Most business people have heard of “emotional intelligence.” Dan Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, defines the core components of emotional intelligence (EI) as self-awareness, managing our emotions, empathy, and social skills.
A deeper look into the nature of emotional intelligence shows that the best leaders have a blend of both traditional feminine and masculine leadership traits. In his article, “Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent than Men?,” Goleman discusses this controversial topic. In turn, Beyond Philosophy considers how Goleman’s research can further our understanding of the customer experience.
In general it appears women have a stronger grasp of empathy than men. Men, on the other hand, are better at managing their distressing emotions. Both of these skills are useful in a Customer Experience; empathy when dealing with a customer complaint, managing emotions when dealing with a difficult customer. It has always been our contention that men and women are different (huge news, eh?). With apologies to the PC-brigade, it’s a fact. As such, Customer Experience should be designed differently. Gender is a critical value to evaluate customer experience.
Successful customer experiences rely on emotional touch points: the critical moments that define how a customer perceives interactions with a company or organization. Taking what we know about the differences between men and women, the next logical move is to consider how your company interacts with customers according to gender. First, are your customers mostly men or mostly women? If the majority of your customers are women, then you should model your customer experience in a way that takes account for how women perceive you.
For example, if you receive a complaint from a male customer, it requires a different approach than with a female customer. A response that relies solely on systemic solutions might appeal to a male customer more than a female customer. Furthermore, you will drive away your female customers if you use this “one-size-fits-all” approach to customer experience. Because women process the same events differently, your company needs to take a respective approach towards the sexes. A female customer with a complaint might walk away feeling better if she receives an empathetic, nurturing response rather a cut and dried set of options to solve a problem.
The ultimate fact is that men and women might ascribe different meanings to the same touch point. It’s our job to collectively understand those differences and create experiences that take them into account.