Building teams that can effectively manage highly emotional customers.
Some roles come with high pressure and levels of emotional labour – often meaning high employee turnover and poor wellbeing. Healthcare workers dealing with unreasonable demands; ATO workers dealing with abuse; and in the case of Allianz, customer service teams dealing with random natural disasters and naturally, highly stressed families.
This eye-opening discussion on emotional intelligence in high-pressure environments features Pierre De Villiers, former General Manager People & Learning Centre of Expertise at Allianz Australia. He sheds some light on how unpredictable natural events like hailstorms and flooding, can lead to a sudden influx of sensitive customer calls and a lot of pressure on those on the other end of the phoneline.
Learn the importance of emotional intelligence in customer service roles, particularly in the insurance industry and the need for empathy and active listening when customers call in with issues.
In this episode of EI at Work, you’ll learn about:
[00:01:54] The challenges faced by frontline staff in managing highly emotional or stressed-out customers Discussion on the emotional stress faced by frontline staff in the insurance industry when dealing with customers in crisis or facing life-changing events.
[00:05:21] The importance of emotional intelligence in customer interactions Exploration of the role of emotional intelligence in customer interactions, including the need for empathetic listening and maintaining a caring yet professional tone.
[00:06:34] Unintentional communication pitfalls to avoid in customer interactions Identification of unintentional communication pitfalls, such as the use of reassuring platitudes and assuming emotions, that can hinder effective customer interactions.
[00:09:43] The empathy gap phenomenon Discussion on how claims managers can unintentionally create an empathy gap by relying on their expertise and not being client-centered.
[00:12:28] Implementing emotional intelligence program at Allianz Pierre de Villiers talks about the program introduced at Allianz to develop emotional intelligence skills in leaders.
[00:16:40] Impact of emotional intelligence program Discussion on the impact of the emotional intelligence program on the wider business, including increased revenue and profitability, improved engagement scores, and better leadership performance.
[00:19:25] The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership Discussion on the benefits of emotional intelligence for leaders in observing and supporting their teams.
[00:20:27] Industries with high levels of emotional labor and regulation Exploration of industries, such as education, healthcare, aged care, and insurance, that require emotional intelligence to manage customer interactions.
[00:25:00] The impact of small changes in customer interactions Highlighting the significance of small changes in customer interactions and the potential positive impact on reducing stress levels and improving employee engagement.
[00:30:08] The importance of job design and role in managing difficult customer situations Discussion on the need for job design that allows high-skilled individuals to handle high-pressure calls and involve experts when necessary.
[00:31:36] Creating a psychologically safe work environment Exploration of the importance of managers creating an environment where employees feel safe to express their struggles and take breaks without fear of negative consequences.
[00:32:33] Long-term performance benefits of supporting employee well-being Highlighting the commercial advantages of providing breaks, support, and tools to employees, leading to improved performance, loyalty, and reduced recruitment costs.
[00:35:29] The immediate and visible benefits of developing emotional intelligence, as experienced by individuals.
[00:36:10] Two types of responses to emotional intelligence training.
About Pierre De Villiers
As a leader with broad career experiences across multiple industries, Pierre has a deep-seated passion for enabling people to be the best possible versions of themselves.
With a career that started as a Chartered Accountant, he realised early on that his purpose was best served by developing leaders and building high-performing teams.
Having lived and worked in multiple locations including Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, he has gained valuable lived experience and insights into what makes people tick and how being an inclusive leader has a tangible impact to the bottom line.
He is known for being an empathetic and results-oriented advisor who has advocated for the powerful impact that improved emotional intelligence can have for leaders and their teams, helping them to bring their full potential to their work every day.