A key attribute of a Customer Experience Professional

Colin Shaw
Founder & CEO
Beyond Philosophy
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Most businesses put great emphasis on how clever their people are, and test for their IQ. I have always been a great advocate to also look at Emotional Intelligence, (EQ). In my opinion EQ is one of the key attributes of a good Customer Experience professional. Why is the case? Regular readers will know over 50% of a Customer Experience is about emotions; therefore having someone with a high degree of EQ is an advantage in many ways. You will recall the five domains of EQ:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships, i.e. managing the emotions of others.

Source: http://www.businessballs.com/eq.htm

If you ‘know your emotions’, you know how you feel. This can be very useful for a Customer Experience professional when reviewing an experience. Let me give you an example.

We are often engaged to audit a company’s experience and make recommendations. We call this a Customer Mirror . Effectively we act as a Customer. Our team of Customer Experience consultants have high levels of EQ and this allows them to understand what they are feeling during this experience. We have trained them to identify why they feel that way, what are the subconscious signals that are affecting them. For example, an Insurance company in the UK asked us to undertake a mirror on their Motor claims policy. They gave us a car, we went online and took insurance out on the car and then crashed it and went through their entire claims process. We recorded the experience to play back to the senior managers later. We could show how frustrated we were when after we called their call centre to report the accident the first question we were asked was ‘What is your policy number?’ No thought for us as a person, just a mechanical question. These made us feel the company didn’t care and were just treating us as a transaction. They should have said ‘Are you OK’ which would have shown they cared for our safety. People with high levels of EQ can read their emotions and discover the root cause of why it is making them feel that way.

A good Customer Experience professional will be able to ‘recognise the emotions in others’. This is very useful both internally and externally. Externally is when the Customer Experience professional is looking at how Customers are behaving and they can go some way to interpret their emotions. In addition we all know that improving a Customer Experience means a great deal of change within the organisation. This means working across many organisational silos. Inevitably politics will come to the fore. Understand how people internally in the organisation may feel also become a key attribute. Will people see the proposal you are making to improve the experience to be a threat to them and therefore they will resist it? Understand how others feel is key.

The next aspect is managing your own emotions. The role of a Customer Experience professional can be very difficult. For example they may need to manage their frustration at the lack of engagement from people in the organisation, or make sure you do not become stressed at the size of the task ahead. At the same time the Customer Experience professional needs to remain motivated. Tenacity is a key attribute of any Customer Experience improvement.

Finally, working cross functionally means you need to be good at ‘managing relationships’ at all levels in the organization. The Customer Experience professional needs to have the ability to get things done without being seen as a political threat. They need to show they have a balanced approach to all parts of the organisation and be even handed.

All in all having a high degree of EQ is a distinct advantage in identifying people suitable to recruit good Customer Experience professionals. There are various psychological tests that you can use to see how emotionally intelligent you and your team are.

If you have any contributions and nominations for a recruitment expert to be involved, please click here. We’ll analyse and collate the results and provide a summary post in a couple of weeks. Please also add your full name if you wish to be included in the name checks as your full name won’t appear unless I am not connected with you. Let’s see how this experiment works!

About Colin Shaw

Colin Shaw

 Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of worlds first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Beyond Philosophy has a proven track record. They provide consulting, specialised research & training from Tampa, Florida and London, England. Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX


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