In this article I show you what empathy is using an experience with my teenage daughter, and then I deliver 4 tactical ideas you can apply right now to express empathy: Put yourself in your customer’s place, Sense the Situation From the Customer’s Perspective, Discuss What’s Upsetting the Customer, and Coming Up with Ways to Fix the Problem
My daughter and I were in New York. We’d spent the day sight-seeing, and back at the hotel, my daughter’s iPhone showed all of her photos as blurry – not just the photos she’d taken that day, but every picture on her phone.
To my 17-year old daughter, a problem with photos and her phone camera is catastrophic. It would have been easy for me to dismiss this as, “There are bigger things in life for you to worry about.” And that was my real temptation. But I could see she was distraught over this.
Empathy is putting yourself in another person’s place. Sensing their situation, from their perspective. It’s also discussing the things that are upsetting to the person, maybe coming up with ideas to get them out of the situation they’re in.
So, instead of dismissing my daughter’s photo problem as no big deal (because to me, it wasn’t a big deal), I chose empathy. Continue reading “4 Things Customer Service Agents Can Do to Convey Empathy to Customers”
There are four attributes of empathy, and I teach each of these characteristics in my Empathy eLearning course. One of the characteristics is communicate your understanding.
When your customer is upset, or frustrated, you could communicate your understanding this way: Continue reading “This is How You Communicate Empathy to Customers”
When I hear an excellent, and genuine, expression of empathy from a company, I make a note of it. I’ll tell Siri to capture what I heard, or I’ll just type it out. I catalog ridiculously good empathy statements so that I can share them when I’m helping my clients with compassion.
In customer service workshops, like the one I delivered Friday in Columbus, I challenge my clients to use the empathy expressions I’ve heard (and felt) to inspire them to come up with their own empathic responses. Let’s make believe you’re with me now, in a training session. I share with you 20 of the best empathic expressions I’ve heard. Here they are: Continue reading “20 Damn Good Ways to Express Empathy to a Customer”
I’m giving you the actual exercise I gave to the employees in the customer service training I delivered this morning, along with the discussion questions I used. If you’d like an excellent training activity that helps employees convey empathy, print off this exercise and facilitate a short discussion with your team.
Continue reading “Here’s a Training Activity for Empathy In Customer Service”
I just finished reviewing calls for a client I’ll be working with in Chicago. Before all of my onsite customer service training workshops, I like to listen to a random sample of calls between employees and customers. This call review helps me to know exactly where to focus in my training.
In today’s call review I noted 5 communication mistakes customer service representatives tended to make repeatedly. These mistakes happened multiple times with the same employees, and I heard these errors being made by several different employees.
Here’s what I summed up on my legal pad after my call review.
- Employees often don’t speak in complete sentences. I’d hear things like, “Name?” “Zip code?” and “Serial number?”
- There was a lot of overtalking and interrupting. Employees would literally cut customers off mid-sentence or just over-talk them to make sure their point was made. That made me cringe.
- Dead-air space wasn’t handled well. While employees were busy looking through notes or trying to find something on the computer, they just let the customer hang on. I could hear keys clicking, gum smacking and occasional sighs, but there was almost no verbal communication during the dead-air space.
- The worst part of the calls for me was that there was no personal connection. Customers would often go right into their issue, and then the agent would say something like this: “What’s your serial number?” There was no acknowledgment of the customer’s frustration, no “I’m happy to help you with this,” They just went into probing.
- At times I felt like the customer was made to feel stupid. It was like the customer was asking “dumb” questions, though all of the questions seemed reasonable to me. Employees would come back harsh or condescending.
This customer service group is in urgent need of my “intervention, ” and in exactly 16 days they will get it. I can’t wait to land in Chicago and give these employees the human relations skills they need to talk to customers with care, concern, and friendliness.
When you enroll your employees in the online version of my “customer service intervention” training right now, imagine the benefits you’ll receive. Employees who struggle with apathy, rudeness or harshness will get the empathy training, telephone skills, and human relations skills they need and they will soften and deliver a better customer experience.
You can get these benefits and more – without having to buy my plane ticket, foot my hotel bill and pay my full-day training fee. If you’re ready to take your customer experience to the next level, check out my eLearning. Let’s get to work on this together.
One of the skills we practice in my onsite customer service workshops is Empathy. Here are some of the exact phrases that I share in my training sessions for use in our role-plays – and in real life with customers.
Continue reading “7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers”