Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in Client Success


Published April 4, 2023

Emotional Intelligence, or EI, is a critical factor in ensuring a positive and long-lasting relationship with clients. Good client service is not just about meeting the client's needs and expectations but also about creating a positive experience and building a long-term relationship with them.

So what is EQ? Why does it matter for client success managers? What can you do to improve your EQ?

What Is EQ?

EQ, short for emotional quotient, is also known as emotional intelligence or EI. It is the ability to recognise, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. People with high EQ can readily recognise and then use this information to shape thinking and behaviour. EI plays a crucial role in client service as it helps build strong relationships with clients and improve customer satisfaction.

On a personal level, EQ helps you to discern and discuss your feelings. By appropriately labelling them, you can understand what you’re experiencing and adjust your emotions to the situation. This can be invaluable in staying calm and professional, as you recognise when your emotions are getting in the way and work around this, or avoid a situation until your emotions are under control.

When dealing with others, EQ doesn’t give you such direct control, but it does give you critical information. Recognising that someone is unsettled, frustrated, or disappointed can be very useful, especially when they haven’t yet recognised that emotion themselves. If you know what they’re feeling then you can work around it, help them to manage it, and use that insight to understand what they’re saying and what they need.

For someone with low EQ, dealing with emotions, both their own and those of others, can be incredibly frustrating. Emotions are a complex inner world, where the rules aren’t always clear. Trying to work around them when you don’t understand them is tricky. Trying to tackle situations where you misunderstand can be problematic.

Fortunately, EQ isn’t static. It’s something you can develop if you want to improve your interpersonal skills or if you require high EQ for your profession, such as a client success manager.

Why EQ Matters for Client Success

EQ is a critical element in client success.

Client success is about connecting with people and understanding their emotions. Even people who think they act completely rationally are guided by their emotional drives. In fact, those who claim to act rationally are often among the most emotionally driven, because they don’t recognise or manage the impact of their emotions. However professional their behaviour, clients are going to be guided at times by their emotions, so working with their emotions is a critical part of the role.

Those with high EQ are better equipped to understand their clients' needs and be able to build stronger relationships with them.

Emotionally intelligent responses can help you build trust with clients, as you’ll be showing them appropriate responses to their emotions, whether they recognise this or not. You’ll avoid pressing the wrong buttons and instead make them feel more comfortable. This lets you foster positive relationships, which encourages client loyalty and retention.

Emotional Intelligence is also essential to managing conflicts that may arise in any relationship, including those between client success professionals and their clients. Like it or not, there are going to be conflicts, some of them with clients and some within your team. Many of these will have emotions at their root. Your EQ will help you to stay calm, manage others’ heated emotions, prevent conflicts from escalating, and find a resolution.

How to Improve Your EQ

Developing high EQ is a process that requires self-reflection, practice, and continuous learning. There are also a number of online EQ tests you can take to assess your emotional intelligence. While these won’t provide an objective standard for emotional intelligence, they will give you a benchmark against which to judge your own progress. With that score as a starting point, you can work on ways to improve.

Here are some strategies that can help in developing high EQ:


The ability to recognise one's own emotions is the first step in developing high EQ. This involves taking time to reflect on our own emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, and understanding how they affect our interactions with others. By being aware of our own emotional triggers and biases, we can better manage our own emotions and respond to others in a more empathetic and effective way.


Improving communication skills is also crucial for developing emotional intelligence. Verbal and nonverbal communication skills can help us effectively convey our thoughts and emotions, and understand those of others. By using active listening skills and clear communication, we can ensure that our clients feel heard and their needs are being met. Listening actively to others is an important aspect of developing high EQ. Be present in the conversation, ask questions, and show empathy towards the speaker.


The ability to understand and share the feelings of others is a key component of high EQ. Empathy allows us to understand and relate to the client's perspective, which in turn helps us develop a solution that works for them. When we show empathy towards clients, they feel heard and understood, which can lead to a positive and lasting impression. This can translate into increased client satisfaction, loyalty, and positive referrals.

Conflict resolution

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, but high EQ individuals are better equipped to manage it effectively.  By regulating our emotions and staying calm, we can de-escalate tense situations and find solutions that work for everyone involved. This helps build trust and loyalty with clients, which can lead to retained business. In addition, being able to effectively manage conflicts can help prevent potential negative reviews or damage to a company's reputation.

High EQ can improve Client Satisfaction

In today's competitive business environment, it is not just about providing good service, but about providing exceptional service that sets your business apart. By developing EQ skills, client success teams can provide exceptional service to clients and improve their overall experience.

Prioritising the development of EQ skills can also lead to better teamwork and collaboration within an organisation. When employees have strong EQ skills, they can work effectively with others, handle stressful situations, and provide better support to their colleagues. This can result in a more positive work environment and better overall outcomes for the business.

Emotional Intelligence plays a vital role in client service as it helps build strong relationships, improve communication, and manage conflicts effectively. By recognising the importance of empathy, communication, and conflict management in client service, and prioritising the development of EQ skills, organisations can build stronger relationships with clients, increase client satisfaction, and benefit their business in the long run.