Empathy is the ability to identify and understand your customers’ or employees’ feelings. This will lead to meaningful interactions, which will make all of those involved feel better about the situation, even if you are not able to resolve their issue.
Empathy does not always mean agreeing. It means taking an action with as much compassion as possible.
Many businesses associate improved customer satisfaction with increased empathy. Data indicates customers are willing to pay more for a pleasant experience over just a functionally good one.
An International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) survey found that 73 percent of respondents are likely to spend more money than they originally planned to spend if they had a good customer service experience.
Using empathy in customer service
Empathy and customer service
You will be able to improve your customer’s experience by building a rapport with them and using empathy to solve their problems.
The first step to building empathy in customer service is to be self-aware, which means being conscious of your own thoughts and feelings, including your biases. Here are some best practices that will help you improve your empathy and customer service:
Be an active listener. Don’t assume you know what your customer is thinking or is going to ask you. Listen carefully and attentively. Repeat what they have told you to guarantee that you understand their issue.
Show them that you care. Take ownership of the problem or complaint. Give them your contact information so they have someone to come back to if the issue is not resolved or needs additional follow through. We all feel better when we can talk to the same person regarding something we are trying to get settled. This makes your customer feel important. Smile when you are talking to your customer. That smile will come through on the telephone.
Give them the time they need. Allow them to vent without interrupting. While you are listening carefully, you can begin to figure out what you can do to help your customer with the issue.
Respect your customer. Talk to your customer with respect and never talk down to them. Do not get defensive–they are not attacking you. They have an issue that needs to be resolved.
Understand their priorities. Make sure you understand why your customer is struggling and do what you can to help them reach a resolution. They will have a list of priorities. You should understand those priorities and make those your priorities as well. If you address their issues in their order of importance, the customer will know that you understand them and are taking care of their best interests.
Open with a positive statement. After the customer has spent time explaining their issue to you, begin with a short, direct response to gain their confidence. The statements you make should convey concern, make the customer feel valued and show your helpfulness. By stating something like, “let’s get this fixed,” you are telling the customer that you are taking ownership of their problem.
Empathy is important to understand what your customer really needs. It’s important that you don’t confuse empathy with sympathy. Sympathy allows you to feel bad for your customer’s situation, but empathy puts you in their position.
We know you wear a lot of different hats as a small business owner. If you’d like help improving your customer service experience, we’re here to help.
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