Before the pandemic, empathy was a word that showed up frequently in our personal lives but was largely absent from most companies. Fast-forward nearly two years later, and it can now be heard echoing throughout the proverbial halls of the business world. While this isn’t the first time in history that organizations have talked about empathy, many of them are finally doing something about it. Workers are now seeing empathy in many forms, with more employers creating flexible work environments, addressing employees’ mental health, and improving communication across the organization. To retain top talent, empathy is essential, and the same goes for your customers. As we move further into the digital world, human-to-human interaction will become an even greater priority, with empathy topping the charts of the customer experience (CX).
Here are three ways to ensure that empathy is an integral part of your CX strategy.
Ditch the hard sell
The days of selling to your customers are long over. When consumers are spending nearly eight hours of their day on digital media, the very last thing they want to see or hear is another tone-deaf sales pitch. It may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s one that’s easy to forget: on the other side of the screen is a person with thoughts, feelings, and desires. Leverage your data to figure out your customers’ pain points, and then create a conversation around how your products or services can help.
Gartner found that B2C marketers who help customers explore in a structured way can increase the likelihood of purchase by 42%. The decision-making process may look different when it comes to the B2B customer experience, but these buyers want just as much help getting there. The same research shows that improved decision-confidence among B2B audiences translates to a 3.6x greater likelihood of completing a high-quality deal. As Gartner puts it, “Both approaches focus on helping the customer do something that matters to them: empathy, rooted in action.”
Build human connection
Digital media doesn’t always make it easy to foster a human connection with your customers, but building these relationships is vital. Just like any good organization puts its employees first, your customers’ needs should also be at the forefront of your business. When building customer experiences, think about different ways to meet your customers where they are. Procter and Gamble used “smart audience segments” to boost company revenue by 20%, while retailers like Target put the spotlight on DE&I by offering Halloween costumes for kids with disabilities. No matter how much research goes into a buyer’s decision, there is always some degree of emotion behind it. Those responsible for creating CX should design every touchpoint with this in mind and work to build customer journeys that elicit positive emotions.
Social media is hands-down the fastest way to spark a conversation with your customers; it’s also an incredibly easy means to collect insights on what they want. Spend some time observing your target audience and be thoughtful in your posts. Remember, no matter how much you might be trying to garner new leads, your customers and prospects are here for an entirely different reason. Show them the human side of your business by showing off your personality, sharing opinions on topics that matter to them, and providing helpful insights without the sales pitch.
As consumers spend more time online than ever before, it’s imperative for us to meet them where they are, and this involves more than deploying digital tools and solutions. To provide superior CX in 2022, business leaders must evolve their CX strategies to make empathy the focal point of every interaction.