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Compassion in trying times

30-second summary:

  • Compassion is necessary to cultivate relationships both personal and professional. When interacting with customers, thoughtfulness in tone and action can help to navigate uncertainty and avoid misunderstanding.
  • Every written exchange speaks to the character of the relationship. When a customer contacts a company with an issue they’re facing, the response should never be apathetic.
  • If your organization is dealing with consequences from business uncertainties, the customers are dealing with them too. While financial, technical and logistical issues may need to be addressed, it’s important to recognize the significance of working on a personal level.
  • Some companies have lashed out with harsh responses to reviews and lost key customers. Others have turned them into opportunities to improvise and create more happy customers. Being considerate of their problems may help turning lemons into a delightful drink.
  • The messaging should aim at helping the customer in every possible way. Ignoring the topic altogether or upselling when issues remain outstanding creates the impression as a strategic partner, you’re tone-deaf.
  • Setting customer expectations early on is imperative to retain customers in the long run. It is critical to acknowledge, set expectations and live up to them consistently. Establishing these clear communication guardrails builds trust and increases customer satisfaction.
  • Delaying communication can lead to increased frustration and poor customer experience. Keeping the conversation going is critical.

Compassion is sometimes confused with empathy. They may be similar, but a degree of difference separates them. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes, seeing a problem from their point of view and understanding their difficulties or pain points.

Compassion involves acting on the problems and finding solutions to ease their pain. These are skills that can be learned and refined and are key to connecting with and relating to customers.

Brands and corporate reputations suffer dramatically when customer service falls short of empathy. The harm can be particularly acute in anxious times, whether it’s a pandemic or a natural disaster.

Amid adversity, customer expectations tend only to increase. It takes great sensitivity for businesses to respond accordingly.

Exercising compassion in the customer relationship

Compassion is necessary to cultivate relationships both personal and professional. When interacting with customers, thoughtfulness in tone and action can help to navigate uncertainty and avoid misunderstanding.

In email messages

In the pre-pandemic era, a customer-facing role would involve in-person contact as often as needed. But now, information is exchanged more often through email.

Every written exchange speaks to the character of the relationship. When a customer contacts a company with an issue they’re facing, the response should never be apathetic.

Remember that when multiple teams are involved in resolving an issue, the initial interaction with the customer forms the basis for all that follows. It’s crucial to consider and reconsider every word typed before hitting the “send” button.

On phone calls and video chats

It’s vital to consider the human on the other end of the line. Appreciating the other person’s feelings – and affirming them – shapes our interaction in a positive direction.

If your organization is dealing with consequences from business uncertainties, the customers are dealing with them too. While financial, technical and logistical issues may need to be addressed, it’s important to recognize the significance of working on a personal level.

Being present, and genuinely listening to your customer about their issues, are essential for customer success.

On social media

According to Techjury, there are 3.196 billion people actively using social networks. The internet user of today spends two hours and thirty-three minutes socializing online.

What does this mean to a brand? Customers won’t hesitate to write a bad review if they are unhappy with an interaction, and it goes viral in seconds on social media.

Some companies have lashed out with harsh responses to reviews and lost key customers. Others have turned them into opportunities to improvise and create more happy customers. Being considerate of their problems may help turning lemons into a delightful drink.

During meetings and events

We all look forward to the day when face-to-face interaction is the norm once again. If you find your company at the receiving end of criticism during an in-person event, respectfully ask for a private conversation to ascertain their issues.

Asking clarifying questions conveys that your attention is sincere and undivided. Providing a timeline for resolution also builds trust that is critical to a successful customer relationship.

What to avoid when interacting with customers?

Bad tone

One impolite response can negatively affect an organization’s profit and loss statement. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels he or she is treated.

The messaging should aim at helping the customer in every possible way. Ignoring the topic altogether or upselling when issues remain outstanding creates the impression as a strategic partner, you’re tone-deaf.

Setting expectations and not living up to them

Setting customer expectations early on is imperative to retain customers in the long run. It is critical to acknowledge, set expectations and live up to them consistently. Establishing these clear communication guardrails builds trust and increases customer satisfaction.

Delaying communication

A “Customer First” mindset means keeping the customer informed of progress. If there isn’t an immediate answer that addressed their concerns, just regularly informing your customer about the status goes a long way.

Delaying communication can lead to increased frustration and poor customer experience. Keeping the conversation going is critical.

Final thoughts

Being compassionate should not be mistaken with agreeing with your customer on everything. It’s about accepting emotions as they are, nonjudgmentally. It’s a crucial business skill.

Countless positive outcomes stem from compassion. It improves tolerance and responsiveness to challenging instances and positively affects the relationship. Practicing compassion helps to build resilience and prepares one better to face future uncertainties.

The first half of 2020 has produced substantial disruption. While recovery is slower than anticipated, there is a great opportunity for organizations to rededicate themselves to compassion and caring for customers, colleagues, and communities.

Demonstrating such behaviors during these difficult times creates real human connections that can endure the social and economic stresses of the pandemic.

Chad Crook is senior vice president and global head of customer engagement and adoption, Customer First, at SAP Procurement Solutions.

The post Compassion in trying times appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from www.clickz.com

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