Concerning Customer Empathy:

Too Often, Decision Makers Forget How They Feel When They are Customers
The other day I called the pediatrician’s office to schedule flu shots for my children
“I would like to schedule an appointment. Which slots are available?” I asked.
She offered, “If you visit our website, you can see the slots and select your time.”
“Yes,” I said, “But since we are already on the phone, and your computer shows the available slots, can’t I just make an appointment?”
“Oh,” she said with slight surprise. “OK…”
We have all been on the other side of frustrating customer service. We have seen the marketing material that does not show why we would be fools not to plunk down our hard-earned cash for the latest and greatest product or service.
Why does this happen? The trouble is business folks are so convinced that their product is a must-have that they forget to show that to the customer. I’ve seen clients list products and services on their marketing material assuming the customers are so educated they already know their need.
The irony is so many professionals, who are customers themselves, lack empathy when trying to attract, retain and service their customers. Customer empathy considers the needs and desires of the customer to bridge the gap between what you are offering and why they need it.
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Don’t assume your customers know about why your service or product is the best. Prove it.
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Relationship experts say that in our narcissistic society, we are less empathetic to others. But with a recession with no end in sight, and people working harder to have less, businesses have to do their diligence to assure they understand their customers.
Customer empathy is also critical for effective social media since it requires a more relational approach to communicating with customers.
Knowing your audience is the number one command in journalism. It dictates the information to be presented in a story. The same is true when trying to reach your audience of customers. Don’t assume your customers know about why your service or product is the best. Prove it.
Imagine sitting at the desk of the person you are trying to reach and asking questions like: What is this person worried about? What are the toughest challenges they face? Who are their customers? What do they need? These are known in the business as “pain points,” a term some expert came up with that gives me images of acupuncture.
Disney World does not cut corners when it comes to knowing their customers. When I took my girls there last summer, I was in awe that everything was in place to make our experience wonderful. (My dream really did come true!) Target is another example. Because the store understands my needs, often I can’t leave without dropping $200!
As for the pediatrician’s office, I will scroll through multiple screens to sign in, even when doing so on a piece of paper is easier for me. But what do I know? I’m just the customer.

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