Emotions in a Call Center have a huge impact on the success or failure of a conversation. As explored in Part One of this Emotional Intelligence series, call center agents and customers, each an emotional human being, bring some level of emotional intelligence to the conversation. However, as a business manager, you have the ability to raise the emotional intelligence of your agents so that they can positively impact more of your customers.
Customer Emotions – The Good and the Bad
Suppose your customer calls your business in a happy mood. This immediately helps the agent in the performance of their job. If the customer makes this call to purchase a product she will already be positive about the product, possibly even excited. The agent will have little to do apart from recording the details of the order and suggesting related upsells that could further enhance the customer experience.
Even agents manning the Customer Service Department will notice the difference when a happy customer contacts them. Of course, most happy customers are unlikely to make a complaint at all. If they do, it is likely to be for something that is genuinely important and expressed in positive emotional manner, possibly restrained, almost apologetic, language. Of course, not all of your customers will be in a happy mood when they call your call center.
Customers will display the full range of emotions, depending on their individual situation and a multitude of events in their day-to-day lives. If customers call because a product is not working and they’re on a deadline, the customer is likely to be distressed or aggravated. A skilled agent will know exactly how to calm the customer down and solve the problem. But good agent or bad, there will be some emotional impact generated during every call made or received.
Why Phone Agents Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed
Agents with high emotional intelligence can detect a customer’s mood fairly early on in a call, and guide the conversation accordingly. These agents are often highly skilled at tailoring a conversation to match their client’s emotions producing positive call outcomes. They will not spend time endlessly and unsuccessfully trying to upsell products to the angry customer who has simply called to register a product malfunction. The skilled phone agent will make a genuine effort to work with this customer, and try to improve her mood.
In 2015 Forrester undertook research on Understanding the Impact of Emotion on Customer Experience. One of their key findings was that emotion matters more to customer loyalty than effectiveness or ease of use does. The customer will always come back to how they felt during their interaction with your phone agent. If your agent had good emotional intelligence and was able to adapt the call to improve the customer’s emotional state, then they will have succeeded in earning the customer’s loyalty.
Another key finding from that Forrester report is that if a business does not understand their customers’ emotions, then they do not understand their customers. Those agents with high emotional intelligence have the ability to handle their calls smartly demonstrating they do understand their customer. Unfortunately, not all agents have high emotional intelligence and need assistance and coaching to become more effective.
Emotional Intelligence Training
An agent who is competent in product knowledge but who lacks the ability to recognize when customers are expressing different emotions may actually harm customer relations, and in worst cases may cause customers to leave your business entirely. They will go to your competitor who can display a better understanding of their emotional wellbeing.
Your best agents will grow your business. However, emotional intelligence is to a large extent an innate ability. Agents can only learn so much, even if you train your lower performers to emulate successful traits of your better performers.
RankMiner’s Predictive voice analytics can help systematically improve the performance of every agent. By providing necessary data about emotions displayed in calls, RankMiner can help you unlock valuable emotional and behavioral information. It will not take long using a predictive voice analytics system to determine which agents are your stars and which are emotionally unaware. With Rank Miner’s predictive analytics you will be able to establish trends for particular agents, and for particular customer teams. This knowledge will allow management to train and coach each agent based on his or her individual emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is important for improving the health of calls, but RankMiner’s predictive voice analytics can make up for any deficiencies in your team’s awareness.