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Why Organized People Are Better At Customer Service

Update Date: Nov 12, 2013 01:09 PM EST

Organized people tend to provide better customer service.

Researchers at Rice University found that conscientious people are more likely to provide good customer service.

The study examined the link between personality traits and effective behavior in customer service situations and found that participants identified has highly conscientious are more likely to be aware of how quality interpersonal interactions positively impact customer service. They are also more likely to behave in this way.

While technical knowledge of a position is an important factor in success, researchers said that it is only one part of the job performance equation.

"Performance in a professional service capacity is not just knowing about what the product is and how it works, but how to sell and talk about it," lead researcher Stephan Motowidlo said in a news release.

Traditionally, companies have been very focused on examining the technical side of individuals' jobs through IQ tests. However, there has been a growing interest in the "softer, interpersonal" side of job performance, according to researchers.

"Much like intelligence impacts knowledge acquisition - driving what you learn and how much you know - personality traits impact how interpersonal skills are learned and used," Motowidlo said.

 "People who know more about what kinds of actions are successful in dealing with interpersonal service encounters - such as listening carefully, engaging warmly and countering questions effectively - handle them more effectively, and their understanding of successful customer service is shaped by underlying personality characteristics," he added.

The study involved two parts. One part involved 99 undergraduate students and the second part involved a group of approximately 80 employees at a community service volunteer agency.

All participants completed a questionnaire ranking 50 customer-service encounters as effective or ineffective.

The findings revealed that participants who were accurate in identifying effective customer-service activities behaved more effectively and showed higher levels of conscientiousness.

The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

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