A recent article by Mary Shacklett discusses the concept of empathy statements within call centers. Basically, if a person can put themselves in the customers’ shoes and take action to relieve their pain while minimizing or eliminating the customer’s frustration, they’ll be capable of giving high quality customer experiences. This includes sympathizing with their problem, solving the issue quickly, and maintaining prompt communication if the solution will take longer to implement. But while empathy is crucial to delivering customer experiences that meet and exceed customer expectations, Shacklett raises an interesting point: Is empathy something people are just born with and can it be trained?
Empathy may come naturally to some people, and while there are people who aren’t born with high levels of empathy, it can be trained if the agent is willing to learn it. For example, there may be people who aren’t prone to acute empathy, but they’re naturally extroverted and confident with interpersonal communication and eager to meet and please people. In order to train new agents to show empathy in their customer experiences, there needs to be consistent encouragement from management to always look at issues with patience and from the customer’s perspective. Once this cultural trait is instilled, new employees can be trained by utilizing role-playing with real-life situations that have occurred within the call center. In addition, training should be done by using storytelling through personas to engrain the idea that each person who calls into the call center has a story that led them to reach out to the company for help. This trains new agents to approach each customer as an individual with reasons behind their frustration and anger so that agents can relate to them and help them better.
Outside of storytelling and role-playing exercises to train empathy, Shacklett discusses how technology can be used to the agent’s advantage. Robust CRMs and artificial intelligence (AI) can be implemented to provide historical information on customers who have called the company so that agents can more easily relate to the customer on a personal level and help make it easier to not take it personally when they’re upset. If agents have customer data in an easily accessible location in their CRM, they’ll be able to better serve the customer by seeing their purchase history and their past calls to assess the right approach to take when responding to their call. While technology can be a great asset to have for assisting with the customer experience, it ultimately is up to companies having the best people in the right employee positions and the best resources assisting them if they want to deliver true empathetic customer service. Shacklett says there are six steps a company needs to take to hire, train, and retain empathetic customer service agents and provide empathetic customer service:
1) Hire upbeat people who are eager to help others.
2) Ensure the people interviewing your customer service representatives who can read people’s personalities and nonverbal body language like eye contact to determine if they’ll be the right fit to handle a variety of customer calls.
3) Expand the service culture to provide personalized customer experience in a variety of different mediums and channels.
4) Utilize seasoned veteran call center agents to help train your new agents by having them mentor them and explain the position through stories.
5) Empower your agents to respond to customers in a natural and open way if they solutions aren’t simple or obvious right away.
6) Adapt and evolve with your changing customers. Keep up with the trends and reach out to them on channels they use.
This blog post is based on an article from destinationCRM.com. To read the original article, please click the link below:
Great Customer Service Takes Empathy – Mary Shacklett
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