Want to connect better with your customers? Speak to their emotions!
This is especially important right now as the world navigates an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and anxiety. The result? An increase in employee burnout and a downtrend in emotional intelligence and awareness.
So how does this affect the customer experience your employees deliver? And how is better emotional intelligence the key to elevating your business strategy?
The importance of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions to reach a resolution — so naturally it’s essential when you’re working in customer service. By better understanding and responding to emotionally charged situations, you can transform experiences to meet (and surpass) expectations.
The pandemic impact
The pandemic has transformed buying patterns. You’ll notice that older communication and sales techniques aren’t quite as effective.
After all, buyer personas have changed overnight, and this is reflected in the altered motivations that drive customers. That’s why the future belongs to businesses that refocus their attention to understand what matters and evolve their communication to resonate.
By doing so, you can make it easy for your customers to connect with your business and voice their concerns — and you can also stay in the know about any experience gaps early on.
Evolving the customer experience
By understanding the transformed customer needs and wants, you can elevate the customer experience and create a more positive impact.
This can help you identify what best resonates with your target audience and leverage insights to reach more customers and improve loyalty.
Here’s how emotional intelligence and awareness can help with your customer experience strategy:
1. Improve communication
Depending on your business, over communicating (or not communicating enough) can have a significant impact on the customer experience. By impressing the importance of emotional intelligence and awareness beyond customer support, you can create a more thoughtful customer experience every step of the way.
If you’re working in online retail, for example, sending timely updates can actually ease worry and create a more transparent approach. This shows your customers that you value their business and will provide open communication at every touchpoint.
On the other hand, when it comes to industries with the potential to generate strong emotions, such as financial services, sometimes less is better. For example, if a customer came to you for a loan approval, informing them that their background check is underway and files are being processed might just increase the anxiety. Sharing only the key updates will keep anxieties in check.
2. Ensure empathy
If you’re not taking emotions into consideration, you’re probably missing out on half of the things your customers are looking to tell you.
Train your customer support team members to better respond to emotionally charged situations and deliver resolutions. Encourage them to focus on understanding the driving factors behind these challenging interactions.
Disgruntled customers are looking for you to rectify a problem, and sometimes they just want you to acknowledge that a problem exists. The answer here is to listen and be receptive, and from there to offer a solution, or at least attempt to ease the concern until a more thorough solution can be identified. By reacting to a situation and going on the defensive, you’re likely destroying a relationship instead.
That’s why it’s important to focus on understanding and empathy — and change the conversation!
3. Strengthen the human connection
Automation is fantastic — it can make processes seamless and reduce the effort that goes into helping customers find solutions. Moreover, it’s also cost-effective.
However, providing the option of reaching out to customer support executives, especially in more stress-prone industries such as financial services, can actually have a positive impact on the overall customers experience.
Harvard Business Review’s study discovered that customer anxiety — especially in online settings — undermines trust and satisfaction, making it detrimental to the customer journey. Giving customers the option to reach out to a person, whether it’s a customer support representative or even a fellow customer, can actually ease this worry. While most people don’t actually reach out, just having the option has a positive impact.
With the world going digital, this can help all businesses elevate the customer experience. In fact, it underscores the need for customer support to evolve in an increasingly online world.
With a keen awareness of your customers’ emotional state, you can create a more nuanced experience strategy to combat stress and improve trust.
To better understand how your customers feel and what they require, it’s essential to reach out to them, keep an eye on key metrics, and ensure an open channel of communication. Track satisfaction over time, analyze customer support conversations to identify growing concerns, and include open-text questions in customer surveys to spot experience gaps you may not have noticed otherwise.
Regular checks and surveys, especially at key CX touchpoints, can generate a treasure trove of insights and help to guide your business strategy in the right direction.