Digitalization demands emotional intelligence in customer relationships

That’s why it is important to develop emotional intelligence!

The EY study “Digitalization in German SMEs” from February 2019 exemplifies this:

For 66% of companies, digital technologies play a medium to very large role in their business model (previous year 60%).

Of these companies, 69% say that customer relationships are entirely or partially digital.

This means that contacts are less personal on one hand. On the other, they are certainly more frequent, immediate and often more public. Customers expect quick answers and solutions to problems. They want simplicity and flexibility (photo attachments, voice messages, few clicks). And they are more willing to complain in public! Face-to-face communication is becoming increasingly rare.

But how do companies support their employees in dealing with these new requirements?

Emotional intelligence helps to better understand complex and subtle signals

In digital communication many signals are missing, which in conversations we gather from facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice. This makes it much more difficult to interpret the intention and content of communication correctly. It requires a lot of sensitivity and empathy – in short: emotional intelligence. And you can learn this!

How do you develop emotional intelligence?

For employees in companies – especially when they are in contact with customers – it is essential to take the customer’s perspective. This is where Design Thinking can be put to good use. Simulations, role plays, and experiential learning are great tools as well. As are collegial case consultation and feedback.

Practice, practice, practice!

Like any skill or art, you learn emotional intelligence through practice and many repetitions – coupled with direct feedback and opportunities for improvement.

Training that only deals with the technological aspects of new forms of communication thus cannot be effective.

Both are necessary to make customer communication effective: emotional intelligence and technical competence! (This is how we do it at DEX)

What are your experiences with this?