According to the Cambridge dictionary, customer service is ‘the way that an organisation deals with customers before, during, and after a sale, and the activities involved in dealing with customers.’
Technically, the above is right. But these actions will not result in a great customer experience without empathy.
Being empathetic doesn’t mean you agree with someone regardless of the situation. It means you acknowledge their feelings – from the heart – not just because you must.
Empathy is seeing a problem from the customer’s point of view.
With empathy, you place yourself in the customer’s shoes.
With empathy, you want to set things right to the best of your ability.
With empathy, you are on the right track to providing an unforgettable customer experience.
Building rapport and trust
Having empathy is essential when it comes to building rapport and trust with your customers. No matter if you’re handing a new sales account or dealing with a nasty complaint, your customers need to feel and be assured that they are genuinely being listened to. And being the connecting dot between your organisation and the customer, you must want to give them a great experience. This is why you’re in this role. This is why you’re a professional.
One thing to remember about empathy or customer service for that matter is that it doesn’t mean you give in to the customer’s every demand. In many cases it’s about offering alternatives with the promise to follow up and set things right.
For an organisation it is a must to have a set of mandates and guidelines in place to empower employees. This way, employees will know at the back of their minds that their actions are supported by the management. Empowering staff to go ‘off-script’ – strategically within set limits – will help them get to the heart of the matter and resolve customer issues quicker. Being customers ourselves, we all know what a difference this makes to the overall experience.
At the end of the day, as a customer, if I feel like you genuinely care about me as an individual and make an effort to understand my personal situation, I’ll want to work more with you or buy more of your products in future.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal of a business?