When it comes to measuring the success of a business, many managers turn to hard numbers and KPIs. They seek more sales through improving the product, reducing shipping times, and increasing online reviews. And though all of these factors play an important role in creating a flourishing business, one of the key aspects many companies overlook is emotional intelligence (EQ).
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
So what is emotional intelligence? And what do emotional intelligence and customer satisfaction have to do with one another?
Emotional intelligence is the skill of comprehending emotions—both your own and the emotions of those around you. This involves:
- Understanding motives
- Showing empathy
- Regulating emotions
- Possessing social skills
Those with high emotional intelligence will be more in tune with how they are feeling and how those feelings affect their actions. They’ll also be more in tune with how the people they interact with are feeling, and they’ll act in a way that is sensitive to those emotions.
Emotional Intelligence in Customer Service
Emotional intelligence is an important aspect of understanding and serving customers. It influences the way your business presents itself to customers, the way people think about your brand, and the way you serve customers across every step of the sales process.
Agents with a high EQ will be better at perceiving and managing emotions in customer service. This makes them better equipped to help customers and even increase profitability by boosting overall customer satisfaction. Agents who have strong emotional intelligence are usually:
- Calm, even when under pressure
- Good at resolving conflicts in an efficient way
- Understanding of coworkers and the customers they interact with
- More thoughtful when making decisions in the workplace
Though it may seem as if EQ is a natural trait, many customer service agents need to learn emotional intelligence. Proper training can help all agents to increase their emotional intelligence and better serve the needs of your customer base.
Uses of Emotional Intelligence in Customer Service
There are endless ways you can use emotional intelligence to enhance customer engagement and improve your customer service department overall. Emotional intelligence training is an effective way of raising awareness among agents and helping them to accurately read and react to the emotions of customers.
Take a look at just a few of the ways emotional intelligence can help customer service agents. Emotional intelligence training can:
- Improve the ability to listen to customers.
- Change negative language into positive language.
- Instill a sense of calm in high-pressure situations.
- Enable agents to seek solutions rather than focusing on problems.
- Provide greater awareness when conflicts are on the horizon.
- Assist when connecting and building relationships with customers.
- Help agents gain greater empathy.
Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in Customer Service
Now you know there are many ways to apply emotional intelligence to customer service. But why should this matter to you? How can emotional awareness improve customer service?
Above all, EQ will improve agent communication with customers. They’ll be able to solve problems more quickly, connect with customers on a deeper level, and be more calm and positive throughout the process.
These results will lead to happier customers who report higher levels of customer satisfaction. And when customer satisfaction is high, you’ll notice a difference in your bottom line, too.
How to Assess the Emotional Intelligence of Your Customer Service
In contrast to KPIs like resolution times or call abandonment rates, emotional intelligence is a qualitative, soft skill that may seem hard to measure. And without an effective means for measuring emotional intelligence, you may be tempted to avoid worrying about it altogether.
Fortunately, there are many ways to assess the emotional intelligence of your customer service department.
1. Use Reflection Questions for Self-Assessment
There are many questions an agent can ask themselves to improve self-awareness and increase emotional intelligence. Such questions might include:
- How well did I recognize the customer’s mood?
- Did I meet the needs of the customer?
- Did I change the customer’s perception of the company? Was it for better or for worse?
- Did I change my behavior based on the mood of the customer?
2. Create Benchmarks
It’s much easier to measure EQ when you define your baselines for performance. This will let agents know what behavior they should be striving for and give them a measuring stick for ongoing improvement. Benchmarks can be created for each step of customer interaction. Then they can be measured by using scorecards.
3. Quantify Emotional Intelligence Using Scorecards
It would be incredibly time-consuming and tedious to assess the emotional intelligence of an agent in every interaction with a customer. This is why self-assessment and scorecards are so important. Allowing an agent to score their performance will lead to greater self-awareness and reflection. Use the evaluation questions listed in the first step to create effective, meaningful scorecards.
How to Show EQ in Different Customer Service Mediums
Emotional intelligence should be demonstrated in every customer service medium, from face-to-face interactions to email and social media responses. Though text-based customer service can make it more difficult to read and convey emotion, this makes it all the more important for agents to hone their EQ skills. Here are a few ideas for showing high emotional intelligence across customer service mediums:
In-Person or Video Chat
- Show positive body language.
- Practice active listening.
- Repeat back the customer concern.
- Make eye contact.
- Nod when listening.
Over the Phone
- Use positive language.
- Let customers know you hear and understand them.
- Tell the customer what you’re doing and how long it will take.
Text, Email, Live Chat, or Social Media
- Wait to respond to angry emails (until the agent has planned a thoughtful response).
- Tell customers when you’re looking something up.
- Use custom responses whenever possible.
- Avoid overused phrases and cliches that can undermine sincerity.
Tips for Using EQ in Customer Service
While it’s easy to sit and read about emotional intelligence in customer service, it can be difficult to implement EQ training. You can try these tricks right now to improve your emotional intelligence while service customers.
- Create cool-down processes to help control emotions.
- Craft customized responses.
- Anticipate conflicts and react accordingly.
- Focus on solutions.
- Be transparent and honest.
- Show warmth.
- Practice patience.
Outsourcing Your Customer Service
When outsourcing your customer service needs, it’s vital to consider the emotional intelligence of the company you choose. Work with ROI Call Center Solutions and you’ll outsource your customer service to a team that understands and applies emotional intelligence.
Our culture focuses on listening, communicating, and providing world-class customer service. We’ll act as an extension of your business and treat your customers with empathy, warmth, and kindness, boosting your customer satisfaction rates like never before.