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1st April 2014

Improving Service Quality

Customers’ perceptions of service quality relate to the way that staff are managed in their organisations. If people are treated well and feel fulfilled in their work, they are more likely to treat their customers well. If they are not treated with respect and are not receiving the right amount of support and challenge, they are less likely to treat their customers well. What makes the difference here is emotionally intelligent leadership.

The Psychologica™ Model helps people to become more emotionally intelligent as leaders. It was developed by Dr Phil Bardzil at Manchester Business School with around £0.5million of research investment and validation through peer review. He looked at customers’ perceptions of service quality and the organisational and leadership factors which have an impact on them. This is, to our knowledge, one of the most well researched and validated approaches to integrated individual and organisational development available in the UK.

Phil’s research has found that many organisations do not focus on increasing customer service through making sure their staff are clear about what is needed. Many organisations do not ensure that they operate in a climate of harmony, or that they focus on building growth. Consider the issues that arose at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust that brought about the Francis Report. This highlights the importance of creating balance and well-being in your business, through improving clarity and increasing harmony to build sustainable growth by meeting customer needs and expectations.

Clarity – if people know what they are supposed to be doing and why they are doing it, their service delivery will improve; they will be using their management ability and their IQ.

Harmony – if people feel valued, have meaning in their work, are communicated with, supported and work in effective teams, they will demonstrate better customer service; they will be using their emotional intelligence.

Growth – if people focus on what has to be done – the outcomes that are tangible and at a high level of service quality, they will be efficient and effective, which leads to growth.

The areas that often go wrong are:
Communication – how we share strategic ideas with our teams
Adaptation – how we flex our actions to suit different types of people we are dealing with
Organisation – how we manage our actions to achieve our strategy

When these are in balance, we will have true leadership which enables people to sign up to a vision of where the organisation is going, to tune into the values that bring meaning into our work lives and the motivation to achieve.

Click here to read more about the Psychologica™ Model

When we fail to communicate and adapt, we often get caught up in a negative spiral.

Have you worked in an organisation where there is top down management and no opportunity to reach your potential?
Do you work with people who have been referred for help with work related stress?

We know some of the reasons for this from our research into bullying. In the development of our diagnostic tool – the Organisation Behaviour Audit, we found that in a blame culture, where people believe they are ‘doing their duty’ by responding to their bosses, they are unable to control their anxiety and feel pressurised. This leads to unwillingness make suggestions, try something new, take risks or accept responsibility for mistakes because of a fear of criticism and punishment. Ultimately, this results in work related stress and perceptions of bullying.

We have found that:
• Fear leads to compliance, not commitment or innovation
• Financial incentives alone do not increase work satisfaction
• Task focussed performance appraisals do not improve performance – (performance declined in 33% of cases)
• Threats of punishment lead to evasion
• Goals set only by others are not motivating and result in a downward spiral of fear and negative climate
• Investigations into bullying nearly always concentrate on individual culpability – not the contextual culture

In the current climate where people are making savings and coping with change, attempts at transactional ‘top-down’ solutions are likely to fail. We need to use our emotional intelligence to focus on the positive.

We get better results through engaging staff rather than presiding over a command culture. If people are given control and feel included, they will create a positive climate, contribute fresh ideas and continuously improve which will bring about growth.

Read more about emotional intelligence and the attributes of emotionally intelligent leaders