When most people think about customer service, the first thing that comes to mind is solving problems. While this is an important part of the job, it’s not the only aspect. Showing empathy for others is a key customer service skill that is often overlooked.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s an important quality in customer service because it allows you to see things from the customer’s perspective and build a rapport with them.
Here are ten ways you can create empathy-centric customer service.
1. Write an Empathy Statement
The first step in creating empathy-centric customer service is to write an Empathy Statement. This is a short, one or two sentence statement that captures the essence of what you are trying to achieve. It should be something that you can reference when making decisions about customer service. For example, the Empathy Statement at Zappos is “To create customer loyalty through customer service.” This statement guides everything they do; from the way they answer the phone to the way returns are managed.
2. Make empathy a priority
The next step is to make empathy a priority. This means that you need to take the time to understand your customer’s perspective and needs. One of the best ways to do this is to constantly ask for feedback. This can be done through surveys, customer interviews, or simply by paying attention to the way your customers interact with your business. It’s also important to give your customer service team the freedom to show empathy. This means empowering them to make decisions that they feel are in the best interest of the customer, even if it isn’t the most efficient way for your business.
3. Train your team
You will need to train your team in empathy-centric customer service. This means teaching them how to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and understand their perspective. They will need the tools to be successful. This might include customer service software that makes it easy to track customer details and interactions. Don’t forget to train all your employees and service providers too. It’s important that your delivery drivers are polite and drive with empathy, for example, adhering to a safe following distance when making deliveries to customers.
4. Use phrases that show empathy to customers
This means using language that customer can relate to and understand. For example, instead of saying “I’m sorry for the inconvenience,” try saying “I know how frustrating this must be for you.” This slight change can make a significant difference in the way your customers perceive your customer service.
Examples of empathy phrases:
- I understand how you feel
- That sounds difficult
- I can imagine how that would be frustrating
- That makes sense
- Thank you for explaining that to me
- I appreciate your patience
- I’m sorry to hear that
- Can you tell me more about that?
- I’ll do my best to help you
- Is there anything else I can do?
5. Convey empathy by listening carefully
Listen carefully to your customers. This means really hearing what they are saying and trying to understand their perspective. It can be easy to get caught up in solving the problem and forget to truly listen to the customer. However, if you take the time to really listen, you will be able to provide better customer service and build a stronger relationship with your customer.
6. Use the customer’s name
Calling a customer by name is one of the simplest and most effective ways to show that you value their business. It personalizes the interaction and helps to build rapport. Furthermore, it sends a clear message that you are paying attention and that you want to provide excellent customer service. Of course, there are some challenges to using customer names effectively. You need to be able to pronounce them correctly, and you need to make sure that you have the correct spelling. However, taking the time to get these details right will pay off in terms of customer satisfaction.
7. Stay calm with customers
You will inevitably have to deal with upset customers from time to time. While it can be challenging to keep calm in the face of angry outbursts, always remember that the customer is not angry with you personally. Instead, they are upset about the issue or problem that they are experiencing. By staying calm and focused, you will be better able to help the customer resolve their issue.
Tips to remain calm with upset customers:
- Take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to the customer. This will help to prevent you from saying something that you may later regret
- Avoid defensiveness. Even if the customer is wrong, it is important to remain calm and polite. Getting into an argument will only make the situation worse.
- Offer solutions. Once you have listened to the customer and understand their problem, offer potential solutions. This will show them that you are trying to help resolve the issue.
8. Be patient
When dealing with customers, it is important to be patient. This can be difficult, especially when the customer is angry or upset. It is important to give the customer time to explain their problem. Often, customer service issues can be resolved quickly if the customer is given the opportunity to fully explain their issue.
9. Show your customers that you care
Customer service isn’t just about being polite and helpful. It’s about showing you care about your customer’s life problems. That could mean taking the time to listen to their story, offering advice or resources, or just being a shoulder to cry on. Whatever the problem may be, customer service representatives who show they care can go a long way toward building customer loyalty. In today’s competitive marketplace, which can make all the difference. So, the next time you’re on the phone with a customer, remember to show you care. It could be the most important part of the call.
10. Say thank you – and mean it
A sincere “thank you” goes a long way in making customers feel appreciated. Whether it’s a handwritten note included with their purchase, or a simple verbal thank you at the end of their transaction, expressing your gratitude will let them know that you care.
Empathy-centric customer service is all about understanding and meeting the needs of your customer. It’s not just about solving their problems, but also about making them feel valued and appreciated. This can be done by providing a personalized experience, showing genuine concern, and taking the time to understand their individual needs.