Emotional intelligence & customer satisfaction in Indian banks.

AuthorSingh, Pooja
PositionReport - Statistical data

This paper explores the relationship between emotional intelligence (El) factors like competency, sensitivity and maturity on customer satisfaction among employees of Indian banks. The promotion of emotional development in service organizations assumes that the ability to regulate emotions is a positive trait which is associated with customer satisfaction in the service industry. This research has been carried out among 90 branch managers and the customers of a bank in Madhya Pradesh. EI is found to be associated with customer satisfaction. Among the three factors (maturity, sensitivity and competency) of EI, maturity of branch managers is the major contributor to customer satisfaction.


According to D. Singh, (2006) emotions are robust means arising in response to internal or external events, often resulting in sentiments of warmth. As emotionally intelligent individuals are more likely to manage their emotions lucratively, develop strong relationships with others, and experience positive effect as well as optimism (Koydemir, simsek, Schutz & Tipandjan, 2013), it may be worth exploring the benefits of this construct with regard to its relationship with customer satisfaction. The banking institutions that are meant to serve customers have become highly competitive around the country. Moreover, due to the policies of the apex bank, all commercial banks offer nearly the same services. Therefore, over a period they have become almost the same - a phenomenon called 'institutional isomorphism' (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). Banks are, therefore, not only meant to serve the needs of the people, but also have to meet the expectations of the customers by understanding their apparent needs (Singh & Kaur, 2011). The current research intends to examine the role of emotional intelligence (El) as a mechanism to enhance the quality of customer service experience in the banking sector.

Emotional Intelligence & Climate for Service

According to Salovey, Mayer, and Caruso (2002: 160), EI refers to "the ability to process emotion-laden information competently and to use it to guide cognitive activities like problem solving and focus energy on required behaviors." EI reflects the ability to reason with the non-cerebral, essentially thinking with and about emotion, using a range of skills (Bar-on, 1997; Canute, 2005). Bar-On (1997) also emphasizes cognitive abilities/ skills such as problem-solving and reality testing as compliance components of EI while adapting to environmental demands. Goleman (2006) summarizes emotions are critical in managing, controlling and affirming that emotion does matter for rational working and wits cannot work at its best without EI. Customer satisfaction can be conceptualized as an emotional or a contemplative response to a judgmental process. We sway each other's frame of mind. Influencing another person's emotional state, for better or for worse, is perfectly natural; managers in service organizations do it constantly; "transmitting" emotions from one another is like some kind of communal virus. Higher levels of EI are required to build an active and stable company in this information era. The traits of EI, like empathy, proficiency, aptitude, maturity, self-regulation, and assurance are some of the important preface towards commitment and getting best result from the workers of today. A higher level of Emotional Quotient (EQ) is required to deal with demanding customers in the service industry; though it requires high levels of El to retain customers in any kind of business.

Very few measures of EI have been developed in India. Chadha and Singh (2001) developed an EI scale which is widely accepted and apt for the Indian population. This test has been widely used and found consistent on Indian service mangers, bank managers, bureaucrats, and industrial trainees. Various definitions of EI were reviewed, but the one recommended by Chadha and Singh (2001) is the one cited since the paper is meant to do a study in the context of the Indian population. Chadha & Singh (2006) described EI as the ability of an individual to appropriately and successfully, respond to a vast variety of stimuli being elicited from the inner self and the immediate environment. According to him El can be classified into three psychological magnitudes, i.e. emotional competency, emotional maturity, and emotional sensitivity, which motivate an individual to be acquainted with truth, infer honestly and handle thoughtfully, the dynamics of human behavior.

The three psychological scopes in EI contain different proficiency that Indian managers should master to engage, satisfy and retain customers in the service sector. Emotional competency can help the managers acquire the prowess to recognize, appreciate, and stabilize effective information towards the self and others, embark upon emotional upsets, high self-worth, and egoism and also to elicit a sensitive response to emotional stimuli. Emotional maturity is replicated in the behavioral prototype exhibited by managers while dealing with the immediate environment. Some of the important aspects of emotional maturity are self-awareness, management of emotions, handling relationships, compliance and flexibility. Looking through psychological purview, sensitivity means the characteristic of being unusually sensitive and, being able to judge the verge for various types of stimulations, inducing sensations, feelings, and emotions to detect, distinguish and analyze the environment. The managers may seek to evolve the skills of understanding the threshold of emotional arousal, empathy, interpersonal relations, and communicability of emotions while dealing with customers.

Emotional Intelligence & Customer Satisfaction

In banks, the straight interaction between service manager and customer plays a critical role. Accordingly, service rendezvous or the interaction of the employees with customers has been called the 'fateful moment' in which the customer chooses to buy a product or not. In service organizations, one of the central tasks for the employee is to create an optimistic atmosphere during...

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