We all know what empathy is and hopefully, many of us display it and receive it daily. Empathy builds human connections. It fosters an emotional rapport and bond with your customers.
Why is it that we seem to think that empathy plays no role in Business? I think that is so very wrong. Business is all about the buying and selling of goods and services. Empathy allows us to build a bridge between the buyer and seller to the point that consumers are not simply buying something, they are buying a relationship. You are simply not the only game in town. Customers can buy your stuff somewhere else. But what they can’t buy somewhere else is the relationship you are willing to provide them as they buy and use your product or service.
Empathy really counts when there are issues. Things go wrong. And yes, many times it is the customer who fouls things up. But by being empathetic and understanding their perspective and frustration, you can forge a stronger relationship by helping them and resolving the situation that will make them forever loyal to you.
Lifeless, automated, and robotic responses kill the customer experience.
Empathy drives connection in relationships. Empathy is the art of understanding and acknowledging a customer’s feelings and needs before trying to find a solution that meets them. When we take the time to understand the person and make them feel cared about, they will be more likely to continue to work with your company over time.
Empathy lets you share the feeling of someone’s joy or pain. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone’s pain or situation.
Empathy does not mean you agree with the person’s perspective or feelings. It means that without fixing it, giving advice or making suggestions, that you demonstrate an understanding of the feelings they are expressing.
As business leaders, empathy is important in our company as it allows everyone to feel safe in their mistakes and encourages leaders to look for the real cause driving the poor performance. Being empathetic allows leaders to help struggling staff improve and/or correct the behaviors and actions to help them succeed in their role.
CX is all about relationships and communication. Communication needs to be focused on showing the other person they are valued, cared about, and focused on helping them:
- The tone you use is crucial in conveying sincere empathy
- Leave your ego and perspective at the door and truly make the effort to see things from the other person’s viewpoint
- Actively listen. Validate their perspective. Check your attitude for the desired outcome.
- Relate to a similar situation or experience that generates the same emotions or feelings – a missed plane, last-minute cancellation of plans, lost keys or wallet, etc.
Phrases that Convey Empathy
I can understand why you are frustrated…
I understand the situation and I’m so sorry you feel this way. This isn’t how we want any of our customers to feel.
I can imagine how upsetting it is to…
I’m so sorry to hear that…
I’m sad you had to contact us about this…
I’m glad you called so we have the chance to help you with this…
Empathy is teachable. Everyone is born with empathy and make the effort to develop it further.
It all relates back to Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote – “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
About the Author
Kristina Evey is improving the way companies connect with their customers and increase their profits, she is an accomplished speaker and trainer on customer satisfaction and retention.