People are what make your business succeed or fail. Without people to buy your company’s products or services, you have no revenue. Without people to make your company’s products or services, you have nothing to sell. If there’s one thing that people have in common, it’s that we all have emotions.
“The Economics of Emotion,” by customer experience and leadership consultant Kyle M.K., challenges readers to consider how emotions affect your business’ customers and employees. Understanding how emotions work will make it easier for workers and customers alike to associate happiness with your company, which can be its most valuable asset, M.K. explains.
The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, “A Brief History,” M.K. explains his inspiration for the book: the evolution of human emotion, the creation of the Internet, and the transition to the “Social Age,” in which he says businesses focus more on people than on process.
Part II, “Emotions Explained,” should be familiar to most readers, because it explains the core emotions that psychologists believe to be universal among all cultures: joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust, and one other.
He explains that each of these emotions has a spectrum: annoyance is the least intense form of anger, while fury tends to be most intense. He also notes that each has the ability to trigger other emotions in other people. Joy tends to trigger more joy, while anger, fear, disgust and sadness can trigger the same or other negative emotions in others.
The focus of Part III, “Emotion in Business,” takes up most of the book and has chapters on giving your employees a guiding purpose, being a leader who understands emotion, developing a culture of hard-working and loyal employees, designing a user experience of your product or service around the emotions you want your customers to feel, and how the overall customer experience affects your repuation, triggers emotions and can build true loyalty.
A World Economic Forum report on business trends found that emotional intelligence will be one of the most important characteristics hiring managers look for in new employees, M.K. notes in the chapter about leadership. He explains that as computers do more work, people in companies will have to focus more on emotional labor.
A leader who has emotional intelligence can tell how people feel and anticipate their needs, as well as understand how his or her own emotions can shape their actions. That knowledge can let the leader focus on motivating others positively.
Later in the same chapter, M.K. discusses experiences with good and bad emotional leadership from his career, citing an episode from a retail store, in which an inexperienced manager’s aggressive way of speaking to him about his problem-solving ability — accusing him of “going rogue” — made him cry and left him with the memory of how bad he felt after the incident.
Later, the store manager apologized for the other manager’s poor attempt at giving feedback and used a more gentle approach in coaching him, mentioning that others in the store were envious of his ability to fix things. The store manager’s use of positive emotion helped M.K. understand the lesson, without being on the emotional defensive. Both managers were trying to tell him the same thing.
Whether you want to engender loyalty among your staff or your customers, “The Economics of Emotion” will give you much to consider about how to connect your business to emotion.