Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive, control and evaluate a person’s emotions. As customer service representatives, possessing emotional intelligence is key in understanding and incorporating the customer’s point of view in your presentations.
There are four ways to navigate through your customer’s emotions:
- Perceiving emotion. You can’t physically see your customer so you have to be a very active listener during the call. Take mental notes of what you are hearing and internalize the emotion being conveyed by the customer.
- Reasoning with emotion. Once you recognize the emotion from the customer, you must use that emotion to spur cognitive activity and thinking. Using the emotion you perceive can help initiate thought processes.
- Understanding emotion. Because there are a wide variety of emotions, there is an equally wide variety of reasons for expressing emotions. Ask yourself: why is the customer [insert emotion]? If they sound angry, don’t assume it’s your fault. They could be having a bad day. If they sound excited to speak with you, then they generally have an interest in what you are saying.
- Manage emotion. Once you have come to understand what the customer is feeling and why, use that information to support your presentations. Respond appropriately to the emotion of the customer. If they are difficult, diffuse the situation. If they are happy and enthusiastic, continue that by offering features and benefits of the product. Never trade up your positivity to get on a customer’s level.
You are not trying to change the customer. Your job is to deliver a service the best and most effective way possible.
Empathize with them. Show them that you have concern for them as a customer.
The most important thing you can do during the call is understand the customer has a right to feel the way they do. Their emotions might not have anything to do with you. What you can control is the way you respond to the customer’s emotions. Offer support, show concern and engage with them in an appropriate manner.
Our customers matter. The more you make them feel like they do, the better your presentations and performance will be.
Don’t let emotion take you over. Leave that for the Bee Gees.
Some information from: http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/emotionalintell.htm
- 10 Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence (psychologytoday.com)