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Chatdesk is built on the premise that the most important part of customer care is empathy, so we were excited to read the Booz & Co paper called “The Empathy Engine — Turning Customer Service Into a Sustainable Advantage.” (PDF) Here is a summary of our key takeaways

1. Empathy in customer service means putting yourself in the customer’s shoes

When a call center representative for a hotel chain puts himself in the shoes of his customer, who is at the airport, has arrived late, and doesn’t know how to find his way to the hotel, he can sense his customer’s stress and take the initiative to find and book a local car service for this customer.

2. Use guidelines instead of scripts

Companies blindly rely on scripts for customer service because they are hoping to achieve consistency. But using guidelines instead of scripts encourages customer advocates to:

  • Be more organic
  • Think on their feet to solve problems for the customers
  • Adapt quickly as products and services change instead of waiting for scripts to be updated

3. Generating “Wow” experiences is unsustainable

A “delight strategy” will face continuously rising costs as more is needed to exceed customers’ ever-rising expectations…

The better approach is to consistently meet customers’ high expectations. By focusing on successfully resolving each customer’s problems and concerns, a company will achieve higher customer satisfaction.

4. Management should not let escalations shape their opinions

Management typically only gets involved in customer service when an escalation happens. This skews management’s opinions of the customer service experience and frontline customer advocates. Instead, management should take an active role in recognizing and appreciating the day to day work that frontline customer advocate teams handle

5. Use stories to communicate your values

Business language has zero emotional currency; people are wired to respond emotionally to stories.

Storytelling is a compelling way to reinforce behaviors by illustrating values in action and motivating people across the company with examples of customer care heroes.

For example, one company instituted a program called “Service from the Heart” as a way to identify, collect and share stories about the importance of providing empathetic customer service. Colleagues could nominate each other and the best stories are shared each month via newsletters and team meetings

At Chatdesk, these principles are ingrained in our company. Great empathy is the #1 requirement for people who want to join our Customer Advocate team.