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Empathy: Achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive deep rapport

Customer strategy pillar 6: Empathy

Customer strategy pillar 6: Empathy

What it means

Empathy is the most important and over-arching pillar of a meaningful client experience. It's about understanding who you are, what you do, and how well you 'get' the people who come through your door. It's the ability of an entire team – from the back office to the front – to put themselves in the shoes of their end users, recognize their expectations and challenges, and adjust their strategies accordingly.

In many ways, empathy is the 'heart' of the organization. It transcends departments, supply chains, and industry networks. It's the inner core of a company that cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence or robo-reps, but shown through every human interaction. More importantly, empathy feeds into all other pillars. It is the catalyst for trust, integrity, and positive customer experiences.  Only when a culture of empathy takes root can other pillars flourish.

71% of Canadians say that when it comes to customer experience, it is important to be speaking with someone that empathize with them.

What it looks like

Organizations that crack this pillar are those who go lengths to embed human-centered approaches throughout their eco-system. It's an airport that recognizes the stress of the security checkpoint and flight delays and responds accordingly. It’s the e-commerce business that understands the inconvenience of a late or incorrect order. It's the telecommunication firm that understands the headaches of customer service and the sting of hidden fees and takes measures to mitigate both. It can take time to instill, but those that make an effort build stronger and more sustainable customer ties.

55% of Millennials are willing to pay more to buy from an ethical retailer.

The challenge

Empathy can be hard to maintain as teams grow and businesses expand. Customer perspectives can become an afterthought in key business decisions, or the need to remain empathetic can fall by the wayside in stressful day-to-day activities. As we hand off control of our customer-facing channels and processes to machines, the challenge is keeping the human element in play and remaining empathetic to how customers are relating to every step of their experience.

Only when a culture of empathy takes root can other pillars flourish.

Where do you stand?

  • Is your team empathetic? Does your organization understand its customers? Their needs? Their situations? Are you training employees to be compassionate? Are you hiring employees with this skill in mind? 
  • Have you tried customer-led design? Do you understand how your customer relates to working with your company? Are you designing your strategies with those perspectives in mind? Are you taking your customer's preferences, frustrations, and challenges in mind when making fundamental changes?
  • Are you continually growing? Are you tailoring your communication, services, and interactions with your customers' needs? Are you providing your services and products where, when, and how the customer wants it? 

When you are ready, 

let's do this. 

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