L’Oreal escalate our ability to acquire more

L’Oreal learned
that sales assistants who were hired for their high levels of emotional
intelligence, each sold $91,000 annually more than salespeople selected through
a conventional employment procedure (Forbes,
2017). Emotionally intelligent salespeople had a 63% lower turnover rate
during the first year of employment (People
Metrics, 2017). Joshua Freedman (2012)
believed, that to be effective, today’s businesses must connect with people on
a personal level?—?understand
what drives people. This ‘connecting’ requires significant levels of emotional intelligence,
specifically empathy: the capacity to sense how others feel and connect at an
emotional level.

 

1.     What is Emotional Intelligence?

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1.1  Emotional Intelligence

Relationships
are important to success in business (Enderle, 2002). The quality of business relationships determine the
achievements of a business. Emotional intelligence has become an important
aspect of business management, because of its key role in defining
relationships (Palethorpe, 2006). When we escalate
our effective use of emotional intelligence, we will escalate our ability to acquire
more firm, trusting relationships with customers (TD, 2017).

 

Chi-Sum Wong and Kenneth Law (2002) define emotional intelligence as
the
capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle
interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. The
term ’emotional intelligence’ was coined by John Mayer and Peter Salovey (1993), which they broke down into four
branches. These consisted of:

·       Identifying emotions on a nonverbal level

·      
Using
emotions to guide cognitive thinking

·      
Understanding
the information emotions convey and the actions emotions generate

·      
Regulating
one’s own emotions, for personal benefit and for the common good

 

1.2  Daniel Goleman

In the 1900s, even though conventional
classifications of intelligence stressed cognitive aspects, for example, memory
and problem-solving, several significant researchers in the intelligence field
of study had started to identify the importance of going beyond usual types of
intelligence – IQ (Andrews, 2004). In 1920, E.L.
Thorndike defined ‘social intelligence’ as the skill of understanding others (Landy, 2005). Howard Gardner (1983) considered the notion of
multiple intelligences, where he said interpersonal intelligence – the capability
to understand intentions, motivations and desires of other people, and
intrapersonal intelligence – the capacity to comprehend oneself, to appreciate your
own feelings, fears and motivations.

 

However,
it is believed that Goleman lead the way in defining and popularising the
vitality of emotional intelligence (IHHP,
2017). He claimed that current classifications of intelligence needed to be
revised. IQ was still important, but intellect alone was no guarantee of proficiency
in distinguishing emotions or the emotional expressions of others. It took an exclusive
form of intelligence, Goleman said, to process emotional information and use it
effectively — whether to enable good personal decisions, to resolve disagreements
or to motivate oneself and others (TED,
2017).

Goleman (1995)
believed that emotional intelligence could be broken down into five main
divisions. These included –

·       Emotional self-awareness — knowing what you are feeling at any given time and
understanding the impact those moods have on others

·      
Self-regulation — controlling or redirecting your emotions;
anticipating consequences before acting on impulse

·      
Motivation — utilising emotional factors to achieve goals, enjoy
the learning process and persevere in the face of obstacles

·      
Empathy — sensing the emotions of others

·      
Social skills — managing relationships, inspiring others
and inducing desired responses from them

 

Using
these new divisions, he created the following framework, which highlights the
dependence of each emotionally intelligent characteristic on developing and
building relationships (Goleman, 2010).
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional
abilities are not native talents, but rather learned aptitudes that need to be
worked on and can be developed to attain exceptional performance. People are
born with a general emotional intelligence that governs their potential for learning
emotional competencies (Seemiller, 2017).

 

Emotional intelligence is not always recognised in the
research community. Goleman’s framework has been criticised in the research
literature as being merely ‘pop psychology’. However, now emotional
intelligence is considered by many to be a highly important framework particularly
for businesses (Grant, 2017).

1.3  Levels of Emotional Intelligence

People
with high levels of emotional intelligence can work well under pressure and
because they can understand other people’s emotions, it is easier for them to
get along with others, which makes them a good team player as well as a leader (Akila,
2011). Those
who are emotionally intelligent are also effective communicators because they
can accomplish their emotions while interacting with others. Their capacity to
listen well makes them more sympathetic to others needs (Matthews, 2011).

 

Open-mindedness
and empathy help emotionally intelligent people to adapt to change—something
that is prominent in any business or social setting (Austin, 2012). Emotionally intelligent people make strong leaders
because they can make choices based on fact and careful calculation that take
into consideration others views. Most importantly with customer relations
however, they can connect with others emotionally, which helps build trust in
any relationship (HBR, 2017). For
someone to be emotionally intelligent they should be able to diversify,
recognise difference and communicate to all people – regardless of age, gender,
sexuality, race or other characteristics
(Lombardo, 2017).

 

These
attributes have a direct connection with customer experiences in retail. Staff
that show high levels of emotional intelligence when communicating with
customers are more likely to have a successful encounter. High emotional intelligence
and therefore better customer service, vastly improves the performance of
retailers.

 

1.4  Customer Service

Emotional intelligence has
been a highly talked about area in customer service in recent years, as
businesses realise the significance of customer-business relationships and
their correlation with success and profit (Christopher,
1991). Steve Jobs believed every business should start with the quality of
its customer experience and work back towards a product. Per
the MSPA (2014) over 50,000 mystery shopping trips are carried out each
month in the UK, correlating with a huge increase in companies trying to
recognise where they are going wrong with customer service (Guardian, 2014).
Gutek, B. A. (1995) discussed the difference between a relationship and
an encounter with a customer, she stated that worthy customer service will
create an emotional connection and rapport with a customer in a way that no
other channel can – an idea supported by Gagliano and Hathcote (1994),
as well as, Robert F. Hurley (1998). Bad customer service can lead to losing customers, price sensitivity and
even reduced potential custom (Help Scout, 2017). Customer experience is
the cumulative impact – both emotional and practical (Soudagar, 2012).
Therefore, a successful emotional connection with a customer is created by
using emotional intelligence (Leemon, 2016).

Thompson (2014) created five customer-centric
habits that are reliant on emotional
intelligence, because they all require good self and social awareness from
employees to ensure they have good communication skills. These involve taking
the customer through difference stages as they shop, resulting in delight or
good service. A good emotional connection, and therefore good customer service,
can be created if staff use his directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.5 Emotional Intelligence in
Retail

An
example of a retailer using emotional intelligence to better improve customer
service is Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee – no reasonable person would
pay that much for just coffee (Forbes,
2017). Ask any Starbucks executive what they sell and they will tell you it
is customer service (Target Market,
2017). Starbucks hires thousands of people every week and most have never
had any substantial work experience. Starbucks employees undergo rigorous
training in how to recognise and respond to customer needs (Duhigg, 2012). 

 

Starbucks
calls it their LATTE method (Dostal,
2017) –

·      
Listen – Starbucks baristas first listen to the customers’
problem,

·      
Acknowledge the complaint,

·      
Take Action to solve the problem,

·      
Thank the customer for their patience, then

·      
Explain why the problem occurred

 

Regardless
of the training framework the lesson is the same. Know ahead of time that the
negative situation will occur, plan for it and know your response (Fowler, 2017).

 

Other retailers who
have openly used emotional intelligence to improve their customer service
consist of; NEXT – Simon Wolfson (2017) promotes the importance of the hearts and minds
of his customers, and Ford –  Alan
Mulally (Nisen, 2017) stated that
the most important quality for a business to have is interpersonal relationships.

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