How to Improve Service by Leveraging EQ
Over 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated.
That’s right. Seven out of ten Americans say they are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent service and with whom they feel connected.
One study reported that 86% of consumers in the US said they stopped doing business with a company because of a bad client experience. Of this percentage, 55% cited a company’s failure to resolve their problems in a timely manner.
There’s no getting around it. Service—either good or bad—is an emotional experience.
Your customer contracts with you in the hope that you can fulfill your promise, but hope deferred is problematic.
Anytime you sell something, you create an expectation in somebody’s mind. For that reason, you have to be intentional about the emotional experience that follows. And this emotional management piece is where most people and organizations fall short.
They hook the customer with the intention of meeting customer needs but give little thought to the comprehensive customer experience. Yet if 70% of a customer’s decision to purchase (or purchase again) is based on how the customer feels, you’d better have a plan in place to manage their emotional experience.
Which Comes First—Thinking or Feeling?
If you’re wired to be more rational and find yourself resisting all this talk of emotion, I get it.
But consider this: emotion fires before reason in the human brain, even for logical thinkers.
When you deliver good or bad service, an emotion fires in the customer’s brain before a thought. Often that emotion will trump whatever thoughts may follow. If seven out of ten customers are willing to spend more money with companies and organizations they feel connected to, then InSPIRED leaders must capitalize on that reality.
By the way, this emotional awareness doesn’t only apply to external customers, but to internal customers, as well. Yes, your peers, coworkers, direct reports, and colleagues have the choice to either buy what you’re saying or not.
Seven out of ten of your peers, coworkers, direct reports, and colleagues are willing to buy what you are selling, if—and this is a big if—they feel emotionally connected with you. That means you must give them respect and serve them well, too.
3 Questions to Check Your Service Experience
You can start evaluating your customer service experience with the three questions that follow:
1) How healthy is service inside your organization right now?
If you find morale is low, it could be that your level of service is the reason. Rather than reflexively blame your team members, consider these tips to serve them well:
- Don’t saturate them with change.
- Use effective change management.
- Provide effective project management.
- Plan and communicate those plans.
- Be consistent in attitude and action.
- Listen to your direct reports who are probably closer to the customer needs.
- Care for your team rather than insist they sprint endlessly.
2) How healthy is your team service to those outside your organization?
Of course, your customers will let you know if you aren’t serving them well. But you may need to be intentional about asking them before it’s too late.
Remember, there is a significant gap between the level of service most companies think they deliver and what customers think they receive.
Pay attention to what your customers tell you and use their feedback to architect a better, more intentional experience on an ongoing basis.
3) As an individual leader, where is your level of service to others right now?
It’s one thing to serve well organizationally, but every organization is made up of individuals, and you are one of those individuals.
This means you need to constantly check your own service level and commit to making continual improvements. How your external customers experience you and how your internal customers react to you will tell the story of your service and define your personal leadership brand.
Take Back Your Influence
Perhaps instead of “The customer is always right” we should say “The customer is always feeling.” Service truly is an emotional experience. And once the emotions have been affected, it’s difficult to change them through reason or explanation.
This key is easy to miss, but so powerfully impacts every part of your leadership relations, including—but not limited to—other members of your team, employees and business partners.
You are always making an emotional impression with your service. And while you can’t control everyone’s feelings, you are responsible for the service that influences them.
Will it be positive or negative? You decide!