Women’s Communication Skills Get Good Marks — Again

This picture may be more idealistic than realistic, but certainly if women can be excellent service advisers, they probably can be good service providers too. A new, upcoming, interesting, non-traditional job for women?

Below is an entirely different slant on gender communication in the workplace as well as an interesting look at subtle, collaborative, leadership by women in a male-dominated field — the automobile industry. It’s also a story about male leadership. The manager, Pipher, is problem-solving. He’s just being observant, smart, aware of vicarious learning, and recognizing the benefits that women can bring to his organization. It helps him, the dealership, the women, and the men.

“Soon after employing his first female service adviser, Roger Pipher had an epiphany: He should hire more women.

‘I just watched her and the customers start to develop relationships that I never saw with men before,’ said Pipher, fixed-operations director of Coleman Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Lawrencevill, N.J. ‘I saw her ability to calm a situation down. It was very easy to sell stuff. It’s just an instant connection.’

With more female customers bringing cars in for service, Pipher wanted to explore how such connections could improve customer loyalty and subsequently sales and profits for his department.

After hiring a second female adviser a year later, he said, he ‘watched the same magic start to happen again.’ . . . Pipher ties the increase in female employees to improved performance. As a result of the relationships they build, the female advisers generally sell more than the male advisers. Monthly customer-pay sales per female adviser can be as much as $20,000 higher, Pipher said. He also noted that when he paired women and men service advisors, the women’s communication skills seemed to rub off on the men.

 That’s called vicarious learning. An observer learns by hearing and seeing behavior rather than being instructed or trained. We all do it. It’s a powerful way for people to learn — productive as well as harmful behavior. I would think that the pairing approach would improve men’s communication, but perhaps also improve women’s communication with service customers; just in different ways. What do you think?

Here’s the whole article!


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