The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard For Getting Customer Service Reps to Convey Empathy

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Two years ago I was working with a company to help their customer service representatives convey empathy to customers. The intended outcome of the training was for employees to speak to customers with care, concern, and compassion.

Achieving empathy in the customer experience is a bit like walking a tightrope. Too much empathy can result in longer talk times and inappropriate sharing between customer service representatives and clients. Not enough understanding and reps can sound cold and uncaring.

You have to find the right balance in empathy. Or else you fall off the rope, and the customer experience is negatively impacted.

I asked my client how she saw appropriate empathy in her company. And here’s what she said.

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Myra Golden Keynote slides from Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards

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Last night I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards event. I met some amazing people who are responsible for driving the customer experience for such companies as Mercedes-Benz, Atlanta Special Events, and so many more.

This night was so great for me, because I love sitting with smart business owners who are passionate about achieving growth based solely on their customer experience strategy. I could have networked all night at this event! Well, I did actually.

For the benefit of my wonderful audience and for you, my blog readers, I am posting my slide deck from my keynote for the Atlanta Consumers’ Choice Awards. Enjoy. Learn. Share.

View or download my slide deck from CCA, November 14, 2013.

Here are 4 of the Video Clips I Show in My Empathy Workshops

I’m really excited about delivering my full day Empathy workshop to a fantastic client in Montreal on Monday. I have been preparing for this event for months, and I cannot wait to share my insights and enthusiasm with a group of 70 new hires.

For the benefit of my audience and as a perk for you, I am sharing the videos I’ll be featuring in the empathy training. I use videos to both teach a particular message and to add further engagement during the training.

During and after live customer service training workshops people always ask me for the links to my videos, so I’m being proactive and sharing them now. 🙂

 

“Put Yourself In Their Shoes”

This is a powerful video that truly gets participants to feel for another person. After this video, I divide participants into small groups, and they debrief the video by discussing 4 questions that I hand out. Powerful, powerful video learning experience.

 

 

Patients: “Afraid and Vulnerable” 

This video helps me to get employees to recognize the impact of their words, body language and attitude on customers – be they patients, guests, etc. After we watch this video, I facilitate a discussion on how vulnerable, afraid, or confused customers can be and how we can put them at ease by being patient, fully present, engaging, caring and compassionate. I really love this video as a training tool

 

Sympathy versus Empathy

I use this short video to clarify the difference between sympathy and empathy, and I emphasize that in customer service, we are focusing on empathy, not sympathy. This video always gets smiles and laughs, while quickly clarifying the difference between empathy and sympathy.

 

Brené Brown on Empathy

In this animated video, Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

I hope you enjoy these videos and that you might even find a way to use them in your own training. Now, time for me to do a complete run-through of this training so I can be perfect for my client in Montreal. 🙂

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches, and phrases to help your employees help your customers.

 

 

Special Video Training for Customer Service Representatives – How to talk to customers: Empathy and Tone

How to Talk to Customers: Empathy, Tone and Making Personal Emotional Connections On Demand Webinar Training

This new video contains a step-by-step approach to speaking with customers with a friendly tone, empathy and concern.

Your people will lean the secrets for making personal emotional connection over the phone, personalizing email and chat, and how to convey empathy and concern.

How to Talk to Customers: Empathy, Tone and Making Personal Emotional 

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The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience. The great news is, with the right training, monitoring and coaching, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers.

Watch 15-minutes of How to Talk to Customers

In this extended training event, Myra shows your employees, step-by-step, how to talk to your customers. $299.

Download How to Talk to Customers Now

7 Phrases That Convey Empathy to Customers

One of the skills we practice in my onsite customer service workshops is how to acknowledge customer concern. That is, how to make the customer feel heard, respected and understood when they voice a problem or complaint.  Here are some of the exact phrases I share in my training sessions:

7 Phrases That Convey Empathy to Customers 

Continue reading “7 Phrases That Convey Empathy to Customers”

Trying to Get Customer Service Representatives to Convey Empathy? Here’s How.

One of the most frequent training requests we receive in my practice is training to help contact center agents be more compassionate, show concern and express empathy. Many times I’ve been asked, “Can you even train people to be empathetic and compassionate?” My answer is yes you can. But you’ll have to get radical with it.

A Radical Exercise in Empathy

I read about a radical exercise in empathy called “Xtreme Aging” where employees get to feel what it’s like to experience aging. The purpose of the exercise is to shed light on the fact that older adults in America are isolated and misunderstood and to change that. Participants in this training were given 3D glasses to simulate cataracts. Cotton balls were placed in their nose and ears to compromise their sense of hearing and sense of smell. They wore latex gloves to make it harder to feel individual objects. Small print documents were given to the participants to demonstrate how hard it can be to read mail or menus.

In all of this getup, participants were instructed to carry out simple tasks. This exercise has a profound and lasting impact on everyone who experiences it. People get to feel what it’s like to be elderly. You bet paradigms are shifted. People emerge with more compassion, concern, and empathy. This is how you get employees to feel and express empathy.

How I Helped My Employees Develop Empathy for Customers

When I worked in Consumer Affairs at Thrifty Rent-Car System, we had a big challenge with my staff understanding the stress Franchisees experienced on a day-to-day basis. The Franchisee was our primary customer, and good relations was critical for us. Using a radical experiential exercise, I helped my employees truly identify with our franchisees.

I had each of my employees fly out to a Thrifty Rental Car location in their region to work with a Franchisee for a week. My employees had to put on a uniform and show up for work every day at a rental car location. They experienced long lines, irritable customers, ringing phones and problems galore. My employees got to see what it was like to have to drop everything at the counter and wash a car to keep the lines moving. They saw what it was like to want to return a call to corporate, but not be able to because of the fires they had to put out immediately. They experienced the stress, busyness, and the unpredictable environment of working in the field.

Every one of my employees emerged from this experience changed. Relations with franchisees improved immediately. There was a greater patience, more empathy, and better communication. Plus they loved getting out of the corporate office for a “business trip.”

You teach people to care by letting them experience what your customers experience.

When you’re designing training with the objective of helping your employees care more and express concern, incorporate an experiential exercise that puts your people in your customer’s shoes. Your employees will more effectively identify with your clients, and you’ll observe more empathy and concern in interactions.

 

Myra talks about how one of her clients taught employees to convey empathy. Click play to learn how they did it.

Now you can get even more tips for the telephone call flow! Sign up for my free on-demand webinar and learn 4 ways to establish rapport with callers, discover Disney’s “3 o-clock Parade” strategy and see what Gumby can teach you about the telephone customer experience. Watch this 60-minute video now or share it with your employees.