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The Balance of Emotion and Logic in the Customer Experience

May 03 2013 Jeff Wilson

By Jeff Wilson


Whether it’s the decision to buy a vehicle, go on a date or do business with a company, in every instance, every decision we make is governed by both emotion and logic. In fact the proper interaction of the two can lead to better conversions, more leads, better quality of leads and more loyalty and share of wallet from customers.


The focus of the YinYang methodology is based on a simple, powerful truth about how we make decisions; every person, without exception, makes decisions based on emotions and then justifies those decisions with logic. In everyone, this process is so buried in the adaptive unconscious that we are never aware of how much we are governed by it or affected by it when it is out of balance. All we get is a feeling; an inexplicable emotional response.


The reason for this according to Timothy D. Wilson, Chair of Psychology at University of Virginia and the author of “Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious.”, “People can no more observe how they are unconsciously categorizing their environments, setting goals, and generating intuitions than they can observe how their kidneys work.”


So if we are unaware of many factors and processes governing our decisions, it seems prudent to assume we will also be unaware of many of the emotional and logical factors we experience, including an imperceptible lack of balance between the two.


When it comes to a customer experience, the creation, balance and timing of emotion and logic then becomes critical to sustainable success otherwise how can we expect our customers to tell us about something where they may be completely unaware?


What happens when either emotion or logic are missing?


Is it wrong to have just emotional or logical in a customer experience? Not necessarily, although the risk needs to be understood of creating or delivering that imbalance.

  • Deliver a highly emotional experience or capitalize on intense emotions without proper logical support, you get negative emotions such as buyer’s remorse or feelings of being taken advantage of.
  • Deliver a highly logical experience or capitalize on intense logical process without any emotional support, you get negative emotional responses associated with disconnection and lack of engagement.


In both cases, the result will always be the risk of a negative emotional outcome to your customer experience and ultimately the brand. This is not to say there are times when a polarized experience is valuable or even necessary, but I believe this is the rare exception and not the rule.


Striking a balance with every interaction


Taking this a little bit deeper, individual interactions within the CX don’t necessarily have to follow the same rules. You can have an almost entirely emotional interaction or entirely logical interaction but in the end, they must contribute to achieving the overall balance of the two within the customer experience.


Balance of emotion and logic in CX


Looking at the illustration above, you can see how individual interactions can range in balance between both emotion and logic. As the overall experience changes, the interactions help adjust the ebb and flow within the experience.


While a CX may vary wilding, underneath it all is a fairly strong natural pattern which sees us using more intense emotional experience at the beginning to establish rapport with a customer and engage them to a much more logical experience in the middle to help them justify their decision and then end on an emotionally high note to secure the transaction and reinforce the logic.


More advanced thinking on this suggests methodologies whereby we can actually shorten decision making cycles and improve profit in every sale. A topic for another post…


How do you make me feel?


In the end, what secures that transaction or loses that sale is how we make the customer feel. Creating balance is not an easy thing to do, particularly in a B2B enterprise organization where so many people may interact with the customer. The biggest question for you is what is the balance of your CX now? Are you too polarized one way or another? The answer to this could help explain why there may be difficulties in conversion or expanding your brand within existing customers.


Next week, we look at how a CX is your best form of manageable influence on the customer decision. Designed and managed correctly, a CX can be a powerful force that goes well beyond the individual and into the target organization, family or social network.


The Socratic End…


I am always left with more questions than answers. Hopefully we can find answers together or at the very least, ask better questions!

  • How can we find balance in the marketing of highly logical services of products such as software?
  • How do we balance emotion and logical needs of multiple stakeholders in a B2B marketing?


You can also read the rest of this Customer Experience and Influence series:



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About the Author

Jeff Wilson is a marketing futurist, abstract thinker and customer acquisition specialist. For over fifteen years Jeff’s work has assisted many leading global B2B and B2C enterprises to significantly improve how they attract and engage prospective customer to turn them into profitable relationships. Past clients include HP, IBM, Home Depot, DOW Chemical, ING Direct, Symantec, Syngenta and MV1 Canada. Jeff's work is based on a deep understanding of the emotional side of human behavior and how to influence people in online, mobile and social environments to drive measurable growth in qualified leads, improve conversion and build positive brand presence. Jeff’s professional writing and speaker career is growing. He is a frequent contributor to business and marketing publications as well as being a speaker on the topics of customer acquisition, influence, and customer experience design. When not working, Jeff can be found enjoying life to the fullest as a Dad to his 3 young children in Toronto, Canada.

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