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Empathy customer service

Image – Surian Soosay, Flickr (CC license)

It’s no secret that personalisation is essential in developing a successful customer experience. Central to that is getting to know all you can about your customer and using that information to drive the interaction.

One step further is the role empathy plays in these interactions, and that’s not just your company driving or encouraging empathetic interactions, it’s also guiding your customers into a place where they express empathy towards you and your representatives. If you can get your customers to that place, you’re inhabiting an emotionally connected environment that provides the perfect springboard to build and strengthen the personal relevance of your brand to customers.

“Affective empathy involves stepping into another person’s emotional state (“I feel your pain”). Cognitive empathy requires a genuine understanding of someone else’s condition (“I see what you mean”). Both types have their place in business but the most effective leaders emphasize cognitive over affective empathy”. – Theano V. Kalavana

Bots vs. humans in the role of empathy

It’s been said that AI isn’t effective when it comes to highly emotive and potentially complex interactions – the kinds of interactions that are enhanced by a human touch, but that’s not entirely true: AI-driven bots can be developed with empathy as characteristics in their chats. As far-fetched as it may seem, a bot saying “I’m sorry” is all part of taking the conversation to the next level. Ultimately though, engaging with your customers as emotive beings, part of which includes respecting, acknowledging and then truly understanding their feelings, is a great way to reach them as individuals.

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