Very commonly referred to as “street smart” or “public skills,” social intelligence boils down to understanding people’s emotions on a deeper level. The emphasis is on empathy, positive psychology, collaboration and flexibility that are aspects of social intelligence.
Why Social Intelligence?
All the businesses whether digital or not, exist to solve a problem. Technology can serve us to an extent and make our lives easier. However, a human touch or connect will always be essential to define a problem statement and to test the probable solutions. Building social intelligence to understand the consumers better is critical for all the businesses as it will establish a healthy relationship with the stakeholders.
The need to impress/entice and serve the customers will always be the need of any company in all the industries and therefore, harnessing the power of social intelligence will take your business idea to new heights. To sum it all up, social intelligence is all about collecting information, networking and making something out of it. Hence, we must accumulate the knowledge gained from the insights into consumer preferences, networking etc. This way, we can connect the dots with the help of these insights and build a healthy relationship with them by identifying fundamental needs and problems.
“All the businesses whether digital or not, exist to solve a problem. Technology can serve us to an extent and make our lives easier. However, a human touch or connect will always be essential to define a problem statement and to test the probable solutions. Building social intelligence to understand the consumers better is critical for all the businesses as it will establish a healthy relationship with the stakeholders.”
A collaborative workforce is a new propeller for enhancing the competitive advantage for businesses and social intelligence is of utmost importance to build a high culture and sustain critical talent. Organizations that showcase the aspects of social intelligence, such as empathy and positive psychology also receive due respect from consumers. With the advent of social media, organization’s internal culture plays a role in shaping the brand identity and thereby establishing a particular brand image.
Here are few pointers to build your Social Intelligence:
Empathize with others
With a busy schedule and little time for any other activity, the Internet has become the one stop shop for all the needs but, with the increased availability of sources comes great risk. Social intelligence helps us become more sensitive to issues faced by people and put forward our point in a better way. Many companies believe that negative feedback can hamper the image and customer relations forever. People are more interested in negative feedback and attend more to it. Instead, we should provide positive feedback and let them try and figure out the negatives and work on them. Empathizing with essential stakeholders will help you to gauge their perspective and will aid in establishing stronger bonds with them.
Caution with emoticons
It is essential to understand that actions or digital emotions can be easily misinterpreted and have to be used with great caution. In many East Asian cultures logo graphics have been used for 2,000 years and the Egyptians have been using images as stories of the ancestors for many millennia. Notice the difference between :) and :(. Digital emotions are more powerful if used in a good way. Though emoticons are not used in corporate presentations or communication, it might be used elsewhere like in your logo, informal communication with the clients or subordinates, or in your marketing campaigns. Emojis are a substitute for expressions while connecting digitally with anyone. Brands such as Budweiser, Mcdonald’s and Domino's haven’t shied away from utilizing these emoticons for their social media marketing.
Focus on customer intimacy: Wiersma model
Customer satisfaction is the most crucial key to success in any business. Customers nowadays look for the convenience of purchase, after-sale service and dependability and are more aware of the products than before. It is imperative for the brand to know the requirements of the customer and make sure the relationship is maintained not only during the sale of a product but, the after sales are also dealt in the same manner.
We have many examples of great achievers who have outmaneuvered many leading industries, for instance, DELL computers, Home Depot and NIKE. They built powerful, cohesive business systems and delivered more value than anyone and maintained the same efficiency throughout. The government of China plans to start social credit system for all by 2020, wherein the scores would be given based on their economic and social status.
Human touch, not robots
We are all aware of the saying, “one person’s loss is another person’s gain.” If the customer does not feel valued they might move onto another product no matter how benefiting it is for them. It is very easy to lose the human touch in the process of digitization as there is no physical or visual interaction. Hence, we must use empathy and signpost accordingly in any conversation to make people feel heard and comfortable. Brands that establish more personal connections with customers are perceived as more likable and more empathizing by everyone. Hence, it is important to give a human proposition to your brand image or your brand interaction.
Algorithm versus heuristics
Algorithm and Heuristics are the two ways of solving any problem. However, one is a more detailed step by step method of solving a problem while the other is based on the trial and error method. Heuristics method offers room for experimenting and improving one’s method of approach as per feedback. Improvisation is the key to keep up with the rapidly changing consumer mindsets and expectations, but without a context and without identifying the factors that need to be rectified, improvisation may seem futile and redundant. Hence, heuristics will set the framework for required improvisation.
The focus on culture and people is at its peak today in the corporate world. With increasing competition and chaos in their external environment, it is imperative for businesses to harmonize their internal environment. Competition is no longer considered as a means to push employees to achieve more, as a “divide and rule” policy will only hamper the overall efficacy of the organization.
(The article is based on a session by Yogi Sriram, SVP- Corporate HR & Member of the Ecom, L&T at the event Human Capital Connect 2018 organized by People Matters and SAP in Mumbai.)