How to Spark EI and CX – Igniting Empathy and Emotional Skill

If you want to deliver elevated customer experiences (CX), select people with emotional intelligence (EI) and help them develop their full potential.

As you probably know, Daniel Goleman is the principal researcher, theorist, and author on EI. His work suggests emotional intelligence is comprised of five key skill sets:

Self-awareness – Your ability to identify what you are feeling, understand your routine emotional responses, and recognize how your emotions affect your performance.

Managing Emotions – Your capacity to handle strong emotions and stay focused.

Self-motivation – Your ability to sustain effort toward your goals and rebound from adversity.

Empathy – Your understanding and response to what others are feeling.

Social Skill – The ability to influence and inspire others.

When it comes to human talent:

You can’t put in what God left out.

If you hire people with low EI capacity, you will invest a lot of time, money, and energy in developing their customer experience skills. At best, they will become average.

By contrast, if you select people with high EI talent, your training investments can help them become world-class.

There are many tools available for assessing EI. Two workplace-specific selection tools to consider are The Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) and The Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory (Genos E.I).

Assuming your company is rich with EI talent, here are FIVE tips for achieving EI growth and CX success.

1) Ask for and Provide Feedback – Model feedback-seeking behavior and offer constructive feedback where possible. Show others how to accept feedback graciously and leverage it for greater personal awareness.

2) Talk About Emotional Triggers – Share your emotional triggers and engage in discussions about the triggers of teammates. Discuss ways to help one another identify and manage triggers when they surface at work.

3) Be Interested – Strive to be interested rather than interesting. Ask questions and listen with authentic curiosity. Larry King put it this way, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”

4) Practice Optimistic Realism – Tell honest lullabies. Maintain hope and enthusiasm but live in reality. Increasing EI requires a balance of “what is” and “what can be.”

5) Discuss Motivators and Demotivators – Have conversations about factors that enhance or impede sustained effort toward a goal. Challenge barriers (internal or external), especially those that reduce enthusiasm or perseverance.

J. Freedman sums up the impact of emotional intelligence growth on personal and business success:

Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the “success” in our lives.

Here’s to your EI journey and a most prosperous life!

To learn more about ways to drive emotional intelligence and customer experience excellence, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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