Why compassion is good for business
In this post I am going to discuss how recent research conducted by MyCustomer and Genesys and based on the views of about 500 consumers shows that compassion in customer service is good for both customers and business.
Over the last decade or so, Customer Experience (CX) has been the chosen battleground of business and they embarked on becoming ‘customer-centric’, which meant listening to their customers and acting on what they heard. However, to remain a competitive advantage for the future, CX needs to do more than just listen to customers or design efficient journeys.
I have written before about the growing importance of empathy in customer service and as more products and services become seen as a 'commodity', one way for you to stand out is to better understand and meet the emotional needs of your customers (as well as their rational and functional ones). As Dr Natalie Petouhoff, a CX expert and consultant at Genesys says:
Customers want to feel heard, acknowledged, understood and appreciated.”
The research report is full of great insights and advice (some of which are summarised in this infographic), but for this post, I am going to focus on just one aspect: that when a customer service agent treats a customer with authentic compassion (empathy) then the outcome results in higher levels of satisfaction, even if you cannot solve their problem.
Here is what the report says:
‘Remarkably, those who did not have their query resolved but had an interaction which understood and acknowledged their emotions very well were much more likely to be satisfied than those that had their query resolved but had an experience where they felt their emotions were not understood or acknowledged at all.’
Indeed, the research shows that when a customer's emotional state was very well understood and acknowledged, 63% of those customers would say that they were 'very satisfied' with the overall interaction; whereas, if they felt that their emotional state was either not understood or acknowledged, no customers would say that they were 'very satisfied'. Indeed, in the case where their emotional state was not understood or acknowledged, 61% said they were 'very dissatisfied'.
Similar results were found when customers were asked about how they felt about a brand after the overall interaction, with 73% saying they felt more positively about the brand when their emotional state was both very well understood and acknowledged, and 78% saying they felt more negatively about the brand when their emotional state was not understood or acknowledged at all.
Of course, resolving a customer’s problem or query is still your highest priority and the biggest contributor to customer satisfaction, but doing so with empathy is also critically important and affects how they feel about both the service interaction and your brand. This where the research shows the difference that empathy makes: When a customer's query is resolved with empathy, 96% of customers said that they were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied', compared to only '16%' of those whose query was resolved without empathy. Surprisingly, in answering the same question, but where their query was not resolved but they were treated with empathy, 60% of customers would still say that they were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' - a far higher proportion than those whose query was resolved but without empathy.
In conclusion, acting with empathy does not mean giving customers everything they want (which often costs more), treating them with compassion can cost little, except taking the time to make them feel heard and understood and can pay big dividends in higher customer satisfaction and brand perception (and if you want to know how to calculate those in tangible results, please check out my resources page: http://xmplify.co.uk/resources)
Quoting myself from the report (an act of hubris I know):
Empathetic agents ‘win’ either way – and this is reflected in customer experience measures and business results."
Peter is an award winning expert in using a combination of data and behavioural sciences to lead transformation in the field of Experience Management (XM); encompassing Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience EX) and Partner Experience (PX) .
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