Almost half of customers care more about getting empathetic customer service than better quality products, reports Groove. That’s easy to understand, but really hard to implement.

Empathy is a great character trait to have, but not everybody knows how to express it, especially during difficult calls with challenging customers, who are upset about something your customer service agents might not feel a connection to.

It’s your job to give your agents the skills and tools they need to become more empathetic toward customers. Implement the following 4 strategies in your company, and things will gradually grow easier (or contact our team here, and we’ll provide already-trained, empathetic customer service agents for you).

Explain the Customers’ Point of View (Don’t Assume Your Agents Already Know This)

True, customer service agents experience the customer standpoint with companies they buy from, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re getting yelled at for 6-9 hours in a row.

In addition, customer service is often people’s first job after high school or during college, and they might not have that much experience being customers on their own, without parental support.

Therefore, it’s important to take some time and explain to them what things look like from the customer’s perspective – the challenges the customer is trying to resolve by buying your product, the challenges she faces when the product doesn’t work or when she overpays and has kids to feed, and what it feels like when she calls to get support and no one seems to care.

Analyze Customer Calls and Encourage Agents to Brainstorm How Things Could Have Been Handled Better

Sit down with agents and analyze their calls. You can do it on the spot or by recording calls in advance. You can do it one on one or in a group with the rest of the department. Either way, clarify that it’s not a witch hunt, and don’t allow anyone to punish agents for analyzed calls.

It might even be best to analyze sample calls you find online or common case scenarios – so agents don’t feel attacked – and only move to specific agents’ calls if you find the sample analysis didn’t have enough impact.

In all cases, it’s important to let your customer service agents brainstorm themselves how customers must have felt during the call and to offer better ways the situation could have been handled.

You can offer your own thoughts later, but let them come up with their own solutions first in order to engage them in the process. And who knows? They might come up with creative ideas you never would have thought of.

Teach Them Practical Ways to Handle Challenging Customer Situations

Sometimes agents understand that they need to show up better for your customers, but they just don’t know how. It’s not their fault – no one has ever taught them that.

If you hire agents who don’t have the necessary skills, or if you’re making the shift toward a more empathetic contact center with employees that were recruited to provide basic customer service, you need to train them, and that includes giving them practical ways to handle difficult situations.

You’ve got to be as specific and go as deep as giving them exact phrases they could use in different customer interactions.

Show Your Customer Service Agents Empathy, and They Will Carry it Through to Customers

The best way to teach is by example. If you want your agents to be empathetic toward customers, be empathetic toward them. Hear them out when they mess up a call, back them up with customers when necessary, and take their personal life into consideration as much as possible when scheduling shifts.

Over time, agents will feel that you care, and it’ll be easier for them to show up better to customer calls and give back to the company.

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