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  • Writer's pictureDr Milyan Hills

Capturing and Shaping Customer Emotions and Decisions

Humans are inherently emotional animals. Our decision-making is profoundly impacted by our emotional state. When we are delighted or grateful, hormones are released that make us feel well, help us be creative and want us to crave for more. When stressed or upset, a stress hormone prevents us from recalling positive memories or laying down new onesThese conditions shape our decision-making in all ways. Faced with strong emotions, choices or a lack of information, we fall back on mental shortcuts – or our ‘biases’ - to make sense of a complex issue. Anthrolytics’ revolutionary Digital EmpathyTM service delivers actionable insights on customer behaviours. In this Article, our Chief Anthropologist Dr Mils Hills explains more about the science we’ve built our offer on.

When customers make a decision to exit a relationship with a brand, ignore an opportunity to extend their loyalty or move from committed to neutral – we know that the decision may not be carefully considered, reflected on and rational. Businesses often only discover that customers have already reached these decisions when it’s too late. The opportunity to engage with the customer has already passed, unnoticed. Worse, the departing or disgruntled customer will likely over-communicate their dissatisfaction, further risking negative effects on the company’s and product’s reputation and brand. In markets with few barriers to customers moving between largely undifferentiated providers, the ability to predict their emotional state and to have the option to predict and interrupt a decision-making process is invaluable. Standard marketing and contact interventions can raise stress levels, be irrelevant, reinforce negativity or potentially sever a relationship.

There are significant opportunities: Let’s assume a customer is joyful, too often a brand is blind to further strengthening the foundations of loyalty or the opportunities now presented for upselling. . Equally, when a customer has a concern or complaint, a purely reactive business has little in the way of initiatives to offer to predictably make things right. Customers are transmitting signals – but until now there hasn’t been a way to capture and interpret these at scale. Actually, it is like flying an airliner without weather radar. In the days before ubiquitous aircraft data, bad weather tended to be a surprise. With Anthrolytics’ real time Emotional Intelligence ScoreTM – a business gains time to act and prevent turbulence affecting growth plans.

We call this Digital EmpathyTM and no one else has it.

Anthrolytics embeds a unique and evidence-based conceptual framework into its model of human decision-making. Whilst most behavioural science implementations draw on a limited and poorly-understood scientific literature, our point of differentiation is that although we respect much of this existing thinking – we have made our own tooling as well.

Of course, we admire the work of Kahneman and Tversky, the energy and challenge of Ariely and the early work of Cialdini on persuasion. We also like Boyd’s OODA loop, the McKinsey 7Ss and many other validated models. But we go further than any other behavioural science-based practice in also having our own intellectual property and socio-technical tooling. For example, we draw on over twenty years of behavioural research developed for critical and often highly classified activities. Products and concepts have been used in environments as diverse as Commercial Businesses, Startup Environments or International Security concerns..

At Anthrolytics we take a different and proactive view, rather than attempting to create models of decision-making which reduce choices to binary selections or rational actions plus incomplete information and therefore reach conclusions that the only options are more marketing to explain things or the need to just write-off departing customers or employees as ‘lost causes’.

As the first anthropologist to work for the UK Ministry of Defence, our Chief Anthropologist cut his teeth in inventing new ways to collaborate with and protect decision-makers. The majority of this work, and that for commercial clients, centred on creating a totally new way of thinking about decision-making that puts empathy for the customer or employee at the heart of concern.

Tried and tested at scale in Financial Services

Anthrolytics integrate a managed service that provides advanced intelligence on customers who are becoming likely to defect. And how the client will know best how to act to retain. We have deployed (at scale) our Predictive Behavioural Analytics (PBA) engine to generate accurate and actionable intelligence on the emotional status of every customer of a leading financial institution. This Emotional Intelligence Score (EQS) provided the client with strategic insight to refine, pause or accelerate planned marketing, advertising; public relations or pricing activities. Customer contact centres also have a live feed of customer EQS so that agents can have a richer appreciation of the mood of a customer, connect to or respond with them using alternative scripts, escalation paths and retention solutions accordingly.

By predicting the Emotional Intelligence Score of customers, we extrapolate that their decision-making is beginning to become less rational and much more shaped by hormones and neurochemicals. These include: cortisol (stress), adrenaline (stress / excitement), and then those which can create or retard happiness and satisfaction: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins (CA-DOSE). Knowing that certain customers have moved to misperceive your company gives you the inside track to create meaningful touchpoints.

These proactive touchpoints must reduce or eliminate the hormones and neurochemicals now suffusing all of the decision-making of the customer. Radically generous, wildly thoughtful acts and surprising engagements for customer Without these emotionally-tuned engagements, customers will double-down on their decisions, probabilities become certainties in their minds and they invisibly become irretrievable.

A Word About Ethics

Anthrolytics are committed to the most ethical applications of data processing possible. Our ambition is to support companies in maximising customer retention. By building-out the ability to achieve early warning about customers who are becoming dissatisfied with a product or service, our clients can swiftly target emotionally sensitive engagement to act on this feedback. Our magic works only to smooth out shortfalls in customer expectations – it cannot transform a fundamentally flawed product. In short, our insights improve the value that the customer receives from the brand and helps reduce concern or stress on their part. Everyone wins.

About Dr Milyan Hills

Mils is Chief Anthropologist of Anthrolytics and an expert in employing behavioural science and conceptual innovation to provide competitive advantage to organisations in the public and private sector.

Mils was the first anthropologist to work for the UK government, initially undertaking applied research to understand, influence or protect decision-makers for the defense and intelligence community. He later worked and led on programs and capabilities, testing and enhancing the performance of processes, plans and people at national and international strategic levels.

Mils has discreetly helped organizations develop best in class solutions by maximizing human capital and organizational culture. He has worked for elite and high performance operational teams, developed c-suites and invented new ways of communicating and achieving real world impacts for the defense, manufacturing, financial and highly-regulated sectors.

About Anthrolytics

Anthrolytics is about Digital Empathy. We provide solutions that help you to create better, more sustainable solutions by understanding your customers better and enter a more fruitful collaboration. Creating value for everyone involved. Our experience is in Global Marketing Management, Data Science, Behavioral Science and Leadership.

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