Pro's Corner

Emotional Intelligence and Sound Judgement: The Business Superpower that's Hard to Measure in Dollars and Cents

Three weeks ago I started watching an incredible TV show. I’m sort of a snob when it comes to finding something good to watch but The Boys on Prime Video instantly grabbed my attention.

If you’re looking to watch something that’s moving, chilling, powerful, and outrageous all at once, then I highly recommend watching it. The Boys is a show about superheroes with colossal egos; instead of using their powers to improve society they use them for self-serving purposes. All of the superheroes are part of a powerful corporation called Vought that uses its money and influence to protect its image and manufacture a super serum that it illegally tests on other people.

**If you’re considering watching The Boys, I must warn you that it’s incredibly graphic. Don’t watch it if you’re squeamish or have a weak stomach.**

At the helm of all of the superheroes is a man named Homelander. His abilities are very similar to Superman. With the combination of his laser vision, super strength, and ability to fly he is practically invincible. Unlike Superman, he is maniacal and evil. Homelander uses his powers to overpower and take advantage of anyone that stands in his way. Despite all of this, he has one weakness that is very human, however. His ego. He has an ego that is as powerful as his abilities and it prevents him from exercising sound judgment or feeling compassion.

Homelander’s toxic behavior generates intense hatred from those around him, people at Vought only trust him because they can’t do anything to prevent him from pursuing his maniacal ambitions. The only thing that he cares about is the adoration and praise that his fans give him. All of this adulation is contrived through publicity stunts and setups that his company creates to get people to like him. As the show progresses, Homelander has to increasingly cover his tracks and everyone around him slowly begins to discover his true motivations and become disgusted by his actions.

Homelander is a tragic villain not only because of what he does but primarily because of what he doesn’t do.


Young man in superhero costume representing power and courage

“Right or wrong matter not if I am not kind”

I think that superhero shows are popular because all of the heroes have fundamental human weaknesses that are magnified by their struggle to control and master their powers.

Of course, The Boys was written to showcase this dynamic in an unconventional and wildly popular way.

However, on a basic level, we all have our own powers and talents. One of the many talents that you have is the powerful daily influence on your customers. This is a double-edged sword that can be used for good and evil.

You see, Homelander’s cardinal flaw is that he exercises incredibly poor judgment and emotional intelligence. He uses his powers to scheme against others to take advantage of others to ensure he always comes out on top. This becomes his downfall, his kryptonite.

In the process of becoming successful, so many business leaders burn emotional bridges and take advantage of their customers. This isn’t always overt, it can take place in very subtle ways.

Customer relationships that fall prey to these actions never last. Once trust has become broken it becomes a monumental task to win it back.

The lesson to be learned from The Boys is that it truly doesn’t matter if we achieve the “right” outcome if we don’t treat our customers right in the process. In today’s market, there are countless businesses that offer similar services, and one of the primary ways to build loyalty to your services is through outstanding customer service.

To some, good customer service might just seem like table stakes for owning a business, but it’s surprising how many companies casually overlook this differentiating factor or treat it as something routine.

In order to overcome blind spots in your customer service, you need to exercise good judgment and sound emotional intelligence.

What a Customer Really Cares About

A customer values a job well done but the first thing that they will always notice are the intangibles, chiefly how you treat them and how they perceive your services.

It’s important to recognize that most emotional skills in business are intangibles. They are very difficult to quantify in dollars and cents but they can ultimately make and break your business.

Homelander destroyed his superhero company by not respecting others and running his business in a self-serving manner instead of using his resources to benefit those around him.

The word kindness written on big blackboard


The main things you want to Avoid at All Costs with Your Customers

Here is a specific non-comprehensive list of what common mistakes that contractors make that you want to avoid in your interactions with your customers:

  • Not responding to phone calls or emails
  • Moving furniture without permission
  • Not arriving on time to appointments
  • Not dressing or grooming professionally
  • Using foul language in a customer’s home
  • Not giving a clear explanation of what you plan to do during your visit
  • Using cheap or inadequate chemicals that can pose a health or safety concern to building occupants
  • Improperly mixing chemicals
  • Unplugging things without your customer’s permission
  • Not documenting the customer's items affected by flood or fire damage (if you’re working in restoration)
  • Cutting corners because you think that your customer won’t notice
  • Not vacuuming
  • Parking in the driveway without permission
  • Walking through the grass instead of the pavement
  • Scuffing up walls or accidentally breaking things
  • Not providing aftercare instructions
  • Pressuring a customer into additional services that they don’t want
  • Using excessive or unnecessary equipment on a job so that you can bill it to insurance (if you work in restoration)
  • Using a customer’s restroom without asking
  • Not following up with your customer on how their visit went
  • Not implementing feedback that you receive from your customers
  • Not giving your employees clear expectations or keeping an open channel of communication with them.


Some of these mistakes are more costly than others. By themselves, none of them will likely make or break a relationship, but if you do any of these long enough you will start developing bad habits that erode customer trust.


How to Exercise Sound Judgement and Emotional Intelligence When Working


1. Understand the problem

You probably have a good understanding of the issues that your customer is facing before your visit, but there is a good chance that they have unspoken concerns that they might not voice unless you ask about them. These unspoken problems can fester beneath the surface and create issues later on. Ask your customers questions so that you understand what issues are most pressing to them.

When you do this you create a mutual expectation with them about which problems you are going to help solve.


2. Be easy-going and make it easy to maintain an open channel of communication

I’m willing to bet that you’ve been at the store before and needed some help but you’ve avoided talking to a store associate because they had an unpleasant demeanor that made them unapproachable. By being more approachable, it’s easier for your customers to open up about a concern, and you will start to become a trusted friend.

Start by telling your customer that you are there to help them. Ask them questions about their family. Create the expectation that you care about them and how they feel. This will send an invaluable emotional signal that you care about their well-being.

If you have technicians, train them to do this. Help them understand the value of customer relationships. The most important training you can ever give your technician is how to treat your customers.


3. Clearly state what you are going to do and follow through on it

 Oftentimes, anytime people are disappointed it is because the expectations that they have don’t match up with the final outcome. This can be avoided by making sure that the customer clearly understands what you are going to do. It’s better to over communicate than to under-communicate because communication helps us to fill in any holes in the information that we have and helps us arrive on time.


4. Ask for permission, not forgiveness

When you’re performing a service it’s better to ask for permission to do something than it is to have to apologize for making a mistake later on. If your customer is aware of your intentions beforehand it creates a mental expectation of what they can plan for and allows them to give more grace for a mistake, should it occur.

If you need to unplug something or move furniture, ask for permission to do that. Let your customer know beforehand if they need to move anything to prepare for your visit.


5. Provide aftercare instructions

It can be off-putting for a customer if you finish a job and leave immediately after. When you do this, it can send a subtle message to your customer that you don’t care about what they think about the finished result.

The time at the beginning and end of your appointment is the time that you have allotted to directly communicate with your customers, build trust, and provide the intangible value that we discussed above.


6. Follow up after the appointment with an email

Emailing your customer is the prime opportunity to get additional feedback about how your visit went. The best time to send an email is immediately after your appointment in the form of a survey or form, this way the experience is fresh in your customer’s mind. Keep it simple, and short, and let your customer know that you respect their time.

This list isn’t comprehensive, rather it’s a launching pad to get you to think about ways that you can grow your emotional muscles in your interactions. I invite you to think of more examples that you can implement in your business model.

The Key Theme that Lies Behind Exercising Sound Judgement and Emotional Intelligence on the Job

The underlying theme behind all of these actions is proactivity, transparency, and acting with good intentions. When you exercise good judgment and act with emotional intelligence, you will always be proactive in creating and maintaining relationships. Problems won’t occur as often because your customer knows that you are working in their best interest and you are preemptively addressing any concerns that they might have.


Lifting barbell above head. Strength and power


Not all of the investments that you make in your business are easily measured by financial returns. The most important investments that you make, however, will always be in the people that you serve. Companies that come out ahead always do the best job investing in relationships. Relationships drive loyalty, repeat business, and the most financial return.

In the TV show, Homelander might be the most powerful character, but he is the least respected one. His empire crumbles around him in slow motion because he uses his powers for self-serving purposes and to take advantage of others. Even though The Boys is a fictional story, I know that we can all think of tragic stories in our own lives where people don’t live up to their emotional potential. These powerful dramas are a strong warning about the behavior that we must avoid in order to be successful.

The more that you work on developing your emotional skillset and judgment with your customers the closer you will come to developing actual superpowers.

customer service


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