Lead by the likes of REI, Virgin America, and Amazon, businesses across the world is emphasizing on exceptional customer service to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Hiring extensive market research services have become the norm. Companies are making extra efforts to understand their customers and empathizing with them – in a bid to create lasting business relationships.
As in everyday relationships, empathy can be a powerful element in company-customer relationships too.
So what does showing empathy to customers mean for a company? Irrespective of the specific strategy adopted by a company (addressing customers by their names, following up via phone calls etc.), demonstrating empathy would certainly involve thoughtful shaping of the customer experience – on every step of their journey, customers should be treated like individuals, rather than sources of revenue.
Truly meaningful customer experiences arise from empathy; without which, there can be no genuine customer service. And despite the need for empathy to be at the core of every company’s customer service strategy, one probably can’t recall enough instances of feeling really connected with an agent during the course of a customer service interaction.
Broadly, empathy is about “listening”, “relating” and “absorbing.” But since measuring empathy is a tricky affair, most companies still have a long way to go, as far as institutionalization and implementation of this concept is concerned.
However, there are two good news:
Firstly, people can be trained to be empathetic – even if they naturally aren’t.
Secondly, the demonstration of empathy is independent of problem-solving. If an interaction ends on a high note, such that customers come away feeling great, even if the issue remains unresolved, the job is done!
When you show that you care, by genuinely trying to solve customers’ problems, customers respond well and remember you positively – which DEFINITELY has them coming back for more of your services and products.
Unlike the resolution of problems, which may not always be in your hands, the ability to make your customers feel important, certainly is!
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