Most of us will agree that customer service in the society leaves much to be desired. However, not many of us have made the connection between emotional intelligence (EQ) and the quality of customer experience or lack thereof that we receive on a daily basis. Dr. Robert K Cooper defines emotional intelligence as the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand and manage one’s emotions in a positive way to relieve stress, communicate effectively with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Interestingly, emotional intelligence differs from how we view other intellectual abilities, in that emotional intelligence is a learned not an acquired skills set. Unfortunately, there is no course of study called emotional intelligence therefore there must be a way or ways found to empower and engender a culture which foster the growth of emotional intelligence among our people.
Emotional intelligence is
the base for a host of critical skills. Among these skills sets are;
decision-making, communication, teamwork, empathy, time management, stress
tolerance, accountability, trust and customer service. Uncontrolled emotions
and stress can and does negatively impact one’s mental health and level of
productivity. This can lead to serious health problems such as, heart attack,
elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, suppress the immune system, contribute to
infertility and speed up the aging process. As a society we need to
ask ourselves how do we bridge the disconnect between the lack of attention we
pay to emotional intelligence and the education system. One method in which we can narrow or close the
gap is by way of a philosophical shift. A paradigm change is clearly needed to
embrace a move towards Constructivism. The constructivism learning theory is
based on the premise that the learner produces knowledge and associates meaning
based on his/her experiences. Among the key pillars necessary for the learner
to produce this new knowledge are assimilation and accommodation. Assimilating
causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. As
a result the individual develops new outlooks.
On the other hand, accommodation, speaks to a reframing of old
perceptions into the mental competence which already exits. Educators who
follow Piaget’s Theory of Constructivism must see themselves as facilitators,
whose role is to assist the student when it comes to their own understanding. Fascinatingly,
there is a focus and responsibility shift from that of the teacher to that of
the student as he or she learns. Educators need to move away from the simple
recall questions in conducting summative and cumulative evaluations to higher
level questions which will force the student to think and respond appropriately. Our students must be
challenged in a holistic way to become critical thinkers. It is only by adapting
such an approach we will see better customer service experiences in the long
term for all of us who are desirous of this.
In the words of the Greek
philosopher, Plato, all learning has an emotional base.