Empathy is key to customer service, but not every business realizes this. According to a recent study, 96% of consumers consider empathy to be important when interacting with customer service representatives.
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Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. It means being able to see things from someone else’s perspective. Think about how you might feel if you were in their shoes for just one day.
In business, empathy is about the customer’s experience while they interact with the brand. You see how glaring the role of empathy is in customer service when you contextualise the fact that 89% of companies compete for customer attention based on customer service alone. In other words, it can be that one factor that distinguishes a successful business from one that fails.
For even more context, 63% of US consumers said they would churn (stop doing business as a company) and go for a competitor because of unsatisfactory customer service.
Hence, it is important for customer service/success personnel to have empathy as a skill. It helps when relating with other human beings to understand their needs better than we would if we did not have this skill.
Ever heard of the expression customer centricity?
Businesses that care about their customers take the time to understand who they are and what their needs are. This is called customer-centricity. It means looking at the world through your customers’ eyes instead of solely thinking about profit or how you can grow your business.
Empathy is not necessarily something you are born with; it is an acquired skill you can develop through practice. This means there are lots of opportunities for growth in this area!
For empathy to thrive in your workplace, it is important that everyone understands what empathy looks like: it doesn’t mean giving out free hugs or candy bars. Rather, it means seeing through someone else’s eyes so they know how they feel at any given moment. You may even find yourself feeling sorry for certain people when they aren’t feeling well because this type of behaviour makes them feel understood by those around them!
The best way to be empathetic in a customer service role is by understanding what your customers need and providing value for them. This is known as customer-centricity.
Customer centricity is about meeting the emotional, experiential and aspirational needs of your customers. For this to happen, you must have empathy for those who are using your products or services—it’s essential!
Empathy enables us not only to understand others, but also helps them feel understood so that we can work together towards a common goal – solving problems together.
The second thing that businesses need to understand is why they are responsible for the satisfaction of their customers.
It’s about delivering value to them by exceeding expectations It’s about meeting their needs or expectations and exceeding that of the competition. It’s about knowing your audience so well that you can anticipate what will work best for them before they even know themselves!
Customer-centric companies focus on delivering value to their customers instead of just selling them products or services. They also work hard to satisfy all of their customers’ needs, not just their functional, transactional needs. They strive to meet their customers’ emotional, experiential and aspirational needs as well.
Empathy comes from paying attention: listening carefully enough so that you can hear what the other person is saying without interrupting them; observing body language signals such as posture or facial expressions; inferring meaning from overall interactions between people in a room (or across multiple rooms).
Empathy provides a lot of benefits to both businesses and customers. Some of the common benefits of empathy to you as a business are:
Repeat the issue back to the customer in a different way to acknowledge how they felt
Think ahead to what the customer might need next.
Use words like “I totally understand”, “You’re completely right” or “I totally get how you feel”.
Identify customer priorities and offer solutions accordingly.
Match your tone with that of the customer. Depending on the customers tone, you can use humour, professional terms, or casual terms.
To track how empathetic a customer service agent is, you can keep track of some of these expressions in their interactions with customers over time from the backend using an Omnichannel CRM like NotchCX.
Empathy is a top-down phenomenon. The employees are more likely to do the right thing for the customer when the leadership is customer-focused and empathetic. Negative customer service stories rarely involve the customer support representative alone. It reflects the culture of the company.
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