By Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny
There’s no escaping the value that an empathetic customer service team can bring to a business.
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month it’s the ideal time to reflect on how important empathy is in business and crucially, in delivering an excellent customer experience.
The things we say over the phone, face-to-face or via online channels such as live chat or social media can make the difference between someone feeling validated, heard, and valued or simply like they’re just a number.
For anyone working in customer-facing roles, empathy is a much-needed trait and those equipped with it often have good emotional intelligence too. This means they can handle client requests and issues with care, understanding and a desire to help and problem solve.
Empathy is a core business competency, and it sits right at the heart of the customer experience. Here, leading communications provider Moneypenny shares advice on how to build empathy into your team and your approach to client care.
Give customers space
As clients and customers, we all need to be heard and have space to express ourselves; whether that’s to complain, explain our problem or simply ask a question.
Often customer care representatives aren’t actively listening and perhaps restricted by scripts, other business priorities such as upselling or even gathering marketing data.
Showing empathy to client means giving them space, not rushing or interrupting them and really listening to what they say, as well as how they say it.
Repeat and use the same terminology as your customer
Using the same words your clients use helps to show you’ve understood and makes them feel acknowledged. It’s a technique that all good customer service representatives use to show they’ve fully taken onboard what’s been said.
It’s also proven that in employer-employee disputes, when both sides repeat what the other has said, resolution is reached twice as fast. For a customer service team member who’s trying to help solve a problem, this can mean reaching a resolution faster and making a customer happier sooner.
Reactions show you’re engaged
Reacting to what you’ve heard as you’ve heard it shows you’re listening. This can include non-verbal cues such as nodding, smiling and even just simple acknowledgements.
If you don’t react to a client, they may think that you’re not listening, you’re distracted or that you don’t care enough to help them; all of which can lead to a negative customer experience and a poor impression of your business.
Be genuine and authentic
Fake niceness is just that; it’s fake, and a client sense it quickly. A genuine, warm, and helpful response is what they expecgt when they reach out via the phone, on a live chat or even in person.
This isn’t the time for your own experiences
Whilst wanting to show empathy, it can be easy to try and liken a client’s experience to something in your own life.
Whilst it’s tempting and stems from wanting to show you understand, this can overshadow their experience and break the feeling of connection with them.
Assumptions have no place with empathy
Asking questions rather than presuming you know the answer is the sign of a highly empathetic person, and this can mean ignoring the temptation to think you ‘know how they feel’.
Instead listen actively and establish how this individual feels, the details of their situation and what they are looking for as a resolution and it will help you identify your next best move.
Match your tone to the client
If a client is expressing their disappointment about a situation, make sure your tone reflects that. Tone matching can indicate you’re on their wavelength and understand what this means to them.
The only time not to match your client’s tone is if someone is angry, as that will only intensify the situation. Instead, respond with a tone that shows you take the situation seriously, but remain calm and professional.
Always remember to thank the customer
Taking the time to say thank you costs nothing and takes seconds.
For some clients, they might have just opened about a triggering or highly sensitive issue, be emotional about their circumstances or have had to explain a complex situation – in these situations you can show empathy by thanking them for taking the time to speak with you. Not only does it show you’ve listened, but it validates them and makes them feel heard and understood.
The business benefits of empathy are numerous. The more empathy you have with clients, the better the rapport, understanding and loyalty, which in turn drives revenue and sparks innovation. It’s perhaps time to ask yourself, is empathy integral to your customer care?
To find out more about how Moneypenny can support your business with empathetic telephone answering, live chat, outsourced switchboard and bespoke teams, visit: https://www.moneypenny.com/uk/legal-answering-services/