In our daily interactions, communication has a huge role to play in the way the conversation pans out. With fluency of language, the right tone, and attitude, how many of us really make a connection with the people we interact with? That’s where empathy comes in.

We spend most of our lives communicating with one another, whether face-to-face, over calls, emails or social media. There is no denying that communication is an integral part of our lives and it is what makes the world go around. But, however, with the usage of technology, the emotional aspect or level of empathy is likely lost.

Studies support that it has become commonplace for contact center agents to not exhibit empathy consistently. With collaboration and interdependency being inevitable in an agent-customer transaction, shouldn’t enterprises also be paying more attention to the quality of interactions? Thus, it is crucial for agents to master empathy as a skill with each of his/her customers.

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, people will never forget how you made them feel "
Maya Angelou

What is customer empathy?

Empathy is the ability to identify, connect, and reciprocate the emotions of the other. Customer empathy, a subset of human empathy, is the skill of understanding how and why customers feel the way they do, by proactively listening and having the right attitude while personalizing the service and communicating effectively.

It is important to use customer empathy as a skill to value or respect the interaction. It can be enforced as an organizational value too. With metrics like Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score and Customer Satisfaction Score, that measure and track satisfaction, how do enterprises ensure that every agent interaction is always amicable and pleasant?

Here are a few tips that can help your agents empathize with your customers on the go.

Be aware

Awareness or the art of looking inward reflects a certain self-confidence that translates positively during interactions. Being in touch with our feelings and extending this empathy towards customers will establish an organic basis for all communication. Having a good understanding of one’s strengths and working on potential areas of improvement can increase self-confidence a great deal.

Customer empathy - listen and communicate

Listen, communicate and respond

  • Listen carefully: Pay attention to what the customer is saying, it’s the best way to show empathy. This will help agents make the right decision and personalize the approach without leading to miscommunication. For instance, agents should listen to subtle clues about their mood and personality.
  • Communicate honestly: Communication, as simple as it sounds, is more than just speaking and hearing. It is a multi-dimensional web including several verbal and non- verbal cues. Listening, understanding, paraphrasing, questioning and clarifying, body language and gestures, tone and clarity, eye contact etc. all encompass communication. An amalgamation of all these aspects in the right amounts will ensure effective communication.
  • Respond positively: Language is an important part of persuasion. The ability to make minor changes in conversational patterns can help agents build positive vibes that can lead to happy customers. For instance, employing optimistic language cues can affect how the customer hears your response.

Empathetic statements that agents can use

Customers who feel that an enterprise isn’t empathetic to their needs think they don’t care about them. This could eventually lead them to take their business elsewhere. So here are a few sample statements that agents could use to raise their level of interest to the customer’s query.

  • Can you please tell me a little more about the issue?
  • It would be helpful if you could confirm my interpretation of your problem?
  • I apologize for the experience you’ve had. We will definitely help you get this issue resolved.
  • Is there anything else I can help you with?
  • We really appreciate if you could give us your feedback to improve our services.

Customer empathy is more than just words. It is a genuine habit and the best way to prevent forced empathy is to learn how to use it in everyday situations. Being true to yourself and having a genuine approach while working with people will not only create a good experience for oneself but also a more cordial environment overall. As an inseparable part of customer service, it is the foundation for any business. Because a little empathy can go a long way towards providing great customer experience.

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