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Technology IQ vs. EQ to Improve Customer Service

by Scott M. Lewis

Part Two

As a service based technology company, we have to be aware that our clients don’t typically call us when they are in a happy state of mind. When they call they are having issues, they have tried a multitude of different things to fix it on their own, and the frustration has overwhelmed them. It is this point, which is critical, that our people answering the phone have a high sense of awareness of the EQ state of the person calling. Customers who feel that we are being attentive to their situation, showing empathy to their frustration, and demonstrate a high sense of urgency in finding a resolution to their issue, will typically reverse and calm their EQ state of mind. If that person does not feel our sense of urgency or feels that their needs are not important or less important than other priorities, then it is easy for their EQ state of mind to escalate and to set preconceived pattern for future interactions. So, as a service based business it is critical that we have continuous EQ awareness training, that we educate our people on the importance of how to be sensitive to the EQ state of others and how to defuse and turn that interaction into a positive situation, leaving the client with a positive expectation of their next interaction.

At this point, I think we need to explore how to identify the traits of what is considered low emotional intelligence. This is important because these are traits that people can be coached on and can improve upon. At the same time, it is part of their underlying personality. If the person is open to improvement, then they can improve. However, this is like a tiger trying to change its strips, so the improvement can be slow and difficult. According to Psychology Today’s Dr. Ronald E. Riggio PhD1,  he identifies the following 12 traits of people who lack emotional intelligence, or EQ, within their personalities.

• Unable to control their emotions. This basically translates to people who struggle to control their emotions, both negatively and positively. This could mean lashing out in anger or being over the top giddy for no apparent reason. This doesn’t mean that people who get angry are emotionally disconnected; it is when there is no apparent reason for lashing out or being over the top giddy. So, with this one you have to understand or be able to identify the reason as to why they are upset or giddy.

• Being clueless about your feelings. Having a low EQ means that you have limited ability to read others body language and voice tone to help you determine the EQ status of others. If you’re unable to interpret these physical signs, then that might be an area of improvement. This is because people communicate and express emotions with their bodies and voice tones as they do with words.    

• Can’t maintain friendships. Typically, people with low EQ’s don’t have strong lasting friendships or many acquaintances. If you have someone at work that isolates themselves, doesn’t want personal interactions or doesn’t participate in the company chatter, then that might be someone that has a low EQ and could be in need of coaching.

• Always has a poker face. The ability to interpret EQ for others is important and is just as integral as the capability to access and express your EQ state in a positive manner in order to indicate your EQ awareness. In any personal interaction it is important to be able to interpret the EQ of the other party. It makes people feel that you are paying attention, what they are saying is important and you are giving the priority it is due.

• Is emotionally inappropriate. Being emotionally inappropriate is another key factor in the understanding of individual EQ status, things like not caring that jokes hurt the feelings of others or being sensitive to the outcome of those jokes. Not caring about the social outcome of on an emotional level around emotional expression.

• Can’t cope with sadness. Individuals that have a low EQ status have a difficult time in dealing with sadness of others and express little empathy to those who are sad and their situation.

• Is emotionally tone deaf. Humans being emotional beings express a lot of our emotions through body language and the voice tone that we use to express how we feel in a particular situation. People who are unable to detect and relate to the fluctuation in a person’s tone of expression.

• Can’t really be sympathetic. Empathy and sympathy for others is a key to people who have low EQ. Someone who has a real issue with relating to the feeling of empathy and sympathy for others or responding without regard to the EQ status of others is a core indicator of someone with low EQ.

• Has no volume control. Emotional volume control or lack of emotional volume control could be a sign of a person with low EQ.

• Is completely unmoved by emotional movies. A sign of low EQ could be based on how individuals react to movies. The type of movies is less important than the reaction to the story line and someone’s ability to react to the movie.

• Trivializes emotions in general. People or co-workers that often downplay the emotional interactions of humans have a low EQ awareness. They may often make light of people’s emotions or dismiss them altogether or joke about someone’s situation without showing empathy for the overall situation.

• Doesn’t get the dog. Dogs are very social animals and their emotional connection to their owners is very well documented. If you have someone in your organization that seems to be unaware of the social aspect of dogs or is unaware of that type of relationship, it could be a sign of a low EQ meter.

Why is identifying and understanding low EQ indicators important? In service based industries, personal relationship building is a key to success. Being able to assess, relate and manage customers EQ state of mind is critical to a successful outcome. Knowing who in your organization has low EQ traits could be important to how they interact with clients and their ability to manage IQ versus EQ.

An example of someone in a heightened EQ state interacting with a high IQ personality could go something like this: Customer has a problem, is frustrated and emotionally on a high due to the situation. They walk into the helpdesk and are trying to explain what the situation is to the helpdesk technician who is in a low EQ state at the time due to their emotional disconnection to the problem. In the process of explaining the situation, the technician turns their attention to their monitor and starts typing on the keyboard to try and determine what might be causing this person’s problem. People in a high state of EQ will interpret the technician turning away as them disengaging from the situation, not paying attention or not showing empathy or sympathy for their problem. These actions will further heighten the customers EQ state, which may result in them becoming louder and more aggressive toward the situation. This type of situation is why development of EQ awareness is so important, along with the skills on how to lower the EQ state of others.

Scott Lewis is the President and CEO of Winning Technologies Group of Companies.  Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry and is a nationally recognized speaker and author on technology subjects. Scott has worked with large and small business to empower them to use technology to improve work processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Scott has designed thousands of systems for large, medium and small companies and Winning Technologies goal is to work with companies on the selection, implementation, management and support of technology resources. Learn more about Winning Technologies at www.winningtech.com or call 877-379-8279


Submitted 5 years 197 days ago
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