Posts tagged ‘influence’

July 29, 2011

I Don’t Want It, Need It or Like It, But Now You’ve Put it Like That, I’ll Buy One

Or to be more specific, I don’t want it, need it or like it but because:

  1. I like you;
  2. you have already given me something;    
  3. lots of people I know have already bought it; and,
  4. I have already said that I think something about it is good….

 …I am going to buy it.

But why?  Why would I decide to buy something on the basis of these reasons since they don’t seem connected to the value or use I might get from the product?  

The answer seems to be, unfortunately, because I am human.

Of course, we all like to think of ourselves as rational decision makers.  If asked about how we come to our decisions to buy a specific thing, the reasons we will offer are most likely to be about an understanding of our needs and how the specific features of the product or service will meet those needs. 

 We largely believe that when we make a decision to buy, we base our choice on a rational and informed evaluation of the product, often in considered comparison to the alternatives we could have chosen.  Happily, that tends to mean that we come away from purchases pleased with our selection. 

However, evidence suggests that in reality there are other reasons, less rational and less acknowledged, which explain our purchasing decisions and whilst they are not always obvious to us, large organisations are selling us things in full knowledge of what they are. 

The 4 reasons listed at the beginning of this article are included in the 6 “weapons of influence” described by psychology Professor Robert Cialdini in his best-selling book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”.  But they are almost certainly not those we would list if asked, for example, why we signed up on the doorstep to be a regular donor to a worthy international charity (more about this later). 

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March 16, 2011

Is Staying Calm and Unemotional Exactly the Wrong Thing to do for Customer Service Employees?

Well yes, very probably, implies a new study.

This new paper by two Canadian psychologists reviews the academic literature on emotional intelligence and suggests that the ability to influence others as a result of one’s own displays of emotion is a distinct emotional ability with consequences in the workplace. 

Stephane Cote and Ivona Hideg argue that some people are better than others at showing appropriate emotions which influence the feelings, behaviour and attitudes of those around them.  http://opr.sagepub.com/content/1/1/53.full.pdf+html  

They propose that this ability to influence others through displays of emotions sits alongside other aspects of emotional intelligence that are currently better understood, such as the ability to perceive emotions or the ability to manage emotions.

Much is written about the contribution that emotional intelligence makes to the quality of customer service and academic studies show evidence of a link between various features of emotional intelligence and objectively measured job performance in customer service roles.  For example, research indicates that people who are more emotionally intelligent in terms of understanding and managing emotions, are rated higher in terms of customer service provision by senior managers (1).

However, there has been little attention focused on the role that expression of emotion plays in job performance and the authors contend that not only is it a genuine and measurable ability that is present to differing degrees in different people, but also that it is highly likely to have a direct effect, albeit moderated by other factors, on job performance.

So What Does this Mean for Customer Service Providers?

It means that customers like people who come across as positive about, and genuinely engaged in, the interaction and who seem to reflect appropriately the emotions they are experiencing.  And that because they like them, customers are likely to communicate more clearly, more warmly and more informatively, thereby making the customer service employee’s job easier. 

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