In the customer service environment front-line advisors should be fully equipped, not only in terms of product, systems and service knowledge, but in their “EQ” or ‘emotional intelligence’ which can make a dramatic difference to the user experience.
Today’s contact centre advisors need to be much more than good listeners, they must be mindful of how fast-paced people’s lives are and how technology can be a barrier as much as a help to the user experience.
By the time a customer reaches an advisor, be it by phone, email, webchat or social media they will have probably interfaced with several touchpoints. We live in an instantaneous technological world and consumers expect their enquiry to be dealt with immediately, sometimes with agitation.
It is essential that our front-line brand ambassadors are able to sense their customers’ needs and deliver the very best user experience. Advisors must be able to establish a human connection through a screen, foster trust and be able to read people’s emotions without being able to rely on their facial expressions or tone of voice.
At our dedicated training centre we support our advisors in achieving a high EQ by helping them to understand self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and physiological motivation. This allows our people to manage the myriad of emotional interactions in talking with a wide range of customers across platforms.
With so many variances of thought, behaviours and actions in an average contact centre shift, we must ensure our people are emotionally fit to manage the complexities and dynamics of each enquiry.
For the optimum user experience, we believe we need to invest in emotional intelligence training and awareness in our contact centres. Making certain that our people strategies have the right investment and support to ensure the very best people are trained and retained so we are able to deliver a quality customer service.
In the world of customer experience, the talk of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing, but in our opinion one thing that AI will never be able to replicate is the emotional intelligence of a well-trained customer service advisor.
To conclude, here’s a list of my top 4 tips for emotional intelligence:
1. Consider the situation from every angle
When engaging with a customer it is vital not to focus on the rights and the wrongs but rather take time to understand the situation from their point of view, what they believe has happened and how they might feel about it.
2. Think before you speak
Simply taking a moment to stop, take a breath and think before you act instead of rushing in can make all the difference in turning a tricky situation around.
3. Empathise with others
Try to see the situation through the eyes of others rather than making assumptions that could be incorrect or judging. Consider why the customer feels the way that they do and you’ll be able to create a stronger emotional connection.
4. Don’t be afraid to say sorry
“I’m sorry” can often be difficult to say, but it can make a huge difference in a negative situation. You should acknowledge any mistakes in a meaningful way and apologise, if it is appropriate. By displaying humility and authenticity to the customer it will increase the level of trust they place in you to help resolve their situation.