Cogito Blog

Joel Makhluf

Customer-centric empathy and emotional intelligence have long been a foundation for building relationships and closing deals in sales. In fact, emotional intelligence is ranked as one of the most important skills to have by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. Emotion AI now supports that ability to make a human connection between the representative and the prospect.

Gaining this trust and connection through communication is one of the biggest obstacles for sales professionals. This is because establishing a one-to-one dialog with a customer is difficult in a highly regulated sales industry where norms restrict vocabulary. This means pitches are less about the actual words being spoken and more about how the salesperson communicates the words.

Emotion recognition AI supports the salesperson in their journey to gain trust and a genuine connection through clear communication. It is especially true when sales representatives misjudge how cognizant they are of their ability to communicate. This often happens due to stress and pressure, which undermines their ability to listen effectively and empathetically.

These self-awareness and emotional intelligence soft skills are the most important and most challenging to master, train, and maintain, even for the best sales communicators. Although management needs to prioritize soft skills development, they may wonder about the true connection between AI and emotion, and ask, can AI have emotions?

What Exactly is Emotion AI?

Emotion AI refers to artificial intelligence, or more specifically, machine learning (ML) algorithms, that can detect and interpret human emotion. With vocal communication, data scientists must teach the algorithm how to recognize even the most subtle emotions through massive, real-world data sets. The data provides examples of these emotional inflections and characteristics of speech in very specific circumstances. The ML algorithm will continue to learn when exposed to new data and become better at discerning subtle emotional cues.

Emotion AI technology supports the representative by bolstering their natural emotional intelligence so they can adapt their behavior. This helps them to be perceived as more empathetic and trustworthy by the prospect. Building a relationship over the phone can be difficult, but emotion AI can process vocal cues to help representatives adjust and respond with more empathy to develop a personalized rapport.

This even helps a representative with a strong, natural emotional intelligence ability to connect through phone sales that are also prone to seeing erosion in their performance throughout the day. Even the best rep will miss customer cues they may ordinarily react to with ease. This challenge can be compounded by their need to divide attention among the conversation and other activities. These necessary but attention-eroding aspects can range from the need to follow protocol to navigating various systems and capturing prospect data.

Emotion AI technology can now monitor and analyze human behavior and emotion on a massive scale, as it also serves as the fuel for machine learning and predictive models. Gathering and evaluating conversational cues, such as tone, tension, pitch, pace, vocal effort, mimicry and turn taking, will allow any sales team to understand the wants of their prospects. These AI capabilities can help:

  • Predict the likelihood a sales team will hit quotas
  • Identify the best products to sell
  • Pinpoint optimal customer segments and pricing strategies on which to focus

The ability of emotion recognition AI to support sales representatives in conversations with prospects and customers brings countless benefits to both sides. Learning how to harness those benefits requires understanding how humans rely on emotional intelligence in conversation and how AI can support (but not take the lead over) humans.

Harnessing the Benefits of Emotion AI Applications

Emotional intelligence AI can provide insight on a representative’s behavior in real time. This can help them adjust during the call by discovering innovative ways to interact with prospects and win more business. For example, by finding the correlation between speaking behavior and perception, sales leaders can more effectively monitor for sensitive situations and assist representatives in converting a disinterested prospect to a repeat buyer.

Since the power of emotionally intelligent communication is in listening more than speaking, emotion AI enables the representative to pick up on verbal emotional cues they may have missed. This provides vital insights into the customer’s emotional state of mind so the representative can respond appropriately in the moment.

Selling is about making a human connection, and emotional intelligence, which is based on trust, communication, empathy, and shared values, enables a salesperson to deepen that connection. This builds a foundation of trust with the customer that enables the salesperson to deliver a better customer experience that results in better sales outcomes.

Improving the Customer Experience with Emotion AI

The rise of AI makes emotional intelligence more important in a digital world where soft skills are necessary for fostering a team of top performers. Emotional intelligence AI has matured enough over the last decade to augment and enhance a representative’s natural abilities to be empathetic. This helps them to be better at their jobs and guides them in the moment to deliver a better customer experience (CX).

Through its capability to enhance natural abilities and provide unprecedented insights to sales teams, emotion AI technology has become a necessity for organizations to remain competitive. By empowering representatives with the tools to show top-notch soft skills and build emotional connections with prospects, organizations will inevitably exceed their performance goals and surpass quotas. Emotion analysis AI has wide-reaching applications, but the most interesting is its capacity to empower the frontline to build lasting, trusted relationships between representatives and prospects.

Click here to learn more about how Cogito can help augment your sales force and create emotional connections with your prospects.