Empathy in customer service

Empathy in customer service

емпатия empathyDespite looking kind of simple, customer service is a multilayered process with a lot of specifications. The reason is customers evaluate differently what is good customer service and what is not. Of course, finding a solution to their problem is one of the most important things, bud good customer service isn’t simply solving a problem. Quick reactions, good timing, punctuality, follow-up and, of course, the way we communicate with the customer are also very important to the quality of the customer service.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the skill to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and understand his feelings in order to provide them with a better solution. This is why empathy should be one of the most important soft skills to anyone who works directly with customers (like he customer service or sales team). Unfortunately, it is not easy to acquire this skill or even learn it fast, and we’re not even mentioning the fact it some people just can’t be empathic. But this is where corporate trainings step in. Through them, the professionals can teach empathy to the said department.

Of course, we’re not talking only about being empathic when talking to a customer face to face. It appears that agents who tend to be empathic with the customer, when communicating face to face, find it hard to be empathic, when they speak with the customer on the phone or even more so – via email.
We’ve all received at least one email, send by a customer service agent who doesn’t sound positive or even rude. In most cases, this was not what the agent intended – he just can’t translate his empathy in writing. So, he might think he is polite when writing “I hope this answers all of your questions” at the end of the mail, but the reader might understand it as “Do not bother me with further questions”. And here’s how the communication deviates on emotional level, and the customer is left with a bad customer experience.

This is why empathy is a skill that should be used not only verbally, but also in writing. In the next few sentences we will give you some advices, which will help you teach your agents how to avoid communication pitfalls, using empathy:

  • Role playing – create a fictional (or use a real one) case, starring a customer service agent and a customer. Describe the case in written from – what is the situation hey are in, what is the problem of the caller etc. Have your customer service agent describe verbally what, in his opinion, are the feelings of the customer. Have your agent role-play the situations as the customer and you will take the role of the fictional agent. Then switch roles and do it again;
  • Written tone – create a scenario requiring empathy with a fictional customer. Have your agent answer the fictional customer as he normally would, in written form. Next, demonstrate how the written tone can be improved, by adding to the text. Discuss how one can translate empathy to a written text;
  • Make a list of empathy benefits – create such a list and introduce it to the newest members of the customer service team. Make sure the more experienced team members know it too. Some benefits of empathy include: prevents the escalation of the customer situation and negative or rude comments, makes the communication with the customer easier and creates more sale opportunities, empathy also leaves the customer with positive experience from the whole situation.

No matter what you do, a professional intervention will always be your best, most accurate and quick alternative, because empathy will never go out of style, when it comes to customer service. And if you’ve decided to take advantage of a professional training company – look no further – check out our services and give us a call.