There’s an assumption that an emotionally intelligent leader is going to be better at leadership. As if emotional intelligence is the magic lightning rod that confers the power of effectiveness onto and into a leader. Now, I am a huge fan of building EI competence, but, where it ends, often, is at a primal awakening of self-awareness and emotional reckoning. Merely shining a spotlight onto one’s emotional strengths, weaknesses and empathy ranking, without significant transformative action. Leadership intelligence needs to be translated from an emotionally-intelligent “aha” epiphany, into an action-intelligent movement within the business. Time to go past the bells and whistles of the buzz.
In other words, the question of how, in light of such emotional insight, leaders can begin to utilize their collective genius to drive more customer-intelligent actions. I’ve held the view for a long time, that the boardroom has been too far removed from the shop floor, causing a deep disconnect that is reflected in superficial efforts at improving both the employee and the customer experience. How can significant change be greenlit if executive leaders are too distant to understand the roots of the problem of absentee service excellence?
I don’t think that it`s too much to expect that when leaders become more widely intelligent, more intelligent businesses should follow. One thing should lead to another. I would think that intelligence prompts the right questions to be asked and for the answers to become solutions that are carried forward in the form of changed circumstances.
Leadership intelligence needs to be translated from an emotionally-intelligent “aha” epiphany, into an action-intelligent movement within the business.
In my line of work as a service transformation consultant, it’s easy to recognize a business that takes its mandate to drive customer-intelligent actions seriously. Leaders are “chief customer experience officers” who ensure that their businesses harness every opportunity to deliver the level of experience that turns customers into raving fans.
These businesses focus on all sides of the customer experience. The emotional side, because they understand that customers make decisions that are both emotional and rational. The transaction side, because ease, speed and simplicity drive customer convenience and choice. The channel side, because customers want to choose the way that they conduct research, interact and pay, so having a full menu of payment options is critical. The design side, because customers want to individualize their experience, so being able to switch from self-service to human assistance and back to machine support at will, is a big attraction. Let’s look at some customer-intelligent actions that emerge from intelligent businesses.
The pandemic has shown that customers expect businesses to swing into a space of unprecedented care. For businesses, this means identifying blind spots in customer intelligence and answering the question, “How much do we know and how much deep data are we missing about our customers?” The answer to this question will enable a business to extract and massage customer data to the point of being able to predict next level needs, even before those needs are known to the customer.
The pandemic has shown that customers expect businesses to swing into a space of unprecedented care. For businesses, this means identifying blind spots in customer intelligence and answering the question, “How much do we know and how much deep data are we missing about our customers?”
A case in point would be the slippers Lego created for its customers who had to navigate the minefield of Lego pieces strewn all over their floors. If you have ever stepped on a Lego brick, you would know that it feels like fire going through your feet. When Lego introduced the slippers, parents breathed a collective sigh of relief……..no more pain. This is an example of a business producing a product that their customers didn’t even know that they needed.
Strong customer support is another area where intelligent businesses are heavily resourced. Intelligent leaders greenlight a “search and destroy” strategy that mandates the elimination of any inhibitor that stands in the way of customer success. This removes anyone and anything that causes friction along the customer’s journey and clears the way for the right people and the right technology to provide solutions on-demand and across omni-channels.
This is the era where strategies that cement strong customer relationships and build customer confidence in business brands means moving away from delivering lazy service and stepping into the science of service excellence.
Intelligent leaders greenlight a “search and destroy” strategy that mandates the elimination of any inhibitor that stands in the way of customer success.
Opportunities abound to capture, excite and retain customers. But only for those businesses that are led by leaders who are committed to investing in the effort that connects intention to action.