International Customer Service Week Blog Post #1 – Service Champions – Serving with Empathy

Serving with EmpathyInternational Customer Service Week – October 03 – 07, 2016 is finally here!!! This week we will be dedicating our blog posts to the theme of the week Service Champions. If you are in business – your number one responsibility should be to serve your customers. I want to start out the week by focusing on some service behaviours that service champions must be masters at in order to really deliver a wow experience and the first is Empathy.

Empathy and Sympathy are two very different emotions and they are displayed differently. In customer service – all employees must know how to display and communicate empathy in a genuine and compassionate way! I know some times customers may come in, call in or send an email and you really do not connect with what they are asking or saying…..your aim is to try and place yourself in the customer’s shoes – understand where they are coming from and then show an expression that says, “I care, I am glad you shared this with me, I understand.”

Loss of a loved one – a father, a mother, a wife, a husband, a child, or even a friend are times when empathy should be most considered. Listening is a behaviour that is a must when showing empathy – many times the person experiencing the pain simply wants someone with compassion and understanding to just listen. As human beings sometimes people start talking and we start sharing things specific to us rather than really engaging and listening to the person. When we listen to others share their concerns like a flight being delayed, a child being sick, a policy being re-instated so the parent can have full access to health benefits or a vendor being paid on time because they have their own obligations to meet that are time specific – we must be able to show consideration. People are emotional beings and they can get sad, they can show happiness, they can be angry – when our customers choose to share their story with us – this is a great privilege.

As Service Champions – heroes in the business of customer service – Empathy is a Must! You may not have felt the same pain and hurt your customer feels from the complaints they continue to make but you must be able to step outside of who you are for a couple minutes and offer some words of compassion and just listen. I know for a fact – the people that have had the biggest impacts on my life – are the ones who really listen to me when I speak, really make an effort to understand where I am coming from and really make a human connection with me (sometimes that connection is inexplainable). Some days we enter that battlefield of Service and we have to dust off all the pain and hurt from yesterday and last week and like a real champion press forward with courage and strength.

Being a great customer experience provider takes courage, takes commitment, takes strength because it means when everything around you seems to be collapsing – you still maintain your composure, you still stand strong and have faith that things will improve and you support your team members with unwavering faith and your customers with a light burning where the flames never burn out.

I challenge you this week to  take a long and hard look at your business and really understand if you have mastered Empathy – do your employees emphasize with a customer whose house or vehicle is being repossessed for non-payment? Do your employees empathize with a customer that is having a hard time making a payment this month? Do you empathize with your employees when their is a natural disaster like a Hurricane? Do you empathize with your employees if they had a child that died or one that was really ill? Do you empathize with your customers when they are undecided? Seriously ask yourself these questions and write the answers down  – then take another sheet of paper and write down what you would want those answers to be.

Bréne Brown, Shame Researcher and best-selling author of Daring Greatly and the Gifts of Imperfection, has an entire chapter in her book on Empathy. This video really shows us why Empathy is a core behaviour to understand and cultivate as human beings – customer experience is built on relationships and the strongest relationships have people who practice empathy! Bréne Brown on Empathy – You Tube.

 

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