In order to run a business in the service industry, you’ll need a wide skill set to attract and satisfy customers.

A single mistake or lapse in people skills can cause a drastic change, turning your reputation from good to bad. While a variety of factors plays a role in the success of a business, there is one quality that stands out above others—emotional intelligence.

If your business is suffering from a lack of individuals with the necessary skills, then focusing on this particular quality can help enhance your chances for success.

Emotional intelligence is an emerging factor for workplace success and is defined by the individual’s ability to perceive and manage the emotions of oneself and others. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of this skill, and the service industry is no exception. The following are important reasons why your service business should keep emotional intelligence in mind:

1. Self awareness

Emotional intelligence is divided up into four major domains, with self awareness as the first and foremost trait. Self awareness determines an your ability to perceive your emotions and understand how they affect the situation.

This is a vital skill for not just service professionals, but for any individual in a business. Self awareness allows you to better address problems and handle complications as they arise, transferring these benefits to your business as well.

2. Self management

Without the ability to control your own emotions, self awareness isn’t very valuable. Therefore, self management is another vital skill of emotional intelligence, which allows you to keep your impulses and emotions under control.

This is especially important for service professionals—if you let your emotions get the best of you, you may risk your connection with customers. With the ability to adapt to changing situations and keep your emotions in check, your can maintain their trusted position with current and potential clients or customers.

3. Social awareness

Social awareness allows the individual to perceive the emotions of others, giving them the ability to better empathize and connect with others.

This skill is critical in the service industry, where the satisfaction of the customer is everything. Professionals with high emotional intelligence are able to navigate social networks and understand other people’s moods and behaviors. Whether through reading the currents of a conversation or  sympathizing with a customer’s needs, professionals are able to use this awareness to suit their business accordingly.

4. Relationship management

This quality is one of the most important factors for any business that relies heavily on customer satisfaction. A service business is different from one selling a product—it often relies on months or years of nurturing a relationship with the customer. In addition, a service business may rely heavily on referrals and recommendations, which depends on the strength of the bond between the client and provider. Relationship management is a key component of emotional intelligence, aiding the individual in their interactions with others. Whether through improved conflict management or the ability to build bonds, relationship management can help service professionals maintain connections with clients.

If you feel as though you or your team lacks in emotional intelligence, there is no need to worry – unlike IQ or personality, emotional intelligence is a quality that can be trained and developed. With enough practice, your service-based business can quickly take advantage of the various  benefits offered by enhancing your emotional intelligence.

Have you seen emotional intelligence (or a lack of it) impact your business? Share your story in the comments below.

AvatarSara Fletcher

Sara Fletcher is interested in emotional intelligence at work and how it affects both businesses and professionals.