The most important component to Customer Experience (CX) is understanding how the experience you are delivering makes your customer feel. To further that, you also need to ensure that the experience is positive and leaves your customer with a good feeling. This is the skill of empathy, and it is a huge part of Emotional Intelligence. It’s a skill that has become increasingly important to building successful CX strategies.
Having empathy is key to understanding this key component of CX, without it, it is only conjecture and supposition. Unfortunately, many companies fall into the trap of following the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) rather than focusing on the customer. In focusing on conjecture, supposition and someone’s opinion, customers are lumped together as one audience, when there are many target audiences within a customer base.
Listening To Your Customers
Taking the time to listen is an aspect of empathy in CX that takes both time and skill, and reading (or listening) between the lines is critical. The listening aspect of CX takes on several methods, and the data from those methods should inform every step of the customer journey.
From user experience (UX) testing, call center interactions to voice of customer (VoC) surveys and ratings, the data from these activities should be incorporated to understand customer reactions and friction points. This data can then be utilized to improve funnel conversion, nurture target acquisitions, create new audiences, and even create those very coveted ambassadors for your brands.
Using empathy to understand how your customers feel improves the interactions and the desired outcomes.
Don’t Confuse Sympathy with Empathy
A common mistake is to confuse empathy and sympathy, and it’s not just because the words sound similar. There’s a stark difference between the two concepts, and only empathy should be part of your CX strategy.
Empathy – the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation (Cambridge Dictionary)
Sympathy – a feeling or expression of understanding and caring for someone else who is suffering or has problems that have caused unhappiness (Cambridge Dictionary)
Using empathy to understand how your customers feel improves the interactions and the desired outcomes. Sympathy implies pity and customers don’t come to you looking for your sympathy. Having empathy shows your customers that you care, while not patronizing them with unwarranted pity.
The Need for Customer Experience (CX) is Only Increasing
Companies who prioritized CX efforts and implementing empathy into their digital strategies during the pandemic have benefitted immensely from their efforts in both online growth and customer loyalty. The importance of the CX and empathy in the digital experience as we begin 2022 and moving forward it cannot be overstated as CX teams are tasked with creating and delivering exceptional customer journeys and experiences.
Companies who embrace and continue to approach these continued challenges from a place of empathy set themselves up for new and continued success at meeting their customer needs and likely exceeding their expectations.