Empathetic Engagement: The right way to engage customers

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is how Dickens started his famous book “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Unfortunately, we are in the midst of one of the worst times. The world has had to adjust itself to a state of confinement and build an ecosystem that can get stifling. Consumer behavior has never been more volatile, and client insecurity never so high. 

For B2B and B2C companies, this means they are now dealing with customers and clients that are in a heightened state of insecurity, anxiety, and panic. That is why the way companies approach customers at this volatile stage can make or break their business.

So how should organizations interact with customers in their new avatar? The answer lies in Empathetic Engagement.

What is Empathetic Engagement?

In simple terms, any interaction that utilizes a compassionate approach to customer interactions can be called Empathetic Engagement. It involves a thorough understanding of their current status and requirements.

This means that whether it is sales calls, tech support, online interactions via chat, or conversations with virtual assistants, every interaction needs to be highly personalized. However, that is easier said than done.

The amount of human to human interactions has plummeted with organizations working remotely. Moreover, consumer behavior today has changed. They will no longer respond to simple transactional messages about a discount or an offer. Therefore, the need of the hour is to devise a strategy that is built on a foundation of empathy.

The Empathy Strategy

The first thing an organization must do is take an overview of where the maximum interaction with customers occurs. For most, it can be divided into two:

  1. Call Support
  2. Chatbots & Virtual assistants

Now, while each interaction should be compassionate and understanding, the approach to ensure that happens, is different for the two.

Call Support

In the case of call support, the organization’s first priority should be to make sure their employees taking their calls are in a good mental state. Remember, a stressed person can never be an empathetic person. 

Monitoring their PERMA, which is short for Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment is an effective way to prevent stress. Informal team meetings, synched coffee breaks, and online team activities are also effective ways to keep a positive attitude. 

Once that is done, they need to be briefed on how approaching customers empathetically is crucial. Encourage customer-facing employees to take time listening to the person on the other end. According to Forbes, those who interact with customers at such times need to think like “part-time therapists,” and take each call with empathy in mind. The interactions should never be transactional.

Chatbots & Virtual assistants

For digital interactions with customers, involving no human interference, the organization must set up a system where the bot learns with each conversation. The organization that does this the fastest will have the lion’s share of the market. According to Gartner, 50% of enterprises have planned to invest heavily in their Digital Chatforce. However, without the right set up it can backfire. 

The reason being, even if 47% of consumers prefer to use digital touch points rather than sit on long calls,  45% of consumers also categorize chatbots as “annoying.” It’s a fine line, and the right balance must be struck. Configuring your chatbots according to your business requirements is the key.

The bottom line

The need for customer understanding and soft-skills has never been greater. If there ever was a need for developing soft-skills in the organization, it is now or never. 

Jeff Bezos once said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

Companies need to inculcate a habit where the client-facing personal or application can put themselves in the customers’ shoes and provide solutions accordingly. This will ensure that a foundation of trust is built. It will take time in the beginning, but it will guarantee dividends in the long run, and gear you up for the best of times in the future.

Allsec’s Customer Experience Management Solutions deliver the perfect blend of personalized human interaction and digital transformation for your business. Reach out to us for more information.