The importance of being positive

How many customer service training sessions have you been on? Probably a lot. And it’s because it’s so easy to get it wrong. There really is only one thing to remember  – stay positive.

Research into positive psychology and our emotional wellbeing has looked into the affect positive emotions have on our thinking. When we feel positive emotions, like contented, joyful, loving or interested, our thoughts and actions open up and consider new possibilities. Joy, for instance, creates the urge to play, push the limits and be more creative (Research by Barbara Fredickson).

Basically, it’s a lot easier to talk to others, work with others and be more productive yourself, in a positive frame of mind. So providing great customer service will become so much easier.

The great news is that learning to effectively deal with your emotions, and the emotions of others, is a skill that can be learnt. The benefits are enormous. Here’s a few examples:

A top performing sales person or clerk is 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and 85 percent more productive than an average performer. Competency research in over 200 companies and organizations worldwide suggests that about one-third of this difference is due to technical skill and cognitive ability while two-thirds is due to emotional competence (Goleman, 1998). (In top leadership positions, over four-fifths of the difference is due to emotional competence.)

At L’Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies significantly outsold salespeople selected using the company’s old selection procedure. On an annual basis, salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than other salespeople did, for a net revenue increase of $2,558,360. Salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence also had 63% less turnover during the first year than those selected in the typical way (Spencer & Spencer, 1993; Spencer, McClelland, & Kelner, 1997).

So essentially, people who understand themselves and their feelings better, and know how to handle them, are more productive and generate more income.

How good are you at handling stress? What are your triggers that make you angry or anxious? What can you do to improve your ability to handle difficulties and still perform?

It’s all about practice. Been to some customer service training? Go over the notes again and see what else you can learn from it. Put reminders up around your workplace. Do some reading on positive psychology and emotional intelligence. Ask family and friends for some honest feedback. Remember, there are Buddhist monks practicing this full time, their whole lives, for emotion control to become second nature. Keep trying, keep learning, and try to experience joy, contentment, drive and satisfaction often. It might even brighten your customers’ day too.


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