In addition to providing a solution to a client’s personal or financial problem, how do you think your company’s products and services impact that person? You may think that a friendly demeanor or taking the time to meet with a client face-to-face is insignificant, but the effort can actually resonate with him or her on an emotional level. Additionally, being able to make a client’s day can have a positive effect on your employees as well.
In a SAGE publication on Human Relations, researchers from the University of Western Australia and Carleton University in Canada studied how employee-client interactions affect both parties on an emotional level and what consequences that has for customer satisfaction and employees’ well-being. They identified instances of “emotional contagion, where the positive emotions of the sales employees, or those of the customer, influenced the emotion of the other.”
Employees who participated in the study wrote diaries tracking their interactions with clients on a daily basis, which were separated into five kinds of interactions: Event-emotion, event-appraisal (when the team member feels he or she had an influence on the client outcome), appraisal-emotion, negative-event-positive-emotion and emotional contagion relationships.
The way clients and employees interact with each other sets up a cycle. If one feels happy, that will influence the other’s reaction. If a client comes in with a negative attitude but the employee is able to find a solution, that team member is likely to feel proud and worthwhile. These and other experiences can contribute to an overall positive attitude for employees and clients alike.
How do you strive to create a pleasant, positive experience for your employees and your clients? Have you created a client relationship management system in which both parties are engaged, or is one group’s well-being diminished in favor of the other?
The process for ensuring a positive client experience when clients interact with your employees is twofold.
- You must hire talented people who don’t just pay lip-service to client relationship management – they genuinely value it and believe in its contribution to business success.
- Encourage employees to put forward a happy and enthusiastic demeanor when working with clients.
This can be achieved by creating a customer-centric corporate culture, leading by example and by reinforcing the message with verbal reminders that you are in the business of serving people. The products you provide are secondary to the pursuit of service excellence.