It’s no coincidence that the highest-performing agents in the contact center get the highest marks in emotional intelligence. And there can’t be one without the other. This is the key to success and the basic pillar for building a contact center environment. It must be customer-oriented and focused on emotional connections.
But hiring agents with empathy is not enough. There must be a system and a culture that makes empathy a priority in every contact center. Emotional intelligence must be at the heart of every agent’s actions, and of course, start from the top. Act on this principle to ask agents to do the same, responding and behaving appropriately, but naturally during each interaction with the customer.
And even though emotional intelligence can take different paths, there are six crucial elements:
1. Anticipate customer requests
Agents must pay attention to tone and other verbal cues so they are well equipped to handle the call in either direction. They must be able to recognize precise trends and patterns, to shorten call resolution time.
2. Provide explanations and justifications
As needed, contact center agents should ask questions to ensure they fully understand the customer’s challenge so they can properly resolve it. By providing facts, explanations, and justifications, agents can provide customers with greater context and insight, enhancing emotional connection.
3. Educate customers
Once the customer has their resolution, agents must take the interaction to the next level by offering additional information about the product or services available to help them now and in the future. Agents should look for teachable moments and opportunities to educate customers about their products, procedures, and company culture.
4. Build rapport
Rapport is the phenomenon in which two or more people feel that they are psychologically and emotionally “in tune”. Agents can start conversations with a simple “how are you?” to show interest and care. Over communication can and should be encouraged to build a connection.
5. Provide emotional support
If a customer is worried, upset, or confused, the agent must be able to recognize the mood and offer empathy and support. It’s about listening and asking the right questions. You have to have empathy for this. It helps connect with customers and encourages them to be more optimistic.
6. Offering personal information
Contact center agents shouldn’t be afraid to share some personal insights about themselves to create a connection with the customer. It is a basic tool in every agent’s kit. You can discuss everything from the weather to the city to company initiatives.
At its core, emotional intelligence is about showing a little empathy, which can go a long way toward providing great customer service.