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5 Takeaways for Empathy in Customer Experience

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

1. In customer service, empathy 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 how his customer feels and take the initiative to book a local car service for this customer. This makes for great customer services.

2. Use guidelines instead of scripts

Companies blindly rely on scripts for customer support because they are hoping to achieve consistency, but these often leave a certain lack of empathy. However, using guidelines instead of scripts encourages customer service agents to:

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 and better understanding each customer’s situation, point of view and concerns, a company will achieve higher customer satisfaction, and an overall richer customer experience.

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 service representatives. Instead, management should lead by example and openly express empathy towards its customer service agents: take an active role in recognizing the day-to-day work that frontline support teams handle, and use empathetic statements to show your appreciation for their hard work.


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 of examples of empathy statements within customer service. Team members would nominate each other and the best stories were shared monthly via LinkedIn posts, newsletters and team meetings.

At Chatdesk, these principles are ingrained in our company. The bottom line is that great empathy is the #1 requirement for people who want to join our Customer Support team.


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