Service & Emotional Intelligence


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The best service professionals have intuition that enables them to quickly size up both a situation and the people involved.  Experts refer to this phenomenon as emotional intelligence. 

The four key behaviors utilized by emotionally intelligent service professionals areawareness, inquiry, listening and discernment. 

These four behaviors assist when serving both external and internal customers.  How? Keep reading. 

It is a service professional’s keen awareness that prompts inquiry, which allows a customer to answer or vent so the service professional can listen and discern. 

The word, discern, means to grasp or to analyze through careful understanding.  The prefix “DIS” is usually associated with words in which something is taken apart for greater comprehension.  Words such as disconnect, dismember or dismantle come to mind. 

Transitioning from awareness to inquiry implies asking questions.  The best question sentences begin with the words, “Help me.” 

Therefore, the question might sound like this: “Help me understand what happened?” or “Help me by sharing the one feature about this unit that interests you most?”  The tone of voice and non-verbal behavior must also convey your sincere interest in helping others.  

These four important simple yet profound behaviors can boost customer service and enable employees to be more successful. 

We all seek success in life, both personally and professionally.  And successful people are not without problems, they’re people who have learned to solve problems. 

In all interpersonal events, objectivity is mandatory for effective conflict resolution.  I use the word objectivity to differentiate between what a person feels and what is really happening.  The word objectivity is easy to remember, when you see that the word “object” is embedded within it. 

An object is something tangible – the opposite of feelings and emotions.  Since an object is something you can see, then visibility becomes paramount.  But sometimes, a person’s subjective view of themselves or an event is inaccurate 

People or events that are subjective are open to interpretation.  They are influenced by or based on personal beliefs or feelings, rather than facts. 

And this subjective stance can result in a mental blind spot or scotoma during which a person is unable to see personality traits in themselves that are obvious to others.  Scotoma’s worst manifestation is that it inhibits our ability to be objective and see the big picture.  

I have encountered many service professionals who rationalize to themselves that when customers complain, it’s OK to get defensive or to retaliate, which is selfish and unprofessional behavior.  Service professionals who retaliate with a snippy tone-of-voice or apathy are only thinking about themselves – this is counterproductive.  

When I coach phone professionals using their call recordings, scotoma becomes real.  The phone professional, upon hearing their voice usually says, “Is that how I sound?” or “I didn’t know I talked so fast?” or “If only I would have waited and let that customer finish his sentence, then he would have not become so frustrated.”  

Patience pays big dividends because patience helps a person to suspend their anger.  Being patient also gives you more time to think constructively during conflict. Years ago, I learned that people are not punished for their anger, they are punished by their anger.   

Getting angry is a losing game. 

Objective customer service professionals master the four behaviors of awareness, inquiry, listening and discernment.  In addition, they maintain perspective, minimize scotoma and consider doing what results in more cooperation and a mutually beneficial outcome. 

Steve Coscia
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Posted In: Customer Service

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