It Takes EQ, Not Just IQ, To Work In A Call Center

Keith Fiveson

Emotional Intelligence in the Call Center Is Back

In this era of customer empowerment, call center managers that focus on Emotional Intelligence (EI) find valuable aid in the selection, recruitment and development process. Emotional Intelligence is all about an individual’s ability to understand emotions and act appropriately. Human resource (HR) managers find selection indicators such as intelligence, education, personality and experience adequate in qualifying a candidate for a job, but it’s not enough to predict performance.

The ability to understand the behavioral patterns of call center candidates is essential to the human resources department. What has been recently discovered is that communication—the key feature in relationship theories—is connected to Emotional Intelligence, a predictor that can be measured by what is termed as EQ or Emotional Quotient.


Emotionally intelligent call center representatives are able to form strong relationships because they can communicate effectively and are able to cope well with stressful situations in the call center. EQ can also be strengthened and be developed over time, which is why the call center industry would be well served with EQ assessments. HR managers ought to use and integrate these instruments into their standards for selection and development.

Planning the succession of senior leadership is critical to a call center’s success, and selecting the right candidate to hire or promote becomes simpler. Furthermore, EQ helps to identify individual specific strengths and weaknesses so that call center training and call center coaching can be designed to develop skills that contribute to future leadership.

Hiring Call Center Representatives with the Right Skills

Handling calls efficiently may be one of the main tasks of call center representatives. However, this includes the call center representative’s ability to listen, build a rapport with a customer, engage in a dialogue and solve problems in the call center. The ability to handle odd timings, and call center work pressures, are areas where call center candidates need to excel and not get hijacked due to stressful emotional situations. Issues of self-control, self-esteem and self-motivation are areas linked to the emotional quotient. Identifying and growing these effectiveness skills is essential for call center performance.

When call center representatives, management and managers can be profiled for EQ it makes it easier for human resource managers to determine, coach and develop "star performers." Attrition rates are also significantly lowered in the call center that includes EQ assessment as part of their recruitment process.

Moreover, the call center doesn’t need to worry about recruiting the wrong call center candidate, resulting in a significant saving. With added pressure from clients to cut down on call center recruitment costs, exploring the implementation of EQ assessment in the call center has gained momentum in the industry.

Are You Leveraging the Emotion Quotient in the Call Center?

The call center is one of the main industries where the Emotional Intelligence factor comes into focus. Moreover, it is a good return on investment when it comes to the selection and retention of call center representatives. Profiling call center candidates through EQ testing helps create a corporate culture imbibed with an atmosphere of teamwork and leadership.

The call center cannot afford to have customers complain about inadequate support due to the indifferent attitude of call center representatives. Irate customers too cannot be dismissed without a polite word and an attempt to solve their issues. In short, call center representatives with a good EQ and the right call center coaching will be able to contribute significantly to the success and profits of any call center.

First published on Call Center IQ.