Emotion trumps reason. Every time.

What are you feeling right now? Why do you feel that way? These are questions that you should definitely think about every now and then. Especially when emotions are running high: you may be feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed, happy, successful or thankful.

When you are able to stop and observe your own emotions, you are likely to grow as a person at a rapid pace. There is a strong likelihood that you will experience some of the following changes:

You feel less distressed about stressful and sudden new situations.

You can get more done..

You feel happier.

You express more gratitude and are more likely to recognize other people’s successes.

You can identify the root causes of your problems.

You feel calmer in general.

When one of the strong emotions I mentioned above gets out of control inside your head, it will lead you to take useless actions or to do nothing at all. You need to break away from this pattern and direct your emotional energy towards finding the root causes, which will make your actions much more effective. Let’s imagine a situation where you have just noticed that your colleague is taking the easy way out when it comes to his or her work and not doing some important things, which means that you end up having to do them. This situation is likely to cause frustration. Frustration, in turn, usually leads to disliking the colleague. You want to give feedback, but for some reason you do not dare to do it. The reason is usually a combination of emotions: fear, compassion and excessive pride. Because you are not telling your colleague what you think, you also feel guilty. You knew something needed to be done, but you didn’t do it. You get back to work, but at the back of your mind there is a nagging feeling – and the situation is likely to repeat itself.

It is the same situation, but you now recognize your own feelings and know what the end result is. You notice what is happening and ask if your colleague can spare 10 minutes to talk with you. You have an honest and respectful discussion about the matter with your colleague. You tell your colleague how the things he or she did not do affect your work. Usually this causes the colleague to improve their actions, and the problem is solved. Now think about the feelings that would result from doing this. Gratitude, a sense of achievement, pride, satisfaction, peace of mind, relief. These emotions can give you an incredible energy boost, and suddenly you might find yourself once again having the energy to go to the gym after work.

The role of emotions in a supervisor’s work

For supervisors, understanding emotions can make coaching a lot easier. By recognizing your own emotions, you can more easily recognize the same emotions in other people, as well. Discussions with your employees become easier and more effective when you are good at identifying certain emotions. Once you understand how one emotion can lead to another and know roughly what to expect after a particular emotional state, it is easier to monitor the operations. As a supervisor, if you find it difficult to get an employee to remember certain instructions, you can try using emotions to your advantage. When coaching, you can aim to create a stronger emotional reaction in the employee when discussing that particular topic. This is likely to help the employee remember it better in the future.

Emotional skills and the customer experience

Recognizing emotions also helps you build better customer experiences. By monitoring customer interactions, you collect valuable data on the ways that customers react to different things. Do certain actions inspire frustration, or maybe happiness and gratitude? By recognizing different situations and the emotions they trigger you can fine-tune your organisation’s processes, instructions, systems, website and pretty much everything else to achieve the best possible customer impression. There is also an extremely simple method for measuring the customers’ emotions: NET = Net Emotional Value. To put it simply, this happens by asking the customers to describe their experience with one or two words after a customer service interaction. Before starting, you need to create word categories:

Positive words

Neutral words

Negative words

You then organize words into these groups based on your own preferences. Examples of positive words could include happy, wow, great, excellent, helpful and so on. Neutral words could include professional, competent, calm, OK and efficient. Meanwhile, sad, tired, frustrating, hurried, unpleasant and so on belong in the negative category. You then calculate the NEV using a simple equation:

The number of positive words – (minus) the number of negative words = Net Emotional Value

In practice, the easiest way to do this is by asking the customers with an SMS after the call or their visit to the store. In e-mails and chats – why not on social media, too – you can ask about this at the end of the interaction. This will give you a good overall impression of the emotions that your customers are experiencing when interacting through different channels, and you can take targeted action to improve these channels.

We hope you have a great time examining emotions!

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Ville Mikkonen

Ville Mikkonen

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