It’s particularly applicable as it relates to the relationship between management and customer service. Essentially, if a customer-service representative isn’t happy in their role, that makes it all the more challenging for that employee to dispense cheerful, helpful suggestions to miffed customers.
On the surface, the solution seems obvious: Make sure customer-service representatives are happy. Further, do everything in your power to teach employees tasked with interacting with customers to be empathetic and to let the not-so-pleasant interactions roll off their back. And though that may sound simple, the reality isn’t. It’s very much like teaching a dog new tricks. If empathy and an ability to remain calm in an uncomfortable situation isn’t part of an employee genetic make-up, it’s doubtful that predisposition will mutate.
Rather than try to train customer-service reps to be something they’re not, it’s time and money better spent on trying to on-board customer service representatives who already possess formidable people-person skills. There are any number of pre-hire personality and behavioral assessments (e.g., The EQ-I 2.0, The Workplace Big Five and The Predictive Index, among them) that’ll help ascertain fit, but savvy candidates can manipulate responses to increase employability. Better is to be face to face with candidates and see what experience they have with dealing with hostile situations and even, if possible, put them through mock situations where they’re forced to deal with disparate, combustible issues to see how they react.
Ultimately, organizations need to look for individuals who are energized by the opportunity to make things right for the end customer. This will allow employees to use their strengths and find their work more enjoyable, which will result in better customer interactions and loyalty.