• 30 JAN 18
    The Business of Empathy

    The Business of Empathy

    “Empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” – Roger Ebert.

    In a fast-paced world of sales, competition, and automated phone systems, one would think that Corporate and Non-profit America would have embraced empathy as the most important customer service qualification as a whole by now. Because we all know how much we really love it when Rep A from Industry X sticks to the infuriating script of his/her company that tells us immediately we are not being heard. By ‘love’, I mean ‘loathe’.

    Plenty of statistics haven proven how empathy can boost company sales, simply because customer service relies on human sensitivity. And every business is customer service based – whether overt or not. Call centers for almost every company, for example, are outsourced to third parties, which keep a checklist that include meaningless apologies and canned responses. As soon as we hear that mechanical, detached voice, we dread the cold, artificial, and fruitless conversation that we know is about to take place. That lack of empathy alone drives customers into the arms of their competition, causing revenue loss for the apathetic company. The difference between someone saying “I can’t help you” to “Let’s see what I can do to fix this for you” makes all the difference in the world for the consumer. We feel like someone actually has our back. That feeling breeds loyalty and loyalty always ensures profits.

    The business of empathy is simply behavioral economics and better people management skills connected and applied. Simple enough and yet so many companies are still falling short of this standard, causing them painful losses.

    Several online based companies and retail stores embraced the “empathy culture” long before it was a culture. We don’t have to press 10 different menu buttons and repeatedly ask for a ‘representative’ before we finally get a real person. We don’t have to hunt down a floor sales person to help us find an item. These companies have millions of loyal customers because they understand that every single person needs to be heard, seen, and understood, and that we need practical help at different times.

    Empathy in business isn’t about being an “empath”. It’s simply taking care of the people who take care of you. It’s throwing out the cold script and checklist and actively listening so that real understanding and help can be offered. It’s being the best of humanity. Ultimately, it’s each one of us asking ourselves, “If that was me on the line, how would I want to be helped?” Because keeping a loyal customer is far cheaper than trying to get a new one.

    The outward expression of empathy will always be courtesy. And courtesy will always yield a profit – no matter the industry.

    [by: Saskia Lynge]

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