Customer service techniques have changed over the years. The one area where companies can achieve outstanding customer loyalty and connections is incorporating empathy into their customer service model.
The ability to use empathy when speaking to a customer, understanding their situation, and actively listening to them, creates a connection between the organization and the customer. It isn’t just about the sale. It is about the human connection between the customer and someone on the other end of the line or across the counter.
That connection can be easily lost when companies only focus on quick sales, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPI). Find a way to use empathy as your number one tool to empower your employees and increase sales at the same time. The human connection is essential in this strategy. It is crucial to hire the right employees and emphasize that emotional intelligence is critical to success.
Why Use Empathy?
The better question is, why not? As a customer, how would you feel if someone spent the time actually listening to your concerns and questions? You can connect with the customer if you flip the script during the interaction and put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
This will help future interactions with the customer be at the same level of empathy and understanding that you had with them the last time. Eventually, the customer may begin to connect the brand with the empathy shown to them by employees, increasing loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.
The human connection itself is a deeply rooted need. We want to feel cared for and most genuinely have concern for others. How can you start this process in your organization?
Hiring the Right Employees
It all begins with having the correct values in mind when hiring employees working directly with customers. Many companies will use personality testing and basic skills assessments. Those are powerful tools in the hiring process. However, they should not be leaned entirely upon to make the best choices.
Searching for naturally empathetic employees that still understand the urgency, the mission, and overall goals of the company can be beneficial. A successful implementation occurs when employees align with the mission of helping others and inspiring change and are actively engaged in this process each day.
It is essential to use learning opportunities such as coaching, learning modules, and emotional intelligence-building exercises within the organization as part of employee training. The learning environment itself can be a process of breaking down any barriers employees may have.
As the barrier is brought down in a safe environment, employees become more comfortable listening and engaging. They will achieve a connection that can provide productive interaction between both parties. The need for human connection is hard-wired into the human experience. Once that component is aligned and incorporated into the company’s values, it can easily be translated into employee onboarding and metrics.
How to Implement
A robust training program emphasizing empathy as part of the organization’s mission is an excellent way of implementing an expectation of empathy from your staff. This, along with a solid quality system demonstrating “engaging with empathy” as a variable in a metric, can be an opportunity to guide employees towards focusing this as a tool to gain customer trust and increase sales. It will allow employees to flex their ability to connect with others increasing engagement, and in the long-term, retaining customers and increasing referrals.
Empathy Leads to Success
The value of empathy alone can increase motivation. It can increase employee ownership of their position, help employees understand their own personal motivations at work, and increase productivity. These areas will lead to increased sales, referrals, and retaining of both customers and employees.
Leading with empathy will increase your organization’s visibility and bring transparency about how your appreciation for your staff is intertwined. Remember, empathy can be implemented at all levels of the organization and is most successful when brought into the company mission and as a set of values included in training and demonstrated in day-to-day tasks.
Caring for your staff and for what they do each and every day is essential. Employees who feel appreciated for their work, their daily interactions with customers, and their impact on those customers’ lives will support one another at work and fulfill the company’s mission to help your organization grow.
The desire for human connections runs deep within all of us. Offering customers your full attention and understanding by assessing and analyzing their needs and actively engaging with them will leave them feeling appreciated and understood. Customers will feel satisfied with the interaction, and your organization will retain customers and employees, increase sales and productivity.