This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Mike Daugherty writes about the importance of empathy in customer service. I believe it’s more than just doing the right thing for a customer. It is doing the right thing with empathy, sympathy, concern and care. – Shep Hyken In order to take customer service to the […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Mike Daugherty writes about the importance of empathy in customer service. I believe it’s more than just doing the right thing for a customer. It is doing the right thing with empathy, sympathy, concern and care. – Shep Hyken
In order to take customer service to the next level, you need to be able to identify with your patrons. I would argue that without empathy, it will be impossible to become anything more than “average” at customer service. Empathy in customer service is the ability to not only see, but understand the situation from your customer’s point of view and truly appreciate their feelings.
Empathy begins with simply listening to the customer regardless of how irate they may be. When an angry person is given the opportunity to express why they are angry, often times it leads them to calm down. Think about your own life for a minute. When you are upset, you may just want to vent in order to get it off your chest. You don’t want to be told to calm down. In fact, being told to calm down may even anger you more. You just want a chance to be heard. Next time you are in a situation where someone is openly and vocally venting their frustrations, try this:
When the person is finished, start your reply with empathetic statements like the ones below. Make sure to use an honest, sincere tone of voice when speaking. You don’t want to the customer to think you are opening mocking them.
At this point, you can begin to move the conversation toward a resolution. Evaluate what they have said and determine a mutually acceptable course of action. While you want to resolve the situation in a timely manner, make sure to offer a solution that is based around their concerns. You want to focus on the root of the problem. For example, if the customer is irritated over a defective toy that he purchases for his son or daughter, you would want to offer him a solution that is focused around making the child feel better. His feelings of dissatisfaction stem from how upset his son/daughter is. Come up with a solution that makes the child happy as opposed to a generic “have some free stuff with our logo on it”. Also, don’t offer something you cannot deliver. By solving the root issue, you:
“Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation to me, sir. I understand why you feel the way you do and I am sorry you had to take time out of your day to call us. I would like to offer to replace the toy free of charge. There are a couple of ways we can do this. If your child was really interested in that particular toy, we can replace it with the same model. However, there is an upgraded model that includes extra widgets and gadgets if you would prefer. How does that sound to you?
Always ask the customer if what you are proposing is acceptable. You’ve heard the facts, you’ve determined what would be fair compensation for this issue, but you want to be sure that he/she is willing to accept your offer.
As I stated before, empathy in customer service is the ability to not only see, but understand the situation from your customer’s point of view and truly appreciate their feelings. Organizations skilled in customer service can connect with patrons on their level. They emphasize compassion when trying to resolve an issue. Their customers are loyal and return because they know that if they have a problem, the institution truly cares about making it right.
Mike Daugherty has successfully formed and sold two technology companies. While he has a talent for Information Technology, his passion is education and helping schools succeed. He has spent much of his professional career mastering the art of customer service, personal productivity, and how to make the most of the time you are given on this earth.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com
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