Events during the past year have resulted is a massive shift towards online shopping, communication, and work. While we are potentially all connected to each other via the digital realm, such a shift also results in a physical disconnect, which can have a detrimental effect on consumer perception of a company.
After all, it’s the human element that often helps present a brand as more than just a faceless entity. Subsequently, it’s more important than ever to provide some form of human interaction or empathy in order to continue to deliver a positive Customer Experience (CX).
Support staff and other management teams in charge of CX must work together to develop new strategies that retain empathy in all touchpoints along the customer journey. Such moments can mean the world to a customer, and will help to retain much of your customer base.
What is Customer Empathy?
Put simply, customer empathy means understanding your customer. This has always been an important part of any CX strategy, but never more so now that customer wants, needs, and pain points have changed dramatically. CX managers must now strive to understand what is fueling the customer’s decision process and how they perceive each interaction with your brand.
How to Improve Your Customer Empathy
Consider each customer as an important relationship that you need to foster and grow. Do that, and you’ll know what to do—they key to any long-lasting relationship is to stay in touch.
Whether you’re a small business, an entrepreneur, or a major corporation, there’s plenty you can do to maintain contact with your customers. From email marketing to social media marketing to personalization to simply responding to feedback and reviews, there are a multitude of possibilities to show customers that you value them.
Of course, it’s also important that you fully understand and realize exactly what it is your customers expect, and then you must implement a CX strategy to meet and exceed those expectations. Because this isn’t just about staying close to your customers—it’s about being closer to your customers than your competitors are.
Because, as with any relationship, if the customer feels undervalued, they will end the current relationship and begin another one with a brand that puts more emphasis on making them feel important.
Customer Empathy and Customer Service
The customer will likely have interactions with customer service from time to time, and it is here that you must really strive to maintain an empathic connection. You can achieve this by following these simple but critical guidelines:
Listen to the Customer
They want to know that they are being listened to, and that their problem matters. If they get the sense that they aren’t important, it can immediately sour the whole relationship. Remember these important stats—96% of customers say customer service is important when being loyal to a brand, and the biggest cause for customers to switch brands is because they don’t feel unappreciated.
Make Their Problem Your Problem
Show the customer not just that you understand their frustration or concern, but be frustrated or concerned as well.
Respect the Customer
To better empathize with the customer, teach support staff to see the problem through the customer’s eyes. Chances are they may have had the same or a similar issue as a customer once, so they should be able to empathize with the customer’s problem and work to arrive at a reasonable and satisfying solution.
Overall, remaining positive, showing the customers that you care, and actively seeking and listening to feedback keeps the relationship alive. And don’t simply rely on support staff to achieve these relationship goals—all levels of management must strive to foster customer relationships and ensure that the customer is always respected and understood. It’s the extra acknowledgements of understanding and empathy that will lead to CX success in today’s current digital world of social distancing.