5 Reasons why Marketers must Trust Emotions in the Age of AI

By Kirsten Oelrich 4 min read

Artificial intelligence and automation are fast becoming integral to marketing. More and more brands are using AI to deliver personalized experiences and customers too have embraced the shift to AI-driven marketing. However, experts believe that in this machine learning era, brands must also be cautious to not underestimate the role of emotions in every buyer’s purchase journey.

Why despite the evolution in AI and its success in closely replicating human behavior, is EQ (Emotional Quotient) so relevant? Most marketers will acknowledge that building trust is the first step in every purchase decision. Before customers show interest in a product or a service, brands must first connect with them at a personal level. This holds especially true in the case of specialized offerings. For instance, a customer may open a bank account online without assistance. However, for a loan or a mortgage, the same customer may need personal consultation and customized assistance. In such cases, it is imperative to provide an interactive and personal experience to meet the customer’s emotional needs. According to a recent survey, emotions will continue to play a key role even as marketing becomes more AI focused. Here are some key takeaways:

There’s no substitute for the human touch

Human touch is essential for brands to ensure a high emotional quotient. While making a big purchase, it is difficult to replace the experience of conversing with a customer rep. According to a report, 54% of customers prefer speaking to a human customer representative for information, 40% prefer chat and 34% prefer email; it was also found that 80% find it better to deliver EQ in person, 49% on the phone, 24% through voice assistants and 22% through chatbots. As AI and automation are enhancing customer experience, one must ensure that such technology should not replace human interaction, but in fact complement it. For instance, online tax service companies help customers prepare and get instant access to human advisors who answer all their queries and find new exemptions for them. This approach makes the customer feel that their needs are cared for, and they save a lot on their finances.

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The present generation understands EQ

People, whether young or old have different perceptions of AI. According to the study, millennials have a more favorable opinion of AI’s ability to understand and tend to their needs than the previous generation. 29% of young adults state that AI could deliver EQ, and 15% above the age of 55 feel the same. 54% of millennials acknowledge that in the next five years, AI will become more adept at displaying EQ. Around 71% of millennials have heard of EQ, while only 58% of people from 35-54 years of age and 34% of people more than 55 have heard of it.

Emotional connect is built on actionable data

Customers need assistance at various points in their purchase journey. They find it stressful when adequate information is not available and prefer speaking to an executive who can fill the gap in the human experience. Most brands can effectively bridge this gap with access to the right data. However, they must strike a balance between privacy and personalization to increase customer loyalty. Brands can extract adequate data based on the customer’s earlier actions. This way the brand representative can help deliver the right information with the right tone.

Travel and finance sectors require higher EQ

Travel companies face several challenges in building an emotional connection with customers. Around 53% of customers find travel purchases stressful. Therefore, travel agencies, hospitality brands, and airlines can build loyalty by assisting the customers to make their decisions. Customers find that travel reps are very efficient but are poor at displaying emotionally intelligent characteristics like empathy, adaptability, and patience. The story continues in the financial sector. In the financial services sector, 69% of customers found it stressful to make financial purchases. Finance brands are not good with EQ traits, as 18% of customers said financial reps display empathy and 21% said reps show adaptability.

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We are moving towards an emotionally intelligent future

The significance of EQ will substantially increase in the next few years as the younger generations will become household decision makers as they gain purchasing power. Businesses need to personalize customer interactions (whether human or automated), to demonstrate EQ. Customers actually prefer personalized care from human reps. Customers will be delighted if automated services are as good as the human reps. EQ can be successfully delivered by using cross channel, useful data.

In the future, EQ will play a vital role in the lives of the customers, as it will make big purchase decisions that are expensive for them and beneficial for brands. Marketers need to keep up with the speed of change. It is imperative for marketers to know and understand what motivates customers to communicate with their brand and respond to their needs with intelligence and empathy.


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Kirsten Oelrich

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Kirsten Oelrich