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Measuring Emotion Goes Beyond Sentiment & NPS®

What Net Promoter Score® Lacks, Morphii Provides

Net Promoter Score (NPS) numeric ratings intend to predict how customers might behave in the future. The developers of the rating system promote this method of study as a way to measure “brand health.” This method, though, relies on consumers to develop a sentiment, or judgment, of the brand – without regard for the emotional components and interactions that inform their sentiment.

Frustrated by counter-intuitive NPS data that historically provided limited insight as to indicators for consumer behavior, a Fortune100 Customer Experience Director deployed Morphii to better measure customer experience (CX).

U.S. adult customers – 986 of them – took the opportunity to answer the traditional NPS question, “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” They responded with numbers within a range from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Most (39.6%) responded with a 10, and 9.5% responded with a score of 0. This left 50% of surveyed customers somewhere in-between.

Based on these responses alone, though, what could the company actually discern about their customers? Not much, actually. In asking one more question – “How are you feeling today?” – they learned something quite intriguing… Using Morphii Technology, customers reported the type and intensity of their mood on the day they responded to the survey – ultimately, giving the company an indication that customers’ NPS ratings might be influenced (biased) by their mood.

As the following graph suggests, there was a correlation between the NPS rating and the likelihood that the customer was in a good mood. About 85% of the customers who responded with 10’s reported a happy mood, whereas only about 52% of those responding with 0’s reported the same mood state. In fact, we see that happy moods were reported less and less as NPS ratings declined, and grumpiness was reported more and more.

Mood at time of NPS rating

Net Promoter Score

Note: The x-axis displays the percentage of persons at each NPS rating level who reported each of the listed moods. The y-axis displays the reported NPS rating, which ranged from 10 (extremely likely) to 0 (not at all likely).


To understand the emotional connection and learn about subsequent behaviors, customers were then asked, “How do you feel about the company? Morphii Technology provided a mechanism for customers to register and relay the type of emotion they felt and the intensity of their feelings without having to interpret arbitrary numbers and scales or elaborate explanations. They simply dialed it in – offering a true reflection of their feelings toward the brand.

The results looked like this:

Emotions toward Brand by Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score

Note: The x-axis displays the percentage of persons at each NPS rating level who reported each of the listed emotions. The y-axis displays the reported NPS rating, which ranged from 10 (extremely likely) to 0 (not at all likely).


So, what did the company learn about their customers?

  • Many customers replying with 10’s, 9’s, and 8’s registered delight or even excitement about the brand, but not all of them.
  • Notably, the Net Promoter System® would categorize those 8’s in a “passive” category, and leave them out of further calculations. However, those 8’s are not without positive feelings for the brand. They are anything but inactive!
  • Less than 40% of customers feeling excited about the brand chose an NPS rating of 9 or 10 – illustrating clear, and otherwise untapped potential in bolstering traditional promoter ratings with self-reported emotional data.
  • Across the NPS scoring spectrum, some customers registered indifference (Meh) about the brand, suggesting little if any emotional engagement with the company. But, they are definitely in the minority; most people had a primary feeling toward the brand that they could easily identify.
  • Most respondents who registered scores of 7 and lower had a significant mixture of feelings, including some that could motivate them to avoid, push away, or even potentially behave aggressively toward the brand. However, they were anything but monolithic in their feelings, as this graph vividly demonstrates:

Feelings Reported by Those with Net Promoter Score of 7 or Lower

Sum of Number of Records for each Selected Morphii Display Name.

Note: The data is filtered on Question 10 and Net Promoter Score. The Question ID filter keeps QID5. The Net Promoter Score filter excludes Null, 8, 9, and 10.


Although many might assume that those who scored the brand at 6 or lower would be difficult to address because of their disinclination to recommend the brand, the truth is more complex. The results suggest that there are three separate, principal groups reporting low scores: those registering disgust, those registering disappointment, and those registering frustration.


  • Disgust about the brand is something the brand needs to understand; these are people likely to be difficult to sway into emotions that are more positive.
  • Just as importantly, there are an even larger number of people who feel disappointed by the brand, and they are much more likely to respond favorably to outreach intended to address their needs.
  • Frustrated customers are found from 8’s through 0’s. Aggression is a common correlate of frustration; hence, frustrated customers require critical response because they are prone to try and harm the brand.

By focusing on the emotional core of customers’ experiences, the company learned that their customers feel many different things about the brand and its competition. Their customers are motivated to approach, engage, distance themselves from, or even behave aggressively toward the brand. Not only does this help the company understand the NPS ratings the customers provided, but more importantly, it reveals something about why customers score the brand the way they do, and what the customer is likely to do in the future.

Understanding customer emotion in addition to NPS allows businesses to group customers based on retention risk, needs, and behaviors. This intelligence fuels the prioritization of investment decisions such as marketing, call routing, and offers.

How much more could you be learning about your customers with Morphii?


“Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.”

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