Great Customer Empathy Secrets

We talked a little in the past about whether or not customer empathy was real, and if so, whether or not it was important. As you most likely recall, we concluded that the answer to both of these quandaries was a definite yes. Customer empathy is very important, and very real, and companies with great customer empathy are companies that will retain a customer base of happy patrons and which will continue to acquire business and grow in the future.

We talked a little about why this was as well Customer empathy will enable a company to think as a user will, to reach them on their frequency, and will prevent exploitation or flippant disregard of a customer. It will prevent extortion and poor service, and ensure positive respect and value of a customer as a human being.

So, we know all of this, but exactly how does one go about practicing customer empathy? What is involved in it, and how does one know if they are being properly empathic with their customers? Are you doing it right? Most of us aren’t psychologists, nor do we have time in our hectic schedules to really “get in touch with our feelings”. As such, while we know the definition of empathy from our schooling, how do we really know we are feeling it in any situation, business or otherwise?

Allow us to illuminate this topic just a little.

When you ponder taking an action that is not positively intended for customers, such as raising prices too heavily, reducing a product or service’s quality, or by reducing the efficiency of customer service, do you wonder how you would feel in their situation? Even if you know it won’t adversely affect your ability to retain customers, and that the customers, while unhappy, won’t feel empowered to judge, do you still feel bad for it?

That’s the ticket. It’s all about feeling concerned about the ramifications of your actions regardless of consequences. It’s all about caring how you make the customer feel, and feeling what they feel when they’re in distress, or when they’re satisfied as well. When you get joy from their joy, and want nothing more than to resolve issues because you feel as put off by problems as they do, then you have empathy nailed.

How can you apply this to your business through your employees, especially for customer service? Well, empathy isn’t something you can train people to feel, you can only do what you can to ensure that empathic people are put into the positions where it is needed. Be sure that hiring requirements for customer service test people for caring about customers, not just about clocking their eight hours daily. Make sure they are of the nature of people who want to help, not just earn a paycheck. This is all we can hope for. Emotions are either there or they’re not.

So, when it comes to customer empathy, it’s a very important thing, and if you feel for the customers regardless of consequence, you know you’re doing it right. You cannot train for this, so be sure to use some psychology in screening customer service staff.

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe