Excellent Customer Service Includes Empathy

This week the Wordless Wednesday post was a cartoon about customer service.  The caption read “Ok, how about this motto: ‘If you are unhappy for any reason, we will feel really bad’.”.  It’s funny to hear it out loud and think that, could in any way, be an effective motto in regards to client concerns and complaints.  Everyone can agree with that.  However, at second glance I believe there is a valuable lesson to learn from this fictional motto.

“SERVICE”, as a noun, is defined as the action of helping someone.  Generally speaking, all companies who work with a consumer base should make top-notch service a priority.  It is no mistake that all successful companies spend a lot of money on doing just that.  According to the 2012 Customer Service Hall from MSN Money, top performers include American ExpressMarriot InternationalUPS,SonyApple, and Amazon among others. Getting to the bottom of consumer issues or problems and making them right is crucial in building a strong reputation as a company that is committed to superb customer service.    But what about the human aspect?  Of course if we have a problem with a piece of equipment we want it fixed or replaced.  That’s a no brainer.  But what about the frustration we experience while dealing with the defective equipment, late shipment, or inconvenience?  What about the time lost trying to fix the problem ourselves?  That is the human piece to the puzzle. Just last week website-hosting, industry leader GoDaddy.com, suffered a security breach and millions of clients were affected causing them to have service outages. In their response to making it right GoDaddy.com started out by saying “We let you down and we know it…I cannot express how sorry I am to those of you who were inconvenienced”.  Then they backed up the apology with actions to make the wrong right again.

I think the cartoon reminds us that a successful client service department must share a sense of empathy with the customer.  The first thing you learn in call center training is how to validate the concern of the customer.  This is the first step to calming and reassuring them that you will do everything in your power to not only “fix” the broken but empathize in their frustration as well.

It kind of goes back to the old adage “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  Next time you are dealing with a client or customer who is angry or frustrated, remember to first validate and empathize with their dilemma.  Like the cartoon says “if you are unhappy for any reason, we will feel really bad”.  Just add to that “and do everything in our power to make it right”!