Empathy should not be confused with sympathy which is the recognition of other person’s problem, even showing concern but remain entirely unaffected from within. Empathy is connecting with others on an emotional level. Wikipedia defines Empathy as the capacity to feel or understand what the other person is experiencing from within another person’s frame of reference.
We often see empathy in connection with friends, family members or even neighbours but rarely one gives a second thought about empathy when it comes to customer service. The reason often being the lack of emotional understanding with the other person on phone in any way. If confronted, a customer service provider might ask, “is it really necessary? I mean apart from the problem-solving skills and 24-hour availability of our executives, do I have to teach them to be empathetic as well let alone sympathetic. And how will it help me in return?”
Imagine you are trying to purchase a product from an online portal and the card keeps declining, frustrated you call the customer service operator and narrates him the issue. Now how this service operator will behave will determine the future of your company.
Here are the two scenarios
First case scenario, our service representative informs her in an even tone that our website is working perfectly fine and maybe you aren’t filling the details properly or making some other mistake and even hinting at having insufficient funds, in the end informing that he cannot help you. What will you do? You will immediately vow never to purchase from this site and even tell your contacts not to use it either.
Reverse case scenario, you call the customer service about the same problem but this service representative not only listens to you attentively but also urging you to calm down and even telling you to take a sip of water, he’s constantly referring you by name and showing genuine concern about your problem and trying his best to solve it. Whether he actually solves it or not is another issue but let’s suppose he is unable to, what will be your reaction this time? You will walk away with satisfaction knowing that he did everything he could to help you, after all, that’s what we all want, to feel important, and having a stranger taking our problems seriously and trying his best to help us is the best customer support any service provider could give. Don’t forget the positive reviews and recommendations this company will receive.
By now you all have understood the importance of empathy in call center services. Only one question remains, how to introduce empathy effectively. Though research shows that certain people are born empathetic, it can also be cultivated through time.
Some effective ways to train your team are –
Always greet customers by their name. There is no better way of forming a bond than by acknowledging others as human beings and remembering names for future references.
Understand the customer’s needs. The key point here is to not only listen but truly understand the other person’s needs only then we will be able to help them.
Maintain a calm posture. A lot of calls comes from angry or frustrated customers and it takes a great deal of patience to handle those, maintaining calm posture during your conversation will help in calming the other person down.
Promote the use of emojis for expression. Emojis are a great way to express feelings and emotions in an online conversation which is essential if your goal is to connect on a more humane level.
Providing support should be given priority. As a service provider, your primary focus should be solving the customer’s issue in his best interests as soon as possible.
Call center services have always worked as the backbone of any industry and by introducing empathy into profession it has provided much-needed care and support, thus helped in strengthening the bond between companies and customers.