Customer Service is About Moments

It’s no secret that emotional intelligence is essential for good customer service. Being able to understand and relate to other people’s emotions is key to creating a successful conversation. But what exactly is emotional intelligence, and how can you use it to improve your customer service skills?

Here are a few tips:

1. Be aware of your own emotions.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be in tune with your own feelings before you respond to others. If you’re feeling tense or annoyed take a few deep breaths or go on a walk outside before engaging with the customer.

2. Be aware of the customer’s emotional state.

Use empathy and put yourself in their shoes to understand how they might be feeling. Listen before you speak and validate your customer’s fears and experiences. This is a difficult skill to muster when a customer is angry, but it will go a long way toward diffusing the situation.

3. Try using Chip and Dan Heath’s method for creating moments.

In their book, The Power of Moments, they detail a recipe for certain emotional experiences that have extraordinary impact. According to their work, defining moments in any industry include elevation, insight, pride, or connection. Basically, if you really want to land a sale, try creating a moment of…

Elevation: This is an experience that rises above the everyday. Break the script and do something unique and surprising that delights your customer.

Insight: Defining moments rewrite our understanding of ourselves and the world. Try telling a personal story or rephrasing your usual pitch in a creative way to help the customer “trip over the truth” and see your business from a new perspective.

Pride: These are moments of achievement or courage that capture customers at their best. Think about building customer milestones into your customer service strategy. Send a gift card when they’ve been with you for five years, send an email or card on their birthday, and send a thank-you note when they take advantage of a deal.

Connection: Defining moments are social so acknowledge the connection you’ve built with your customer and emphasize the importance of the relationship you have with them in your conversations.

(Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. The Power of Moments. Simon & Schuster, 2017.)