In many ways, the pandemic has been difficult. It has impacted practically every aspect of our life, with supply chain disruptions, millions of people being laid off, and much more. Despite this, the pandemic was beneficial in one way: it put our ability to collaborate and innovate to the test, and we flew on so many levels.
We evolved into superheroes as a group. Using our kitchen tables as remote workspaces, slipping on our commuting slippers in the morning, and checking in with a few keystrokes. To preserve relationships and combat isolation, we embraced our natural need for human interaction and resorted to relationship-building via communication platforms like Microsoft Teams. With conversational chatbots created to address inquiries at any hour of the day, we created AI-driven solutions which focus on the human factor. We accelerated significant improvements that were predicted to take years to implement but were completed in a matter of weeks thanks to sheer willpower. With sympathy echoing in every syllable, we dug deep and climbed to new heights.
Customer service organizations became the core of resiliency, daring to go where no other customer service organization had gone before. We altered mindsets and overcame the fear of implementing change, pivoting in ways we never imagined. While some of the changes were initially unsettling, we quickly adjusted and prospered. Customer service firms grew and prospered rather than combusting or imploding.
Pandemic-related challenges to safety and well-being were overcome by customer service organizations. It was nearly difficult to maintain social distance and protect workers within a contact center. Agents began entering into their customer support app and resolving client issues from the safety and convenience of their homes in a matter of weeks. Agents continued to strengthen relationships whilst also resolving customer issues, growing call volumes, and less-than-patient customers, thanks to cloud-based customer service and omnichannel communication solutions that not only bridged the always-on customer service gap and helped keep companies solvent.
Managers of customer service learned a lot about themselves and their agents. But, more importantly, they learned to empathize with others. They learned to pay attention and acknowledge their team’s worries. Organizations that stood up for the agents and their safety were rewarded with higher levels of loyalty.
Client service agents became a life ring during the crisis, with both the organization and the customer clutching on for dear life in order to retain some semblance of routine. The agent repaid the organization’s empathy by becoming more loyal and having a lower turnover rate. The sympathetic agent affected the consumer, forming a symbiotic and reciprocal relationship. Empathy triggered a chain reaction, and it is now a crucial factor in establishing trust and developing connections with both employees and customers.
Empathetic organizations foster a culture of reciprocal devotion and loyalty. Managers and agents are motivated, and they go above and beyond to meet the organization’s objectives. In a tumultuous economic environment, it’s no wonder that certain organizations are more adaptable and resilient than others.
Empathy in the workplace was found to be positively associated with job performance in a recent study, and managers who practiced sympathetic leadership were thought to be higher performers. Managers that are compassionate have lesser turnover and more productivity. By humanizing the relationship and personalizing the client conversation, agents pay this empathy forward. Compassionate agents are active, think outside the box, and connect to ensure that every connection benefits the customer. Agents can give both the short-term benefit of addressing an issue and the long-term benefit of creating brand loyalty through a two-way emotional connection by displaying empathy.
Empathy is a learned skill that cannot be duplicated. It’s a mentality, a culture, and the foundation of a successful business. Compassion should be a driving force that pervades all internal activities, whether or not they are customer-facing. Hearing, comprehending, and anticipating the needs of others are the foundations of empathy. In customer service, this is putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and viewing the problem through their eyes. Empathy entails predicting the customer’s wants and needs at a certain point in their journey. Then it’s all about providing for these desires and needs in a pleasant and frictionless manner. Remember that being empathic does not entail that you agree with the individual; it simply implies that you comprehend their perspective. And, unlike sympathy, which involves feeling sorry for or pity for the customer’s predicament, empathy bridges the gap between the two parties by fostering respect and trust.
Empathy enables agents to personalize interactions, anticipate consumer follow-up questions, and respond to them before they arise. By knowing the customer’s point of view, empathic agents can also anticipate the customer’s responsibility. Customer happiness and loyalty are directly related to higher sales, therefore empathy has a direct impact on them. It’s difficult enough to tell a customer “no” or that what they want will cost more or that their warranty has expired, but when done with empathy, the agent may create trust and enhance the relationship even if the issue cannot be resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Empathetic agents may address and make consumers feel heard and valued once the customer’s point of view is grasped, which is the first stage in resolving issues.
It’s easy to believe a consumer is overreacting when you don’t understand where they’re coming from. It’s difficult to be sympathetic in these situations. Determine who your clients are and what your service or product means to them to overcome this reach. Determine the age, gender, level of education, and other characteristics to help you bridge the gap and become more empathic.
Empathy is a powerful emotion to have.
Listening can be difficult, particularly in a noisy setting. To fully empathize, you must concentrate on the customer and figure out what problem he or she is having. Consumer support is typically contacted when a customer is at their most frustrated, so pay attention to not only what the customer is saying, but also how they are expressing it. Assessing the tone and language used during service delivery, for example. For agents, actual customer sentiment analysis is a must tool for detecting minor nuances in the customer’s mood and responding appropriately. To successfully guide through the situation, it could imply imitating the tone. It can also entail keeping silent for long periods of time so that the consumer can speak freely. To minimize misconceptions, be sure to ask questions to probe deeper into the customer’s difficulties. Put yourself in the place of the caller. Listen for small indications to determine when you’ve had a successful consumer engagement.
Make encounters more personal:
When you look at a customer’s profile, try to see the person behind the profile rather than just the synopsis of their experience. Recognize the problem and express empathy for the customer’s feelings. Use the exact terms your customer used to respond, restate, and summaries. Encourage them to share more information by validating their point of view. Ask essential questions regarding what course of action they have already tried to promote trust, respect, and understanding. Before contacting customer service, never assume the consumer has tried to handle the problem on their own.
Do you want to know more about the quality of the service delivery? Inquire about your client. Collect feedback from clients directly by email, text, live chat, or social platforms. Customer retention can be improved by sending customer service questionnaires automatically after a service engagement. After you’ve completed the survey, you’ll be able to share your findings across applications. You can close the gaps if you notice trends of consumers not being heard, appreciated, or assisted to the best of an agent’s capacity.
Together, we’re better:
COVID-19 has affected all of us, but the gift we didn’t expect to receive from this tragedy was the ability to empathize with other people. Empathy has become a critical component of a company’s ability to survive and thrive in times of economic and social upheaval. We all benefit when we return kindness dividends to one another, from empathetic managers becoming stronger leaders to the empathic chain reaction of frontline staff paying it forward. We don’t have to agree that there is an issue, but we can understand that we all deserve to be respected and understood.
Would you like to explore the ways to connect more to your customers?