Emotional Intelligence = Customer Loyalty (and Less Stress!)

In continuing our focus on managers and owners, we wanted to include Emotional Intelligence in our Leadership Series.

Emotions can play a big role in helping or hindering managers’ attempts at forging strong bonds and having better communication with team members, colleagues, partners, suppliers, and clients.

Think about your typical workday. Do you walk in with a plan for what your company needs to accomplish that day? Are there times when, after the first 10 minutes, that plan is out the window? How do you handle that? How do you deal with the stress? How do help your team members manage an ever-increasing workload?

If you take the time to understand the feelings and emotions of others and of yourself, then you can reduce stress, lessen conflict, improve relationships with others and be more productive. That’s what emotional intelligence is all about.

What is emotional intelligence?

“Whether in the C-suite or on the front lines, emotionally intelligent employees are a critical force driving innovation and enhanced customer experiences that come from a strong culture of empowerment,” said Christian H. Clerc, President of Worldwide Hotel Operations for The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

But what exactly is EI? In general, intelligence is the capacity for reasoning, understanding new information, learning things and being mentally active. But emotional intelligence is a specific type of intelligence and is composed of four competencies:

  • self-awareness — accurately sensing and identifying your feelings
  • self-regulation — managing your responses to emotions by understanding them and using that understanding to direct your behavior
  • self-motivation — directing the power of your emotions toward a purpose that will motivate and inspire you
  • empathy — understanding and sharing another person’s experiences and emotions and responding with sensitivity and compassion.

Mastering these four competencies will pave the way to the fifth component: effective relationships.

Building strong relationships

Clerc attributes a great part of The Four Seasons Hotels’ success to “recognizing EI as a critical success factor and by embedding it within our corporate culture.” He suggests that the corporate status quo be disrupted “by a renewed, unabashed focus on the power of emotional intelligence.”

“Emotionally intelligent employees build strong bonds with customers and enhance organizational performance and profitability,” he says.

Consequently, Clerc’s team worked with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services to conduct research among organizations around the world. The results were contained in a research report: The EI Advantage: Driving Innovation and Business Success through the Power of Emotional Intelligence.

The study found that only 18% of its respondents strongly believed their organizations had engrained EI in their cultures. However, the report said the companies that emphasized EI reported higher levels of productivity and employee engagement than those that ignored or minimized it.

In fact, the study showed emotionally intelligent organizations reported significantly stronger customer experiences (37% vs. 8%) and loyalty (40% vs. 12%). “This advantage gives them an innovation premium through stronger customer loyalty and profitability,” it noted.

Clerc hopes the study’s findings will encourage company leaders “to consider how emotional intelligence can boost employee and customer satisfaction, loyalty, and trust—and perhaps ignite a global EI conversation that firmly puts corporate culture and, fundamentally, people at the center of business progress and prosperity.”

The Emotional Intelligence course in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE®) program can help you boost your emotional intelligence and build strong and effective relationships with your team members, clients, and colleagues. Enroll today.