Every exchange with the customers creates an experience. If they have memorable interactions, the customers are more likely to develop loyalty, recommend a business to their friends and leave positive reviews online.
Empathy is not only a healthy way of connecting with others, but it’s also a good business practice. Our ability to see things through someone else’s perspective helps us understand how our customers think. Using empathy, we can begin to unravel and predict their needs. We can understand how customers expect their problems to be handled, how they want to be treated, and, as a result, what products they are more likely to purchase.
In today’s environment, there is an emphasis on the human approach. In the events of the pandemic, many businesses have survived due to their ability to create strong connections with their customers and adapt to the current needs of the market. With 2021 being the year of customer service, empathy is transitioning from good practice to an actual metric for customer care.
Let’s take a look at how you can implement a human approach and stay on top of your game with a positive customer experience.
Focus on personalization.
In the past year, we have gone through shared hardships that blurred the line between business and life. With each of us going through the human experience in our own way, personalization has become one of the pillars of the 2021 customer experience. We all need to be viewed as individuals, which is why a personal touch is more valuable than a transactional approach.
Probably most of us know what it’s like to take a number and stay in line for a service, just waiting for the experience to be over. But a business interaction should not be like paying your bill or renewing a driver’s license. Show a personal approach to your customers by creating tailored solutions.
Be ready to offer products and services that consider the individual’s needs.
Be active with your communication.
Part of showing a human approach is to constantly touch base with your customers. Businesses must engage with their audience to gain their attention and uphold their trust.
Newsletters, articles, practical guides, and various types of content can address the main concerns. Actively posting on social media platforms bridges the gap between a business and its followers. Regular updates, news, and replies ensure that the discussion goes both ways. When you are part of the current discussions and in on the inside jokes, you get to know your customers better.
Customers who already browse these platforms to research companies and do their shopping need an open line of communication. In fact, 40% of them expect a reply within the hour. This is why it’s important to always be on the other end of the conversation, ready to answer and offer information.
Use an emphatic tone.
The right words can go a long way to make your customers feel understood. Certain phrases and statements demonstrate empathy.
Here are some practices to build an emphatic tone in your communication:
- Positivity: Positive phrasing shows that you are willing to solve a problem in the best possible way. For example, let’s take a look at the difference between these sentences: “There’s nothing more I can do” and “Let me see how can I help you right now.” The first one shows that you have no interest in fixing the problem, while the second one suggests that you will take care of the issue as best as you can. You are not making unrealistic promises, but you are also not being dismissive.
- Commitment: Using pronouns and names indicates commitment and a human approach. Instead of talking to a nameless representative, the customer can get the feel of an actual conversation with a real person.
- Rephrasing: Especially when it comes to difficult conversations, rephrasing is a good way to make sure that both parts are on the same page. We all come from various backgrounds and one person can understand the same information differently than the other, which means that we must always check if we made ourselves understood.
- Reassurance: Even in our daily activities, reassurance is always welcomed because it puts our minds at ease. Constant reminders and factual details about the process can bolster the customers’ confidence in your efforts.
- Authenticity: Standard phrases can be useful in business communication, but most of the time it’s best to go with the natural flow of the conversation. Empathy can be suggested through authentic reactions, questions, introductions, and greetings.
For example, if a customer mentions that they have been in the hospital recently, it’s normal to offer concern and ask about their wellbeing, instead of focusing on the transaction.
Ask for feedback.
Data and analytics help us understand the current market preferences. However, a great way to get the inside scoop on how your customers feel is to just come out and ask them.
Requesting feedback not only demonstrates your interest in their opinions, but it provides valuable insight on what works and what needs to be changed. When you stay connected with your customers, you can make business decisions based on information, instead of assumptions.
Educate yourself and observe.
We can develop our empathy by observing and experiencing the world around us. When we learn more about other people’s perspectives, it’s only natural that we become more aware of their struggles and needs.
Reading fiction, observing characters on the screen or the stage, practicing role-play, traveling, or studying history and civilization are all valuable ways to acquire new perspectives. The more we educate ourselves, the more we develop intuition regarding the human experience, which reflects on how we interact with the customers.
Try human-centered design.
Design thinking, or human-centered design, is a creative approach to problem-solving. Using empathy and a collaborative mindset to determine the root cause of the problem, we find creative solutions.
Get in touch with us and let’s talk about your services and how we can design them together.