Emotional intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence (EQ) – and what it’s got to do with customer service

When it comes to the outsourcing of customer service, it’s easy to get lost in the nitty gritty of finding and enlisting the best outsourcing company. And there’s nothing wrong with that – you should do your research properly and worry about the details, as we’ve argued before. But it’s important not to forget about the continuous work you can invest in to improve and boost the effects of your customer service team. One such aspect is emotional intelligence, or EQ.

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient and abbreviated as EQ, is the ability to read and empathise with other people and control your own feelings and mannerisms in order to communicate with others in a way that puts them at ease. Empathetic listening, emotional regulation and adaptability are all part of emotional intelligence.

Why is EQ relevant to customer service?

Being able to listen and communicate in a way that makes other people feel at ease, naturally, is a powerful skill in customer service contexts. Uncertainty and doubt tend to make customers run a mile, so a customer service representative with a high EQ can truly be worth their weight in gold.

Indeed, studies have shown that emotional intelligence efforts can help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, and some argue that there are very convincing ways to calculate quite an impressive return on investment (ROI) in EQ-focused strategies.

Read about how emotional intelligence and AI are shaping the future of customer service.

What do EQ strategies involve?

Awareness of the importance of EQ is growing in customer service circles, but EQ strategies are far from commonplace still. Organisations that do invest in emotional intelligence strategies tend to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Emotional intelligence training – equipping customer service agents with the tools and techniques required to boost their EQ, including listening skills and emotional regulation.
  • Monitoring and evaluation – continuously assessing the EQ levels in a team and providing feedback to help customer support representatives refine their EQ skills.
  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing – boosting the team spirit among customer service agents to encourage the sharing of experiences and insights related to emotional intelligence.

Measuring the success of EQ efforts

So how do you know if it’s working? In our experience, the change will be noticeable – but start monitoring some metrics and you won’t have to take our word for it.

Make sure to continuously measure the Customer Effort Score (CES), a metric monitoring the ease of customer interaction, where low scores indicate smooth customer experiences.

Also introduce an Empathy Index among your KPIs to evaluate customer service representatives’ ability to connect with customers and foster the kinds of emotional bonds that boost customer retention.

It’s been argued that the return on investment (ROI) in EQ development can be determined by dividing the revenue gain by the cost of the EQ investment and multiplying it by 100. We’re not ready to vouch for that one just yet, but we’re certainly keeping a very interested eye on it!

Unlocking growth opportunities

We often get frustrated when the conversation on outsourced customer service boils down to nothing but cost. Not because we don’t understand the need to keep costs down, but because we know that looking at customer service as merely an expense is a huge missed opportunity.

The potential and value of EQ is one conversation that helps to demonstrate how customer service can be a hugely effective sales tool and more of a holy grail than a necessary evil. By investing in EQ training and development, you can unlock growth opportunities and make your outsourced customer service the best investment you’ve ever made.

Do you want help from a team of EQ superheroes?