To Empathize with Customers, Frontline Reps Must Have "Relatable Experiences"
Providing those experiences can lead to better service.
(Boonton, NJ, December 14, 2012) — One of the mantras of customer service is "empathize with the customer." But if frontline service providers don't have what author Jeff Toister calls "relatable experiences," any attempt at empathy will come across as shallow and formulaic.
"Empathy ultimately comes from relatable experiences," says Toister in the December issue of Customer Service Newsletter.
"And customer service employees often don't have that relatable experience — as a bellman at a hotel, you might not spend your own money to stay in a hotel of that quality. If you work in tech support, you probably fix your own computer, so you don't understand the kind of frustration a customer can experience when something isn't working."
To avoid this basic problem, Toister says, "you need to hire people with relatable experience or you need to create the experience for them."
For example, the outdoor equipment company REI looks to hire people who are avid users of the equipment that the company sells. And alternatively, some high-quality hotels have what they call "associate stay" programs, where bell captains, front desk clerks, and even housekeepers can stay in the hotel as a guest so they understand what the customer experience is like.
Creating these relatable experiences will help frontline staff empathize and ultimately provide better service.
To learn more about how to create great experiences for customers, read the December issue of Customer Service Newsletter.
About the Customer Service Group
For more than 20 years, the Customer Service Group has helped customer service, call center and help desk managers increase productivity, improve service quality and boost customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. The Customer Service Group publishes Customer Service Newsletter and The Customer Communicator.