1506_PPVS4CXCOMPETENCIES5.PNG

Positive Psychology Within Temkin Group Research 

We plan to increase our focus on positive psychology within Temkin Group’s research and advisory services, but positive psychology is not a new theme for us. You can see elements of it across many of the things that we’ve already published, including:

The bottom line: Positive psychology and customer experience are a natural fit.

Temkin Well-Being Index Dips in 2015 for U.S. Consumers

Temkin Group has been doing large-scale consumer research for several years. As part of our ongoing studies, we track many consumer attitudes. To gauge the overall quality of life for the U.S. population, we created the Temkin Well-Being Index (TWI) based on a few of those attitudinal elements.

The TWI is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January. The overall index is an average of three measurements representing the percentage of U.S. adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  • I am healthy
  • I am financially secure

While we began publishing the TWI last year, we’ve been tracking it for four years.  As you can see in the figure below:

  • After the TWI increased each of the last two years, it dipped by 0.2 percentage-points between 2014 and 2015.
  • The happiness index remained flat and healthiness index gained 0.2 points over the last year, but the financial security index dropped by almost one point.

We’ll be examining 2015 TWI by age and gender in an upcoming post.

2015TWI

The bottom line: U.S. consumers are feeling less financial secure

Embrace Your Unalienable Right to Be Happy

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Happy July 4th!

While not everyone who reads my blog is celebrating a holiday today, I hope that everyone can embrace the sentiment described in the famous line above from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. If we look through the mindset of the time and replace “men” with “all people,” then this sentence is a powerful blueprint for our collective well-being.

It’s interesting that one of the three unalienable Rights that the founders of the country chose to highlight is the “pursuit of happiness.” As it turns out, happiness is also one of the three items that we’ve included in the Temkin Well-Being Index (along with healthiness and financial security). After a dip in 2013, the happiness level of U.S. consumers increased in 2014.

Here are some of my other posts about happiness:

The bottom line: Have a very happy July 4th!

 

Happy People Are More Productive Employees

I recently read an interesting article in Fast Company called Happy Workers Are More Productive: Science Proves It which discusses a UK study of 713 people. The findings make sense and match what we’ve seen, so I decided to do an analysis with our datasets.

Happiness is an element of our Temkin Well-Being Index, so we have a lot of data on it. I dug into our Q3 2013 Temkin Group Consumer Benchmark Study to examine the connection between happiness and productivity for more than 5,000 U.S. consumers. To identify “happy people” we selected the full-time employees who said that they are “always” or “almost” always happy. Our analysis compares those people to other full-time employees who report that they are less frequently happy. As you can see in the chart below:

  • Happy people go out of their way more for their employers
  • Happy employees try harder
  • Happy people take less sick time

1404_HappinessVsProductivityThe bottom line: Hire happy people and keep them happy!

 

 

Amplify Empathy: We Succeed Because We Care

3b bat h

What is Amplify Empathy?

Amplify Empathy represents a hope, a cause, and a heartfelt desire that companies will work towards developing a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs, and that they will use this knowledge to serve those needs better. More specifically, Temkin Group created the Amplify Empathy movement to encourage individuals to help build stronger empathy for their customers within their organizations.

As part of our commitment to Amplify Empathy, Temkin Group will continue to research and write on the topic of organizational empathy. As a primer, check out these posts:

Join the Amplify Empathy Movement

3b bat h

We hope that individuals will pledge to Amplify Empathy within their organizations and will share their successes with others.

To take the pledge, simply write, “I pledge to Amplify Empathy,” in the comment box below, and proudly display this badge wherever you like.

We hope that you will also share descriptions of your Amplify Empathy efforts within your organization in the comments below. Use the hashtag #AmplifyEmpathy to get the message out on Twitter.

The $2,500 Amplify Empathy Challenge

To encourage people to share their best practices, Temkin Group choose five people who we believe submitted the best ideas for Amplifying Empathy.

Temkin Group selected winners of the Amplify Empathy Challenge based on its evaluation of the ideas submitted on the Website. The criteria that it will use include the innovativeness of the idea, the success that it has achieved, and its ability to be replicated by other organizations.

Congratulations to the winners (see blog post) who each won an Amazon.com $500 gift certificate:

  • Aaron Cooper, Customer Experience Architect, Prime Therapeutics
  • Diane Stover Hopkins, Innovation Strategy Executive, Beacon Health System
  • Kristi Roe, Director-The Patient Experience, Carolinas Healthcare System
  • Lisa Henken-Ramirez, Vice President, Customer Experience, NetSpend, a TSYS Company
  • A Lee Massaro

Continue to submit your ideas below and tweet them at #AmplifyEmpathy

The bottom line: Together, we can Amplify Empathy!

%d bloggers like this: