Customer Service Based on a Cornerstone of Empathy- Go Above & Beyond

Customer service is where people’s expectations of the company rise every coming year, and every brand gains better fame for the same. Studies and blog papers find that 96% of customers use the quality and empathy of customer service of the company as a factor of importance in giving their loyalty to a brand.

Any good company contact centre knows how customers feel when they call them to get help and know where to show sympathy and empathy in customer service. The difference between sympathy and empathy is a very thin line. Responding with “I know you are feeling _____” is sympathy. Empathy is a far more useful cognitive response, in which an agent puts himself/herself in the customer’s shoes and says – “I feel what you are going through, and I am committed to doing _____ to help you better.”

People tend to remember the customer service quality at pivotal times of difficulty rather than the total experience. Empathy at these crucial times is, therefore, vital and of much importance. In this post, let’s see why empathy in customer service is more crucial than one would normally make it.

What Is Empathy in Customer Service?

The ability of the human mind to understand, comprehend and share the feelings and experiences of another fellow human being, is in short, called empathy. It is when you place your own self in the place of someone else and try to experience the problem or situation from their point of view.

When it comes to customer service, empathy is best defined as one’s ability to carry out a human-like interaction with the customer where the agent would deliberately wear the customer’s shoes to experience their issues first-hand and devise the best possible solution.

One thing to note here is – being empathetic does not mean you must agree with them. It only means that you are aware of their truth. This is a crucial character an empathetic support agent must possess.

Why Empathy Is Important in Customer Service?

The world has been changed irrevocably by the pandemic. People are yet to get used to the changing structure of the economy, the increased isolation, and the higher reliance of the company on technological interventions. Stress levels are at an all-time high, and no one enjoys feelings of uncertainty and the experience of powerlessness.

Against this background, we also get to see technological advances facilitating better customer service. Companies get to make investments in logistical software that updates order statuses in real-time, conversational AI for better customer engagement, CRM software shortening the time cycle of the sales pipeline, etc. 72% of customers now expect CX agents to have personalised information when being contacted.

Both sympathy and empathy are important in customer service, as they help create a sense of connection and understanding with the customer. This can be especially important when dealing with difficult or upset customers, as it helps to build trust and improve the customer’s experience.

However, empathy is often considered the more powerful of the two, as it involves a deeper level of understanding and connection. By actively trying to understand and relate to customers’ emotions, businesses can show that they genuinely care about their needs and concerns. This can go a long way in building long-term customer relationships and improving customer satisfaction.

Empathetic customer service is, therefore, one factor that can differentiate your brand and help it stand out. Here are some more reasons why it is important to show empathy to customers:

Empathy Helps Retains Customers

New customer acquisition is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. One in three people says that speaking to knowledgeable and friendly agents is a non-negotiable experience. A conversational script designed to be empathetic makes them feel heard and valued. For 73% of customers, friendly service agents make them stick around to get help.

Customers expect personalization based on empathy in customer service

Empathetic support conversations are the ultimate manifestation of personalization. However common a customer’s query is, their feelings are raw and new when they call a contact centre support agent. The conversation needs to be handled with utmost sensitivity and better empathy each time. Customers will feel more attached to experiences designed for them.

Empathetic nudges are more effective in customer service

Of particular importance for company sales representatives is how customers perceive them. They are more likely to buy when sales reps adopt an empathetic strategy, functioning as advisors and giving all the relevant information via blog links, etc. Leading with empathy helps make the most appropriate support responses.

Empathy-led customer service is important for agents

Contentious customer service interactions are as difficult for the agents to handle as the customers themselves. Making empathy a cornerstone of contact centre functioning helps the company to get agents perform optimally by boosting morale, making them feel the support, and improving job satisfaction in a high-attrition role.

How to Inculcate Empathy In Your Customer Service or Contact Centre

Any changes, interventions, and adoptions you make for your business should be consumer-centric. Every action, strategy, task done and script followed at the support centre should be rethought from the customer’s perspective.

Own up to mistakes and go the extra mile to fix them

You may offer very good day-to-day customer support, but users will remember their most challenging interactions. Take better care to anticipate all possible scenarios, seeking the help of data to validate approaches. Online shoe retailer Zappos has had agents take 10-hour calls to resolve issues. Voluntarily.

Empathy should be there at all levels of customer service

Companies that show empathetic behaviour towards employees lead by example. They have training programs to bring empathy into all interactions, revisiting older ones to find ways to improve.

Apple adds training guides to any empathy manual or blog.

Use AI to Cover All Your Empathy Bases When Dealing With Customer Service

Companies are adopting conversational AI agents to scale up contact centres and better support operations and offer friction-free 24/7 customer support. Voicebots can tirelessly handle difficult customers; the advanced NLP and NLU engine understands the user interactions and delivers a sensible human-like interaction.

Numerous companies, like NAVI, Maersk, etc., have deployed conversational AI for empathetic customer support.

Empathy requires us to pay attention to what the customer is saying, but also what they are not saying. Providing extraordinary and humane service enhances brand loyalty. It is estimated that companies can expect 80% of future profits to come from just a fifth of their loyal customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is empathy in customer service?

Empathy in customer service is understanding and relating to a customer’s emotions and perspective. It involves actively listening to and trying to understand the customer’s needs and concerns, and showing care and concern for their situation.

How can businesses show empathy in customer service?

There are several ways that businesses can show empathy in customer service:

  • By listening actively and try to understand the customer’s perspective
  • Show genuine concern for the customer’s situation
  • Use appropriate language and tone when interacting with the customer
  • Offer solutions that take the customer’s needs and concerns into consideration