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The Intuitive Customer - Helping You Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

Jun 29, 2019

How Can We Measure Customer Emotions in Our Digital World

When you think about the Olympic medalists on the podium during the awards ceremony, who do you think is happier, the silver medalist or the bronze?

Objectively, you might say the silver medalists because, after all, they came in second and the other competitor was third. Objectively, the silver medalists had a better outcome and should be happier. 

However, the happier medal winner is the bronze medalist, and the reason we know this is the subject of this episode of The Intuitive Customer. With guest Dr. Bill Hedgecock, professor at the University of Minnesota in the Carlson School of Management, we explore the power of facial recognition with facial expression analysis software and what it can do to help you improve your Customer Experience. 

Hedgecock is a leader in academic circles on facial recognition technology and facial expression analysis. He also studies neuromarketing, which is how the brain works when we make decisions.

His psychology-based research shows us the wealth of knowledge available to us when we measure customer emotions in real time. So much is revealed from our facial expression in the moment, and it can be essential to your Customer Experience design strategy.

He and his team used the technology to prove that bronze medalists were happier than silver medalists, and it was all in the eyes. It turns out that in a genuine smile the muscles contract around our eyes. This involuntary reaction is difficult (but not impossible) to fake. When studying the photos of the past five years of summer Olympic medalists, it was clear that gold was happiest, naturally, followed by bronze, and silver, ironically and yet understandably, coming in last on the happiness meter.

Like Olympic medalists’ mix of triumph and disappointment, customer behavior is complicated. At any given moment, you might have two or three different psychological theories that explain why customers do what they do. However, Hedgecock says when you combine those theories with the data about how the customer felt at different moments in your experience, it can help point you in the right direction of which theory is correct.

What’s more, once you know how a moment makes them feel and why people are doing what they are doing, you can respond. Responding can lead to many excellent outcomes, including an improved experience for your customer, the better impact for your marketing campaigns, and more emotional engagement with your customers—the foundational element of customer retention and loyalty.

Listen to the podcast in its entirety to learn more about How We Can Measure Customer Emotions in Our Digital World for your Customer Experience.


The Intuitive Customer podcasts are designed to explain the psychological concepts behind customer behavior.

If you would like to find out from one of our CX consultants how you can implement the concepts we discussed in your organization’s marketing to improve customer loyalty and retention, contact us at

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