Empathy is one of the most important skills that every customer service agent should possess. When customers want to speak to one of your agents because they have an important concern, they expect that issue to be resolved as soon as possible. It is the job of agents to make customers feel heard and understood. This is where empathy comes in. Putting yourself in the shoes of the customers by hearing them out and relating to their issue is empathy and is one of the most important skills for delivering excellent customer service.
Learning empathy is important in connecting and building relationships with customers. It is about letting customers know that you understand them. When you are empathetic with customers, you can own up to their problems and meet their expectations. According to researchers, there are two types of empathy:
- Affective Empathy. It refers to the sensations and feelings we get in response to others’ emotions.
- Cognitive Empathy. Sometimes referred to as “perspective taking,” it is the ability to understand and identify other people’s emotions.
Empathy is important in keeping existing customers loyal and in winning new customers. In fact, recent research by Dixa revealed that 96% of consumers indicate that empathy is important during a support interaction. And with customers now looking for quality customer service, the impact of empathy can make a huge difference. With that in mind, let us take a look at how empathy can make your business stand out and win customers.
How Empathy Can Win Over Customers
- Use Positive Statements
- Listen Carefully
- Make It Your Problem Too
- Show That You Care
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- See Things From Their Perspective
- Smile When Interacting
- Allow Customers To Let It All Out
- Be Respectful
- Say “Thank You”
How Empathy Can Win Over Customers
You may have been frustrated as a customer yourself so you know what your disgruntled customer must be feeling when they talk to you. COVID-19 has changed customer expectations of businesses. They expect more empathy now than before the pandemic. 32% of customers demand more responsiveness and empathy. Here’s how you can use empathy to deliver excellent customer service and win over new prospects.
1. Use Positive Statements
Customers come to you because they are frustrated and in a bad situation and need your help. Others just want to be heard and vent their frustrations. The last thing they would want to hear are statements that would only aggravate their situation. Saying positive statements gives customers reassurance that you are taking ownership of their problem.
Never start your statement with a negative sentence when dealing with your customer’s complaint. Don’t say “I cannot help you with this” or “There is no solution for your problem.” Switch to more positive ones like “We can help you find a solution for this” or “We will check the issue right away and find a solution.” The more positive your statement, the better is the engagement with the customer.
By using positive statements, you will be able to resolve customer issues faster, easier, and in a much more pleasant environment. Empathy statements build trust, show your brand in a positive light, and reduce stress during conversations.
2. Listen Carefully
Using empathy means being a good listener. You cannot understand the customer’s problems if you will not listen to them. You can’t find a resolution to their problem if you do not hear them out. Repeat the customer’s statements to show them that you are listening to them. This gives them an assurance that you understand their concerns.
Being a good listener is a good way of gaining the trust of your customers. Active listening is an important skill because it entails concentrating, understanding, and responding to what the customer is saying. It is all about understanding the person who is talking to you. Active listening is different from hearing because the latter does not require responding to what the customer is saying.
The number one rule of empathy is to understand your customer’s pain points. This will help you align your product solutions according to their issues. By actively listening to them, you encourage speakers to focus and give their attention to themselves and how they feel. You give them an opportunity to open up and provide more information than they normally would if you were just listening.
3. Make It Your Problem Too
According to research by The Belding Group, the primary driver of “wow” experiences are employees taking ownership of situations. Although they will feel good about interacting with an agent who paid attention to their concerns and understood them perfectly, they would feel much better knowing that the agent has taken ownership of resolving their issue.
Your aim is to deliver as positive a customer experience as possible. While you may not be able to resolve the issue in its entirety, the important thing is you did your best to resolve the issue. Taking ownership of customer issues means seeing the problem through to resolution.
It can be easy to “pass the buck” and tell the customer that there is nothing you can do. But when you make their problem your problem too, you will go the extra mile and will not stop until you come up with a solution. Create a personal relationship with the customer so that they can come back to you in the future.
4. Show That You Care
When customers come to you because they have a concern that needs to be addressed, they want to feel valued or cared for. They need to feel that you have a personal interest in their concern. By showing customers that you care, you can build rapport with them. Use phrases that show your interest.
Give customers your full attention by taking your eyes and ears off all the distractions around you when talking and listening. It is important to make customers feel you value them more than their money. Understand your customer’s needs and go the extra mile to solve their problems.
It is impossible to set a caring tone when talking negatively about the issue of your customers. Start by being positive about the situation. Of course, you don’t have to sugarcoat but seeing the good things will set a caring mood.
5. Don’t Make Assumptions
When it comes to your clients, never make assumptions. You should never assume that your customers know all your products and services. This is true even with long-time customers. Assumptions can kill good customer experience and can have a negative impact on buying behavior, advocacy, and customer retention.
Yes, you may know the system, process, policy, product information, and others but never assume the same thing with your customers. Not all of them are tech-savvy as you are and may need some assistance on your end. The best thing you can do is deal with each and every situation based on its merits.
Customers don’t care about your products or services and they don’t care about your systems and procedures. In addition, they don’t care about your internal constraints and challenges. It is your job to sort things out, What they care about are the things that matter to them most.
6. See Things From Their Perspective
Even as an agent, you have also experienced being a customer yourself. So you already know how frustrating it can be to get a wrong or defective product. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will be able to understand where they are coming from. You will know their pain points and their end goals and come up with the best solution to their issue.
By not being subjective and seeing things from the customer’s perspective, you will be able to consider all sides of the situation. Understanding where the customer is coming from is the very heart of empathy. It’s keeping in mind the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.
So empathy in customer service means asking yourself how you would feel in various situations. You demand excellent service, feel frustrated when someone lets you down, or demand respect. To effectively resolve customer issues, be a customer first. As a customer, what would you want to get from an online store?
7. Smile When Interacting
Did you know that smiling while talking to customers can affect your tone when speaking? Just because you are not speaking to a customer face-to-face does not mean you cannot build trust and make them confident or calmer when on a call. When telling customers that you have a solution and you do it while smiling, they will immediately believe you and feel relaxed.
The customer may not see you smiling on the other line, but they will feel it because you sound more confident with your tone. Also, this will make the customer feel more comfortable. This way, customers will know that you have genuine empathy for whatever they are going through at that moment.
A smile helps build rapport and initiates trust. It sets the tone of the entire conversation. 73% of customers say they fall in love with a brand with friendly employees. Smiling when interacting with a customer on the phone gets you off the right foot. It reassures the customer that you will do everything to resolve their situation.
8. Allow Customers To Let It All Out
When customers are angry and frustrated, they want to vent their frustrations without interruption. Let them speak and listen to them carefully while you figure out what you can do to resolve their issue. By letting them speak, you will better address their current needs. Let them speak what’s on their mind so you can better cater to their needs.
Interrupting them while they are trying to speak will only make matters worse. It is important for you to hear the whole situation so you can determine the best resolution to their issue. Use sentences that will encourage them to tell you more. Ask the caller to validate their point of view.
Hearing them out will make them feel relieved and once they have calmed down, they can hear you out and clearly understand what you have to say. Even if you already know the solution to their problem, never interrupt them as it would make your team look impatient. You’ll never know what information they can reveal by hearing them out.
9. Be Respectful
Regardless of how difficult your customer may be, you must treat them with the utmost respect. Be professional in dealing with them, and they will surely appreciate it. Talk to them in a polite and empathetic manner. As much as possible, never talk down to them.
Be friendly but not too casual. You need to be focused on the needs of the caller. When conversing with the customer, never allow your emotions to get the better of you. Instead of saying, “I don’t think you will understand backend development but let me try to explain,” say, “I’ll try to explain it as quickly and simply as possible because this is what happened to your website.”
No matter how ridiculous the question of the customer is, take them seriously. If they feel like they are being laughed at, they will not buy from you. Customers tend to be sensitive and will know whether or not you really care about them. Don’t engage in fault-finding or finger pointing. Let them know how sorry you are about their problem.
10. Say “Thank You”
Aside from “I am sorry,” another word that the customers would like to hear from you is “Thank you.” Showing gratitude is always a must. It will make them feel important. Saying “thank you” is the best way to build or retain customer relationships.
Saying “thank you” to a customer can have a real impact on your bottom line. Nowadays, businesses don’t get the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with their customers. Saying “thank you” to a customer is effective because it shows sincerity on your part. It is a way of nurturing customer relationships.
At the end of it all, a customer may give you good feedback. As little as a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 75%. On the other hand, 60% of businesses have lost a customer because the customer did not think the business cared about them.
Every business should teach their employees to practice empathy to win customers. They demand some love and care from businesses. Practicing empathy promotes customer loyalty and retention. After all, it is easier to retain customers than acquire them.
Why Outsourcing Customer Service with airisX Makes Sense?
Customer experience and customer support are often overlooked within marketing efforts, which creates an opportunity for airisX clients. Our branding, marketing and social media customer support focuses heavily on customer retention and improving satisfaction. Once a customer has purchased your product and service, it is the perfect time to turn them from just a consumer to a fan.
Get in touch with one of our agents at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you with a customized solution.