Empathy = Profit. Here’s why…
We are not tree huggers, we’re not ‘sensitive souls’ either. But we know that the key to a successful business is customer loyalty. It’s been proven time and again by people a lot smarter than me.Loyal customers keep coming back, and they bring others with them. The key is not to increase the number of customers, it’s to maximise their lifetime spend.Not very sexy words “lifetime spend” but those businesses who have that goal in mind tend to be more profitable.
This next bit is going to shock you! From time to time, customers are not going to be best pleased with your product or service. Suprise!!! Hardly earth shattering news I know.Whether rightfully or not, we want to try and keep them as loyal customers. We need to deal with negative situations, either complaints or requests we can’t honour, in such a way we don’t lose the relationship with the client.
Here’s the deal. It’s not about the message you give, it’s about the delivery of the message. Even if you’re not going to give them what they want, the way you speak to them will determine whether they stay a customer. Done well, it can even cement your relationship with them.
Our customers want to be heard
It all comes down to one thing. Empathy. Your customers want you to listen to them, to understand them, to feel for them. More than that, they want you to agree with them. Show them you care about how they feel. That’s what you need to do whilst still delivering your policy. Here’s an example:
“I completely understand how you feel, and if I was in your situation I might feel that way too. However, unfortunately…bad news ”
Are they happy with your answer? No, certainly not are they happy that you’ve taken the time to listen to them, understand them, and empathise with them? Absolutely! This can often be enough to keep them coming back.
We worked with a company that runs an online training course. They often get people who let the course lapse and want the company to allow them access to the course, for FREE, to finish the course.
The company has a policy of charging a fee for an course extension, it’s part of their business model. Their customer service team would hear the most amazing reasons why the customer couldn’t finish the course.during the time period given – from the weird to the bizarre. They would deliver the news in such a way that the customer would be disappointed but they would also feel heard.
A 94% customer feedback result. They measured their customer service rating over 12 months.
This was a survey given directly after the customer would have been in contact with the customer service team, and even though 55-60% of those customer interactions would be about course extensions the team managed to score extremely highly. The comments painted a very clear picture. They were very disappointed with the decision, they believed they should have been given the course extension for FREE, that their mitigating circumstance should warrant an exception, however, they often even thanked the customer service representative for their help anyway.
Empathy. The customer service team did not ‘give in’ they followed the company’s policy exactly, but at the same time, they delivered the information in such as a way it didn’t damage the relationship with the customer.
It’s not always possible to make everyone happy all of the time, we have a business to run, we can’t be a charity. There are some customers who you give an inch to, they’ll want to take a mile. Nonetheless, communicating the right way helps you to keep relationship’s intact more often than not doing so.
To find out how we might be able to help you reach out to your customers in other ways, please get in touch and speak to one of our emotive customer experience consultants.