Are you making your customer feel important? Many customer service toll free helplines begin with the message, “Your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available customer service agent.” This is often followed by a long wait filled with very loud on-hold music, commercials, and gratitude for your patience as you continue to hold. In reality, although the words indicate the importance of the customer, it’s not at all how the customer feels.
After being on hold for any amount of time, customers can be frustrated. If your customer service team does not have adequate training in empathy, this call may end badly. Empathy is important when dealing with frustrated customers. Having an empathetic staff is often why your customers stay rather than go to your competition.
Empathy is defined by Miriam-Webster Dictionary as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” Richard Salem states that empathic listening by customer service agents encourages trust, allows customers to release their emotions, reduces tension, helps the exchange of important information, and leads to collaborative problem solving. Empathic statements by your company representatives, such as “I understand your frustration…”, “I realize how complicated it is…”, “I’m sorry to hear that…”, can go a long way in helping the customer feel valued.
Since the customer service agent is the first point of contact after a (potentially) long hold period, it’s important to make this customer touch point meaningful. Make sure your company is projecting the image you intend when on hold and when dealing with your organization’s representatives. Supporting an empathetic culture as an organization can reduce frustration while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.