What do we mean when we say empathy? Sympathy acknowledges someone’s pain but empathy goes beyond logic & reason. It is a state of being. It is the ability to understand the emotions of someone else without feeling the emotion. Empathy is both caring and personally knowing the struggle that the other person is facing.
What is Customer Empathy?
Customer empathy is very much about putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, understanding the environment that they are working in, understanding their market and understanding what you do and how it can help them to benefit their business.
Why Do We Need Empathy in Our Organisation?
When someone says “we need empathy and compassion in our organisation”, we generally assume that it must be about non-profit organisation because business doesn’t care about these things and empathy and compassion have nothing to do with money.
I think the focus of business needs an adjustment. Such a structure needs to be created that allows human beings to develop to their fullest potential and in order to develop to our fullest potential; we need to understand the perspectives of other people that is empathy.
We need to be more empathic and compassionate with each other except culturally declining. If more people are worried about themselves then we are placing less value on our relationship and as we devalue our relationship, we are less capable of seeing the holistic value of another person and as a result, we are not developing to our fullest potential. Thus, we need to bring empathy into our business culture.
What is The Importance and Benefit of Customer Empathy For Our Business?
As said by Zig Zigler, “The best way to get what you want in life is to help others get what they want”. And how do we get that? We use empathy.
In the words of Joydeep Bhattacharya, author of SEOSandwitch blog, “Having a good understanding of our customers is essential if we want to effectively develop and sell our products and services. This could be achieved by first seeking to understand how our ideal customers view their environment before trying to understand their experience with us”.
It allows getting a much better understanding of our customers and understanding of how we can engage with them. It helps us to generate insights into potential needs that the customers might have that we are not currently serving.
In the words of John Estafanous, Ceo & founder, RallyBright,
“Higher empathy leads to stronger financial performance, increased customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and greater innovation”.
Customer empathy will allow us to identify whether they are likely to see value in our product offering. Thus, it helps us to grow our market and in turn grow our business.
Working on building empathy has all kinds of benefits; it makes you less aggressive, has a lower level of stress and depression and does better professionally. Empathy is the foundation for morality. In the presence of empathy, cruelty cannot exist.
Empathy can head off conflicts before they even start, prevents conflicts from escalating and is a key component in conflict resolution. Empathy builds trust. It helps build stronger relationships and reminds us that people are not machines and have feelings. We are going to be masters of customer service, whether an IT or any other firm if we focus on building empathy. Our ability to empathize with our fellow humans is a key to success in today’s workplace.
How Can Businesses Be Customer Empathetic?
After knowing what empathy means, what customer empathy means, what is the value of customer empathy for our business, we finally need to know how we can be empathetic to our customer.
- Listen: Put down your smartphone and truly listen to the other person with an intent to understand them. To make this work, we must also be open up and share our innermost thoughts and feelings. It is a process of give and take.
- Use empathetic language: Use phrases such as “ I am sorry that happened to you”, “ I don’t blame you for feeling that way”, “I feel the same way” which can help us reflect on other person experiences. However, you must be sincere in using those; otherwise, it is of no use.
- Don’t be judgmental: Being judgmental is really not our job. All approach life with a unique perspective. Thus, avoid being judgemental.
- Practice curiosity about others: Part of being empathetic is being interested in other people. Ask questions about where they are from, their beliefs and their values but without being judgmental. Let them talk without jumping in with your perspective.
- Challenge your own prejudices: Just because you believe something, does not mean it is true or is the only truth. Do not believe everything that you think. Put yourself in situations where you might hear philosophical or political discussions that differ from your beliefs and just listen.
- As with compassion, look for commonalities instead of differences: Make no mistake about it. Each of us is unique and we have many differences between us but we also have a lot in common.
- Avoid labeling people: It is a lot easier to hit a label on a person. However, when we get to know each other as people not as democrats or republicans, Christian or Muslims, blacks or whites, whatever opposing labels you choose, you later realize in spite of differences, we are all connected in many ways.
Customer empathy is all about being able to project yourself into that customer world. See the world from their eyes and ask yourself not just “how can I align to this?” but what do they miss, what should they know, what should they feel and what should they see. And, only you can ask yourself those high-quality questions if you are in that perspective, to begin with. That is what really matters and that is why empathy is absolutely crucial.
Customer empathy is at the cutting edge of any business as it allows companies to truly understand and adapt to customer needs and changes in culture. It strengthens communication and helps become a better person. Thus, empathy combined with technical ability is a powerful formula for the success of any business.