“Neurologically, the way we feel has a bigger influence on our conscious decisions than what we think”

I’ve had many clients ask me over the years about best practices in designing a NPS program within a Retail environment. Whilst every client and program is unique, in my experience I’ve found that the design of the NPS program is best shaped by considering the emotional or rational engagement of customers within the measured moment of truth.

The engagement of the customer boils down to the associated level of discretionary value gained from the interaction or experience. Where the experience sits on the customer’s value scale will determine if the customer is emotionally or rationally engaged.

Rational engagement occurs when the customer’s experience falls in-line with their expectations, resulting in a small level of discretionary value being created. Take for example tidy stock on the shelves, or decent lighting in the store. Because these are what the customer expects, very little discretionary value is created. These can be thought of as ‘hygiene factors’ which customers expect an organisation to consistently get right.

Emotional engagement on the other hand takes place when the customer’s experience is either well above or below their expectations, resulting in a large level of either positive or negative discretionary value. For example, when a customer finds out their delivery of an online-order has been delayed, they are likely to have an emotional reaction to this (usually annoyance or frustration), as the experience has failed to match their expectation.


This all sounds like common sense, but what influence does this have on the design of a Retail NPS program?

Neurologically, the way we feel (emotion) has a bigger influence on our conscious decisions than what we think (rational).

Thus from the consumer perspective, a customer’s emotional engagement has a lot more influence on spending decisions (repeat purchases, advocacy) than their rational engagement.

This then leads us to the idea that a Retail NPS program should primarily focus on the customer’s emotional engagement of an experience. This can easily be done by having the questions in the NPS survey asked from an emotional rather than a rational perspective.

For example, “How satisfied were you with the time it took for your order to be delivered?” instead of “How long did it take for your order to be delivered?”.

Take also into account that customers are more likely to recall an emotionally engaging experience, and as a result provide more valuable insight to a well-worded question. Not to mention, keeping the rational questions out of the survey will also reduce the length of it.

In today’s world where there are so many competing interests for your customer’s attention, NPS surveys need to be short, concise and relevant. By focusing on the emotional engagement of your customer, you can tick all of those boxes and drive your business forwards with their valuable feedback.

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