Getting a medical-insurance was difficult for me since I had heard how difficult it was to apply for claims when required. When I first started flying, I had nasty experiences with both the ground crew and the onboard attendants which made me swear never to fly with those airlines again. We have all had such experiences, and companies have lost millions of customers thanks to horrid customer care.
In many such cases, small tokens of empathy from the company’s side could have helped them retain at least some of the customers that they lost. Instead of hiring third-party vendors who would face the customers whenever your company faces an issue, you could use people who can turn these issues into opportunities by putting themselves in the shoes of the customer and by providing exemplary services.
Once, I contacted a leading e-Commerce giant for a certain electronic item thinking they would send an email explaining if they have it in stock or not. Instead, I got a long mail from one of their customer service executives mentioning that the said item was not in stock and further directing me to other websites and better alternatives that I could go for. In this case, he showed a sense of customer empathy since he helped me with my problem instead of just replying to me as a faceless executive of the company.
Spending habits have changed and the latest generation with cash- millennials and Generation Z are a lot more aware than their forefathers. They plan and spend specifically on products made by companies who are not only more empathetic to their customers but are also more socially aware.
Companies are not only expected to be good at what they are doing but also to be social leaders, and draw the attention of the crowd to social and environmental causes. And in the age of social media no act, whether good or bad, done by any company goes unseen. It is plastered on the headlines of social media within hours.
Customer empathy needs to be embedded in our day to day work, but the challenge lies in how to evolve it into an organizational strategy and vision. This way, every decision taken by a company would also measure how customers will be impacted by the decision. A company with customer-empathy in mind can also cater to users better since their products and services will also be “customer-first” instead of “profit-first”. A better understanding of customer sentiments would help in every sector of a company.
Empathy can both drive a company or be a result. When products and services are designed keeping the actual people and their experiences in mind, you can easily be more empathetic to your customers. This way you can hone the emotional intelligence of all the members of your organization without the need to bring in an external team for periodic training that rarely has any value.
When a customer uses a product or even a service he goes through different cycles till he gets used to it, and the faster he becomes familiar with it, the better it is for companies. If you can study and understand the journey of a customer’s understanding of a product, you can be more empathetic towards users and design better products.
This can happen through getting customers to test products that are still in the concept stage, and get live feedback. These customer insights can help you gather a better foresight when building new products or modifying old ones. These customer interactions would also improve customer service ratings of your company as a whole.
As per Gartner, by 2020, most CRM servicing companies would be affected by digital disruptors. However, companies that are more empathetic towards customers and apply a personal touch in their services, are three times as likely to fend off such market changes. This is the report where this prediction was made. There is enough real-world evidence to support the statement, and companies across the globe, whether they make cars or software have taken on customer service as a priority to fix the gaps.
Call centers remain one of the most important points of contact between companies and customers even today as most customers prefer to call up a customer care executive as opposed to talking to automated voice support or interacting with a “half-as-intelligent” chatbot. What is important for customer support is to get the story (the problem) out of the customer since they might not always be empowered to provide immediate help. That way, by being a little empathetic, a customer would feel better understood even if immediate help is not guaranteed.
While metrics do remain of utmost importance for any business, companies need to take a qualitative approach when they hire and build support teams, since these teams would be your face to the crowd.
Your ability as a business owner is not just defined by the revenue increase per year but also by how customers perceive your company. You might be faring well today because there is no competitor, but tomorrow a smaller competitor with better and more empathetic customer care may take over a share of your niche market.
One thing that should be remembered is that your employees can be empathetic towards your customers only if you are empathetic to them. Simple tactics such as rewarding support team for the number of stars they achieve from customer reviews or telling them stories of how brilliant customer care tactics changed companies’ outlooks can go a long way in boosting the morale of your teams which would directly translate into more empathetic customer-care. Small acts such as these would make the front line employees as close to your company as those who actually build your product.
When a customer tries your product for the first time, likes it, and goes as far as to recommend it to their network,…
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