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Ways to develop empathy in your customer service experience

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A few years ago, a survey by Genesys asked more than 9,000 consumers about what mattered to them most when it came to interacting with companies.

“40% of them—more than double the responses that the second-place answer received—said “better human service.” - Groove

A little dose of understanding, conveyed at the right time, can save a person from despair and frustration and pull them closer to contentment. Nobody wants to be misunderstood, especially the customers. Sometimes, only an acknowledgment or acceptance of the mistake by customer support staff can calm down an angry customer. And, it happens when your customer support team knows how to empathize customers.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feeling of others. It is an act of putting yourself in the second person’s shoes and perceives a problem from their point of view.

In customer service, empathy is an act of human interaction with a customer. Some of the grave customer service failures have occurred due to lack of empathy. Being empathetic towards customers doesn’t always mean that you agree with them. Sometimes it is accepting your own mistake, which surprisingly can give great relief to an angry customer. Being empathetic is more about agreeing with customers and understanding the truth. It is one of the most important character traits for support agents as they are responsible for talking to many customers every day and solve their problems while representing the business they are working for.

Some tips for cultivating empathy in your customer service experience.

Structure your IVR menu

A common myth in customer service is prevalent that people hate automated phone menus. That’s not entirely true. What customers actually hate is:

  • Listening to multiple irrelevant options
  • Verifying customer’s identity in more than one way
  • Shouting out the ‘main menu’ phrase now and then

The problem is not in technology but tactics. Updating the structure and revamp IVR menu or virtual contact center software and infuse the existing system with empathy.

It is a good idea to give customer an option through which they can tell about the call quality issues. It instantly tells customers that you are taking account their point of view. So whether you are creating a FAQ page or setting call routing rules, start by analyzing what customers encounter that system is trying to accomplish. Find out their needs and borrow their language to offer an empathized service from a positive place.

Take help of cloud-based contact center

Imagine your call agent talks to a customer and customer has to introduce themselves again and repeat information. This situation brings embarrassment to not only agent but also customers. Save both of them from this situation as it can aggravate an unsatisfied customer.

Rather than forcing your agents to switch between multiple channels and tools and make customers wait, let then access all the info at a single space. A virtual number service can assist you in this and prevent your agents from making an absent-minded acquaintance with the customers again and again. In addition, it will spare some precious extra seconds to agents to prepare a personalized response.

Make your customer service script rich

Another appropriate step is to infuse empathy in your customer service experience. It is natural for your managers to favor scripts for several reasons. They need to ensure compliance in sensitive scenarios, enhance team productivity, and accelerate agents’ training. But strictly adherence to scripts sometimes may be counterproductive. It often disappoints hinders personalized attention among customers. Ask your contact center managers empower agents to go ‘off-script’ when required. It lets them get through the customer and the problem quickly.

Not every person is blessed with a capacity for empathy. However, the good news is that like every other skill, it can be instilled in your agents.

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Naveen Naveen is a digital marketing professional with over 4 years of experience. Presently, he is incredibly passionate about software, technology, website design, paid marketing, and content marketing.
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