Using Emotional Intelligence to keep customers coming back
By Lynn Thomas, JD
Teaching salespeople and customer service people emotional intelligence skills is a worthwhile investment that will start pay immediate benefits.
This is the second of a two-part series on emotional intelligence by my good friend, and business consultant, Lynn Thomas, JD. In last week’s installment Lynn talked about how an understanding of Emotional Intelligence can help improve employee retention. In this week’s installment she will be talking about how using emotional intelligence can create a better, longer-lasting relationship with your customers.
Power of Indifference
Have you experienced someone at your company, or any business, treating you with indifference? Last time you were at the grocery store, did the cashier appear to really care about your shopping experience and value you as a customer? Did the clerk at the cleaners appear to value you and your business? How about the personnel at your drug store, coffee shop, or any other businesses?
According to Fortune Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and the American Bar Association, two-thirds of all customers leave any business because someone at the company exhibited indifference. This basic and important skill is easy to teach, and it will dramatically increase customer and employee retention, which is a direct contribution to the bottom line.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Who is someone you admire or want to emulate? Is it a parent, coach, teacher, boss, minister, or neighbor? What is it about that person that you want to emulate? It might be one or more of these characteristics: they cared about you, they believed in you, they were warm, they were encouraging, or they “got” you. Do any of these qualities have to do with that person’s IQ? No, it is their EQ that had them behave as they did, and this positively impacted you. As Carl W. Buehner said, “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
So, if showing you care can have such an impact on customers, what about our ability to develop more emotional awareness? Only 36% of people are aware at any given time of what they are feeling. It is hard to manage your feelings appropriately if you are not even aware of them. People have become numb to their feelings because most people have never been taught how to express them appropriately, and especially not at work.
How can EQ help me retain customers?
Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of your customer retention strategy. The emotional skills of people in your organization have a profound effect on the relationship between the organization and its customers and thus is a powerful glue to increase customer retention. The skills of emotional intelligence seem to be a foundation for effective relationships.
Managing emotions is at the root of people's ability to be agile, open to change, collaborate, deliver feedback, take risks, handle conflict, and perform under pressure. When emotions are not managed, they negatively impact relationships and teamwork, stifles innovation and derails an organization’s performance. Given that EQ is so highly correlated with a range of performance outcomes, an increase in this competence represents tremendous opportunity.
What are some examples of how it could be applied?
To ingrain EQ into the culture of your business, people at all levels must learn the skills of EQ and apply them to the key developmental areas from retaining customers to reducing employee turnover. EQ is a competitive advantage at every level of the organization. With the advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, the key human skill that's needed in the coming decades is EQ. Organizations that invest in integrating EQ behaviors into their culture and become part of the top 18% are going to have a competitive advantage at both the organizations and individual level.
Leaders are learning that emotional intelligence isn't just a new label for sales techniques or a repackaging of feel-good aphorism -- they're coming to recognize emotional intelligence as a core skill-set, grounded in science, that underlies performance, and they're committing to bring these assets on board.
While some skills may appear innate, it’s imperative that you train your employees on every aspect of emotional intelligence. It will prepare them to go above and beyond for your customers.
“By involving your service staff in EQ [emotional intelligence] training, your employees will develop the skills and knowledge to better understand your customers, how to manage their expectations and ultimately meet their needs,” stated Favor Larson, Senior Business Services Consultant for TTI Success Insights.
Customers buy your products based on how they feel.
The shopping and post-shopping experiences matters to buyers. A recent study revealed that 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience. It all starts with recognizing your customers’ emotions. “More customer interactions across more touchpoints are shaping the degree of engagement a customer feels with your company. The critical barrier to harnessing the potential value in this shift is organizational,” wrote Tom French, a Director at McKinsey.
EQ is a needed foundational skill whose importance will only increase as technology becomes a larger part of a customers’ interactions with your company.
Interested in discussing the potential for your company to increase its EQ?
Contact Lynn M. Thomas, JD, CEO Thomas Consulting, Inc. 65 Staniford Street Newton, MA 02466
Phone: 781-899-4210 Email: LynnThomas@Thomasconsultingwins.com
EQ is a key trait that employers should be looking for in employees in 2020.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to be aware of, control, and express our emotions as well as understanding the emotions of others. There are many advantages to developing your emotional intelligence (EQ), but the most compelling is it is responsible for much of the success you achieve in life, much more than IQ! Also, unlike IQ, you can easily increase your EQ.