The 5 Qualities of Tech Companies With Emotionally Intelligent Cultures
Emotional intelligence is the game-changer for Tech companies.
Big tech has a big problem.
Let’s start out with this: everyone in Tech knows the elephant in the room is the need for better soft skills that help deliver technology more efficiently. This begins with communication, first within the walls of the organization, and then to the outside customer. For a technology company to grow, you must master both. Then, train your people to become savvy communicators.
But, that’s only a sliver of the picture. The need for emotional intelligence in an organization’s culture is more pronounced than ever. Empathy is the ultimate relationship-builder that drives existing customer relationships and serves as the catalyst for spawning new conversations that drive sales for new customers. Without empathy, technology on its own lacks a punch.
How much so?
Clients are more likely to leave a company when they feel no one is listening to them. It’s called respect.
Tina Arnoldi shares the importance of empathy when it comes to Apple employees:
By reading your verbal and nonverbal cues, Apple employees empathize with what’s not working well. They’re encouraged to use the three Fs — feel, felt, found. They feel what the customer is saying, share a time when they felt that way, and tell them the solution in terms of what the support rep found.” Source: https://tech.co/news/tech-companies-teach-us-great-customer-service-2015-11
I’ve had the good fortune of working for tech startups, and software companies that moved into the growth and establishment phase. I’ve seen new customers come and go. I’ve seen some walk away very quickly due to poor professional service. I’ve also coached leaders from some of the top tech companies in the world.
These leaders make sure their organizations are operating with high-EQ. Here are five ways they do it:
1) They invest in personal development and coaching
Working with executives and managers from one of the world’s largest tech company’s, I’m able to see weekly how much coaching makes a profound difference. The dialogue I have with clients permeates their thoughts around annual review conversations, performance management and simply getting work done.
Leadership coaching allows employees to discover their own leadership voice and helps them to better develop their direct reports.
2) They continue delivering value after the sale
This is about delivering value to clients in a way that backs up and justifies what you represent during the sales process and in your marketing. Yes, you may have an incredible SaaS solution and yes, it’s making a huge difference for the customer. But how are you maintaining your professional relationship with the client?
When they call, are you there to answer and help them? Or are you immediately ushering them to the user manual? Do you show that you care, or are they out-of-sight, out-of-mind?
The culture you establish internally has a direct impact on how you treat your customers. Treat your people with class, respect, and dignity, and you will value your customers that much more.
Know where your bread is buttered and serve your clients with maximum ownership, efficiency, and benefit.
3) They practice Psychological Safety
Psychological safety is the freedom to be yourself and share ideas in the workplace without living in fear of retaliation or negative consequences. Emotionally intelligent tech companies understand that it’s imperative to foster a culture that allows employees to think and act confidently. One that allows them freedom of expression to be their best selves.
A security software company that I worked for earlier in my career — Cyber-Ark — has always done its core business well. They help protect your most sensitive information from cyber-attacks. From the CEO to the sales reps, they have a winning culture that equips you with everything you need to succeed. They make their employees feel safe and they practice respect and empathy.
Laura Delizonna writes in HBR: “Underlying every team’s who-did-what confrontation are universal needs such as respect, competence, social status, and autonomy. Recognizing these deeper needs naturally elicits trust and promotes positive language and behaviors.”
Very rarely are their coincidence in business. Successful businesses have winning cultures built on trust and values that empower employees to be themselves.
4) Empathy-driven Culture comes first
When Satya Nadella took over Microsoft, he knew that he needed to use empathy to change the company’s culture. There was bickering, in-fighting, and a toxic culture brewing. Now, several years later, Microsoft is back to the halcyon days of old. How? Nadella was able to use empathy as a foundation for driving innovation at the Tech giant. He explains:
“The reason I talk about empathy is that I believe this is the leading indicator of success. Innovation comes only when you are able to meet unmet, unarticulated needs — and this comes from a deep sense of empathy we all have. But you can’t go to work and, say, ‘turn on the empathy button.’ Your life’s experience will give you that passion and understanding for a particular customer, a particular use case.”
When you can link empathy to innovation, you have a win-win combination that will drive growth and create happy employees and customers.
5) They put a human-side in Tech
Jan Schaffer, executive director at J-Lab, says, “People’s social and emotional intelligence have been impaired by the displacement of personal interactions with online interactions.” Source: Pew Research
Boom. Great tech leaders and organizations know that the human side of communication is vitally important. Reaching out directly for a phone conversation, video chat or even on-site visits helps to seal the deal for customer service.
I’ve been impressed with ConvertKit and how they onboarded me as a new customer. They took the time to set up a video chat and walk me through the functionality of how to use their email marketing tool. I’m a customer and I plan to stay there. I value the personal touch — but so does anyone that has a bottom-line attached to their tech needs.
To summarize — if you’re a Tech company struggling to keep customers or find new ones, you have to look at your culture. Integrate emotional intelligence into the thoughts and actions of the people you lead, and you will deliver the results and profits you desire.