In my experience, to achieve complete embedment these areas then need to be addressed:
Creating an emotional connection requires self-awareness. If an individual cannot recognise how their behaviour impacts upon the relationship, or modify their approach based on how their customer is communication/behaving, then this is detrimental.
Therefore, helping people to understand the impact of their words, style of communication, and, most importantly, listening, allows them to use this to their advantage.
Head, Heart, Stomach
There’s much research about the power of the ‘little brain’ within your stomach. Here, over 100m neurons can be found which, according to BBC Health, is the same number within a cat’s brain.
These neurons allow the stomach to stay in contact with the brain, through the vagus nerves, which often influence our emotional state. When people use language such as ‘It doesn’t feel right’, this is your stomach telling you to listen.
Creating an emotional connection requires an individual to be empowered to make the right decisions in that moment, and for leaders to wholeheartedly support this.
When these stomach emotions are combined with those found in the head and the heart, this is when you experience a true emotional connection to something or someone.
Only with total trust can great service flourish. Creating an emotional connection requires an individual to be empowered to make the right decisions in that moment, and for leaders to wholeheartedly support this.
Empowerment as it used to be had boundaries, yet the more you put up barriers, the more concerned employees will be about following a process and less likely to build a connection. They will be too focused on the limitations, rather than listening and understanding the person before them.
I advocate free reign and recommend using values as the moral compass. If you trust people, provide them with great training so they understand the values and, most importantly, what they mean in practice then, more often than not, they will make the right decision.
What sits around all of this is open, honest dialogue so people feel they can make decisions and share them without having to hide. If they know it’s transparent, and they aren’t going to be reprimanded, then they will have more confidence in their next interaction.
The minute people are chastised for something that didn’t fit the process, then all trust is lost. I encourage a mentoring/coaching approach; whereby together there’s a review of the decision against the values and a clear understanding of the thinking behind it.
Skill of the facilitator
The facilitator’s role is to create long-lasting change in behaviour. To do so they need to listen and create stories which help people understand the impact.
Being flexible is crucial; responding to the dynamics of the team and being able to adjust the message so that every single learner in the room understands what an emotional connection is and how they can achieve this in their role.
To understand emotional connections, you need to experience them. People need to immerse themselves in it, so the delegate journey must be considered to ensure, within the training, people are having an amazing customer experience.
Consider delegates’ arrival, the welcome, dietary requirements, their onward journey, their follow-up back in the business. Get to know people by name, network with them. All of that is the emotional experience that we should teach. For some, this can create a magical ‘ah-ha’ moment when they’ve suddenly realised what it means to deliver exceptional customer service.
These moments can be created by internal training teams. However, it’s not always possible or practical due to business constraints, resource and workloads. This is where a business may consider working with a training provider. One which completely understands the business, can create a unique programme and can operate as an extension of the brand to make a difference.
Creating emotional connections is something which will only become more important as we see technology transform the world. It can’t be done overnight and needs total commitment from the business, however get it right and you can create a sustainable business for the future.
About the author
Beth Aarons is global director of the Dorchester Collection Academy