I work with a lot of call centers and many of them are building in performance metrics which include the agent’s ability to show empathy. But why?
Yes, I get that it demonstrates that you want the customer to feel you can relate to their dilemma or that you at least “fake” concern. But creating a culture which proactively promotes empathy matters to the bottom line too.
For example, I was speaking to a call center which provides technical support. I asked the manager which do you place more value on – soft-skills or technical knowledge, their answer was soft skills. He stated “we hired a young college graduate who was not as skilled at troubleshooting but all of her CSAT scores were always very high. She was able to use empathy and her ability to communicate trust to ensure the customer that even though she isn’t able to resolve their issue on the first call that she left the customer still feeling good about their experience and their company. I value that skill over the most technically skilled agent.”
In a YouTube video by Brene’ Brown, she states the four elements of Empathy
- Can see things from the perspective of the other person
- Staying out of judgment
- Recognizing emotion in other people
- Communicating that you recognize their position and emotions.
Companies invest a lot of resources into building their brand, building customer loyalty so why risk losing this because you would rather build a culture of agents who solve problems fast but don’t really connect with your customers.
In a LinkedIn post from Troy Mills, President of Carrell and former VP of Customer Care Operations at Walgreens, stated “I can’t tell you how many discussions about doing something exceptional for a customer is met with shock from the ops team” meaning wow someone went out of the way and off script to really help a customer out and the culture was such that this was a negative vs. a positive.
A good place to track how empathy has made a difference to the bottom line is to collect stories from situations where using empathy and caring made a difference. Sometimes the difference isn’t always tangible initially but trust me it will have a lasting impact on the bottom line for the long-term.