Understanding the needs of the customer is vital for any business, especially in a digital-first world. In an impersonal world that has sped up because of the global pandemic, it has never been more important to show empathy and embed it in workplace culture. Here's how to ensure empathy is an integral part of your customer experience.
Why Empathy Counts
The world has become increasingly digital and impersonal, particularly as a consequence of COVID-19. Overnight, businesses changed, and staff wore personal protective equipment. Customers accustomed to seeing staff interact with a smiling face now see people in masks or are asked to interact online only. Having empathy to understand the customer experience has never been more important. What might appear to be a simple task using the company website could be a real challenge for an older customer who is just getting used to using a computer because they can't get to the stores. If you want to increase and keep customers in your business, you are going to need to adapt to meet their needs, and having empathy when analyzing the customer experience is vital.
Watch the full TABLEtalk for free where we discuss how the customer has changed, and how a tip from the past may be the key to the future of customer experience.
Look at It From Their Viewpoint
Getting a fresh perspective on your company's CX is vital, and even more so from a customer viewpoint. Do you know what it is really like to phone your company and try to speak with someone or navigate your website? Feedback from a customer will raise issues you never even thought about that otherwise could hinder your growth because you don't experience them yourself.
Value feedback and act on those suggestions as often; the biggest blindspot a company faces is seeing everything from their own perspective. Here's an easy exercise—try using your phone system as a mystery customer to get a feel for what the public's experience is. If you found it hard, just imagine what the customers think.
Are you a digital-only business? When was the last time you tried to order something from your website or attempted to find some information? By walking the service as a customer, you will encounter things that need to change, such as impersonal voicemail or inefficient procedures. Not only does that benefit your business, but it gives your customers an improved and empathetic experience when they choose your company.
Simple Ways to Embed Empathy
Humanizing the customer experience has become vital in a world of anonymous digital encounters. Ensure your staff is trained to call people by their names and understand how to read things like non-verbal cues. If you use a lot of telesales, take time to personalize the experience and show some empathy to the customer. Being friendly, but professional can change their view on making a purchase or not.
Listening to customers is very important as it helps you understand what people want in a business. Use initiatives such as a prize draw to get customer feedback. You can also include feedback tabs on your website and a proactive chatbots for questions, and that's just skimming the surface of what they can provide. For example, did you know that Zoe, our robust chatbot, can be embedded on your website or mobile app with little code? Once deployed, Zoe can provide your support team with abilities such as taking payment, signing documents, or even video chatting with your customers.
Another powerful way to gauge your company's CX is by using mystery customers to test processes and how clients are spoken to, including how the staff interacts with them. With an ever diverse customer base, it's imperative to ensure your team is inclusive so they can help people whose first language isn't English or computers isn't their platform of choice.
The easier to use and more adaptable your touchpoints are—whether in person or digital—like ensuring your website is adaptable for the visually or audibly impaired, the greater the opportunity you have of capturing not just a customer for life but an entirely new client base.
When empathy is embedded in every small and big interaction, it will result in a transformed company that's able to better meet the demands of customers today and face the challenges of tomorrow. Empathy is often overlooked but is a core skill, but by making sure your staff is clear about your approach, the customer experience will be positive.
Read our in-depth eBook, What Customer Experience Means in 2021, for free and see how providing a good product is now just the start and what you must do to gain a customer for life.