For those of you who ever wondered about your level of emotional intelligence: if you can convince someone of an idea in such a way as to make them think they thought of it; your EQ is high. Citing just one example….

We all know the value of soft skills: the ability to judge and quickly adapt to attitude, to easily form relationships or smooth over problems. These skills are invaluable. Psychometric personality tests exist because knowledge and experience, whilst important, aren’t the only things to look for in an employee. We all realise that the ability to network, bond, or be persuasive – but not domineering – is priceless.

Now here’s the thing. It’s pretty damn difficult to alter a person’s IQ, but EQ? That’s a different thing altogether. Businesses have been trying to improve their staff members’ EQs for years with workshops and training days, but it’s fair to say that they have their limitations with one size fits all approaches, and pigeon-holed customers.

We are all different and an employee or peer who can work out what makes us tick will always have a better chance at building a good relationship with us.

Now, here’s the thing, did you know technology can help you out?

New tech, which is progressing and developing every day, is starting to change the way we cultivate EQ. Data analytics through call listening can now study variables such as tone or pitch of voice and semantics. This can detect someone’s emotional state and advise the call handler.

Yes, this seems over simplistic but bear with it. Imagine that each call handler may answer 80 calls a day and for nearly all 80, how they make the customer feel within the first few seconds by immediately responding to or adapting to their attitude, is going to make the difference.

It’s a helpful addition and it isn’t, by far, all that the tech has to offer.

EQ works in both directions. Other useful data which can be gathered from this technology are statistics on customers’ emotional behaviour at different times of the day, days of the week or in different seasons. If data records that most customers are relaxed mid morning or furious mid evening, when is the best time to add extra staff to lower call waiting times even further?

If a new product is launched and the tech picks up an increase in negative feeling amongst customers, that’s a clear set of statistics for the leadership team to see. Likewise, if a new promotion is launched, the tech can pick up a subtle change in reception to the brand, demonstrating a positive response for the advert. The opportunity to learn about customers is immense.

The data will also obviously show how employees are doing. If the data shows spikes in either customer contentment or dissatisfaction mid conversations this suggests something about the ability of the employee, how they best work and what support they need.

As intriguing as these technological solutions are, EQ is still a quality that requires shaping with education, as opposed to being managed with vocal intonation analytics and knowing when best to call someone.

Employees, do need reminding from time to time, of best practices when it comes to such aspects of office life as dispute resolution, confrontation management and delivery of feedback. Building typical scenarios into e-Learning modules allows them to reflect on the different ways of approaching a situation, and develop their ability to deal with colleagues and customers in a manner that reduces potential bad feeling.

When an organisation is faced with the various mercurial nuances of professional life; new regulations, new technologies, new markets and so on, providing staff training on EQ can appear to be a spurious use of time.

However, poor EQ practices in an office environment can lead to feelings of resentment, disillusionment and even contempt. When there are goals and targets to be reached, these are feelings no organisation wants to have stalking the shared floor space.