Each industry has their own idea of what their customer experience journey should look like. The one skill set that is imperative to your customer’s experience is empathy. Customers want to feel heard and understood. Hearing someone without understanding is not the same as actually listening to them and your customer can tell when this action is taking place. Don’t be that person!
“Your customer does not care how much you know until they know how much you care” (Damon Richards).
What is customer empathy?
Customer empathy is understanding the basic needs and feelings of customers. It isn’t just about recognizing and addressing their concerns. You have to put their concerns into further context by viewing it from their perspective.
What are the advantages of showing empathy?
Empathy is a way to build your relationship with your customers. When we make an effort to understand our customers it benefits everyone.
- A better understanding of people
Customer service is all about your customer’s satisfaction. If you understand your customers better, the better service you will provide. Practicing your empathy skills will increase your understanding and you will start to pick up on things customers don’t say so you can better service them.
- Handling conflicts better
Once you understand the customer’s need through what they do and don’t say, you can address it and the customer will feel heard. Using your empathy and listening skills will make customers feel heard and can avoid conflict.
- Builds trust
Customer service has tough conversations with customers whether it is telling them no, raising prices, or relaying a company policy. With empathy, it can make those conversations a lot easier because it gains their trust and they begin to understand your point of view and not question your intentions.
- More productivity
Once you begin to show empathy, you will be able to start predicting your customer’s questions or concerns and proactively answer them. Predicting their feelings will allow you to get why they may be holding back.
How do I identify empathy problems?
“80% of companies think they provide a superior experience for their customers, while only 8% of their customers agreed.”
Regardless if you have worked in the service industry or not, we all know how we want to be treated. The timeless saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It really is that simple.
- Make sure to check your tone. No one wants to feel stupid or belittled.
- If you have committed a mistake, apologize upfront.
- Customers feel like they can’t contact service and get support.
- Passing off work to others.
- Even if you give your customer what they want, they are still not satisfied with your service level.
If you notice these behaviors, then you might have a lack of empathy at hand. Empathy can be learned. Make sure everyone understands the benefits, so everyone is interested in learning.
How do I encourage empathy?
It is imperative that a company fosters empathy in employee training. This is not a soft skill to look over. Empathy can show respect and care for others which goes a long way between communicating with other employees and customers.
- Understand your own biases
- Activities that promote empathy
- Stay positive
- Understanding your customer
- Obtain feedback from peers and customers
Incorporating these 6 strategies to encourage empathy will make a difference for your department and company. The best difference will be seen by your customers. Let them promote how great your service has improved.
How do I convey empathy?
Expressing empathy will come once you have encouraged empathy. Picking up on customers written, verbal, and nonverbal feelings. Try these techniques to make sure you are successful in being empathetic.
- Actively listening
- Give customers the benefit of the doubt
- Check your attitude at the door
- Ask your customer questions
- Include the customer in your solution
- Be respectful
Each human interaction is different and each scenario will be different. Be customer focused and start practicing empathy today. It will make everyone’s lives easier and have a more positive impact on the perception of your company.