Over the last few months, there has been much talk about how an organization’s ability to deliver great service and experience to their customers is dependent on their ability to be empathetic towards their customers.
The pandemic has caused increased levels of stress, anxiety, fear and insecurity for many people. It is only natural, therefore, for customers to expect that organizations will have recognized this and will have adjusted their behavior to accommodate this, wherever possible.
Research data supports this. Recently, Genesys conducted a multi-nation consumer survey, Personalization & Empathy in Customer Experience, and found that: “Nearly half of consumers say the companies they regularly do business with don’t show them enough empathy when delivering customer service.”
Digging into the results, uncovered some differences across different age groups with 63% of Gen-Z’ers and 56% of Millennials reporting that they believe businesses work to resolve customer service issues with empathy. In comparison, 50% of Gen-X’ers and only 47% of Boomers feel that to be the case.
Now, many brands recognize the need to be more empathetic in their dealings with their customers. This is supported by the marketing director of a technology company who recently ran a webinar that explored the topic of empathy. On the back of the webinar, they received a whole host of enquiries from professionals and brands wanting to know and learn more.
But the same marketing director also told me about a conversation she recently had with a technologist who told her that ‘the problem with empathy is that you cannot automate it’.
So, while there is a desire for folks to deliver more empathetic experiences or to be more empathetic, there is also a danger that we will do nothing because we ‘cannot automate it’.
To become more empathetic brands need to start thinking holistically about it. In fact, I believe, that they need to start thinking about developing an empathetic musculature for their organization, a concept that I started musing about in Punk CX.
So, what’s it going to take to build an empathetic musculature at an organizational level?
Well, if you look up “musculature” in the dictionary, it is defined as “the system or arrangement of muscles in a body or a body part.”
So, to develop muscles, you have to train.
But, you have to train with a purpose whether that is to stay fit, lose weight, rehabilitate after an injury or to compete.
This will take time, discipline and commitment as it is both a habit and capability that we will need to develop, nurture and maintain if we are to see the benefits.
That, in turn, will require strategy, systems, processes, design, technology, leadership and the right sort of people and training to help us get there.
Without a doubt, it will be hard, and we won’t necessarily get it right first time.
But, customers are waiting and as Peter Dorrington of Xmplify Consulting says in a recent MyCustomer article: “being empathetic towards your customers makes good business sense – it can protect revenues, avoid losses and enhance the reputation of the company. Furthermore, it’s a competitive necessity – consumers have figured out that they still have plenty of choice and in a world where digital channels are now a normal way of life, it’s easier than ever to vote with their feet.”