Emotional Intelligence and the Customer Experience

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Published: 04th July 2012
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Consciously we express anxieties in a variety of unconscious ways. We also measure our experiences in a variety of ways. How they evoke, communicate and connect to us emotionally is one way. Is it pleasing, satisfying, fun, happy, sad, miserable, etc.? Emotional Quotient/Intelligence (EQ-i) is all about our ability to understand emotions and act appropriately.

A hiring process, or employee development cycle, that looks at a number of indicators, such as intelligence, education, personality and experience as measures is not enough to predict performance. Emotional Intelligence is a key factor that is often overlooked.

The ability to understand the behavioral patterns of job candidates is essential to departments that want healthy, functioning, emotionally balanced employees. What has been recently discovered is that communication—the key feature in relationship theories—is connected to Emotional Intelligence, a predictor that can be measured by what is termed as EQ or Emotional Quotient/Intelligence (EQ-i). Emotionally intelligent employees are able to form strong relationships because they can communicate effectively and are able to cope well with stressful situations. In business situations, retail, call centers, or in day-to-day life, EQ-i is essential.

EQ can also be strengthened and be developed over time. Having an employee development program that uses EQ assessments for incoming employees and development tools for current ones is an excellent strategy. HR managers can integrate these instruments into their standards for selection and development. This includes the planning for senior leadership succession and selecting the right candidate to hire or promote. EQ helps to identify individual specific strengths and weaknesses so that training and coaching can be designed to develop skills that contribute to future leadership.

Hiring for the Right Skills to Create Better Experiences

Handling interactions efficiently is one of the main tasks of employees providing customer experience, in retail or via contact center representatives. The ability to listen, build a rapport with a customer, engage in a dialogue and solve problems is essential. The ability to handle odd timings, and work pressures, are areas where employees need to excel, be it in the contact center or elsewhere. The ability to not get hijacked, due to stressful or emotional situations at work, or from home, is an absolute requirement for success in life. Issues of self-control, self-esteem and self-motivation are areas linked to the emotional quotient. Identifying and growing these effectiveness skills is essential for life skills, work and great customer experiences.

Employees, management and managers can be profiled for EQ. Human resource managers can determine capabilities, coach and develop “star performers” when using standard tests, like the EQ-i, MSCEIT or EI based tests and interpreted by professionals. When this happens, attrition rates can be significantly lowered. Moreover, recruiting the right candidate, someone who fits into the baseline of the culture, can result in a significant savings. With added pressure from clients to cut down on recruitment costs, exploring the implementation of EQ assessment can be a huge savings.

Are You Leveraging Customer Experiences with the Emotion Quotient?

If you have a customer experience focus, be it in the call center, retail, or via any touch point that requires human interaction, EQ-i is a factor. Having a strong EQ-i is a great investment, when it comes to the selection and retention of strong employees and building a great culture. Profiling new candidates through EQ testing helps create a corporate culture imbibed with an atmosphere of teamwork and leadership.

With customer experience being a major competitive factor, you cannot afford to have customers complain about inadequate support due to the indifferent attitude of employees. You cannot dismiss customers, who now have the power. In short, employees with a good EQ and the right coaching will be able to contribute significantly to the success and profits of any call center.

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This article is based on Keith Fiveson’s upcoming book, Consciousness and the Customer Experience. It is protected by copyright; it can only be reproduced by permission. 2011 © Keith Fiveson – kfiveson@itesa.com | ITESA - customer experience management consulting, for lifetime value. Offices in New York and Manchester, UK. NY offices at 69 Fifth Avenue, Suite 9J, NY,

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