Every time customers interact with your company, they have some emotional reaction to the event. While there are many, many ways to look at an individual’s reaction to a situation, the Temkin Group’s Five As model offers one way to think about it.

The Five As represent a spectrum of responses that customers have after an interaction:

  • Angry: Customers feel wronged by the interaction and will look for opportunities to tell other people (a.k.a. vent) about the situation and will try and stay away from the organization.
  • Agitated: Customers didn’t enjoy the interaction and will think twice about doing business with the organization in the future.
  • Ambivalent: Customers had no significant emotional response and remain as loyal as they were before the interaction.
  • Appreciative: Customers feel that the organization outperformed their expectations and are more inclined to do business with the organization in the future.
  • Adoring: Customers feel like the company fully met their needs and will look for opportunities to tell other people about the situation and will try to interact more with the organization in the future.

Here are some ways that you can use the Five As:

  • Training. If you teach all employees this scale, then your organization will have a common vocabulary for discussing customer reactions. This framework will help trainees gauge how customers would likely respond to situations and discuss what they could do to improve the customer’s ultimate emotional response.
  • Coaching. Supervisors can ask their employees a very simple question after an interaction: “how do you think the customer felt about the call?” This can work for anyone that has customer interactions: phone reps, retail salespeople, cashiers, insurance agents, bank tellers, etc.
  • Customer delight scorecards. Every time employees interact with a customer or make a decision, they can give themselves a score based on what they believe is (or will be) the customers’ most likely emotional response to their action:
    • Angry (-3)
    • Agitated (-1)
    • Ambivalent (0)
    • Appreciative (+1)
    • Adoring (+3)

The total across these interactions and decisions represents a customer delight score. Employees can calculate this score on a regular basis (daily, weekly) and track how they are doing over time.

The bottom line: Are you creating angry or adoring customers?

This blog post was originally published by Temkin Group prior to its acquisition by Qualtrics in October 2018.