Cultivating empathy among your customer support reps

Cultivating empathy among your customer support reps

Faith Ocampo Published on January 26, 2017

smiling call center agent making heart hand gesture

One would think that empathy would come naturally for everyone, as it’s one of the main building blocks of effective communication. But in our modern world, fixation on technology and the continuously shrinking attention span are crippling our ability to understand how others feel.

This is bad news for companies—especially call centers—whose success depends on the quality of their customer relationships. That’s why countless business leaders cite empathy and great communication skills as some of the best aptitudes their staff can ever possess.
Empathic employees—those who can understand and relate to others’ feelings and experiences—are deemed to be emotionally intelligent. In customer support interactions, this trait allows agents to build rapport with clients and establish trust. It’s the most important quality that makes customers feel that a brand truly cares about them.
Embedding empathy into your organizational culture can thus help you build a customer-centric company. This is the key to building a brand that customers will remember. Here are five ways to cultivate this trait among your call center reps.

1. Emphasize the importance of listening.

customer service call center

Empathy starts with listening.

When agents listen to customers, they give them priceless gifts—time and full attention. These are the only two things you need to make customers feel valued. Letting them freely explain their concerns shows that you want to hear their insights and understand their exact needs.

In addition, listening actively during a conversation lets support reps recommend solutions that are tailored to the customers’ unique situation. Aside from enhancing the customer experience, this also speeds up problem resolution. Overall, this results to a more efficient customer service delivery.

 

2. Build diverse teams.

multiethnic business team
Managing diversity in multilingual call centers in the Philippines

The idea here is to expose your employees to people who are different from them, be it in terms of culture, personality, age, or beliefs. Putting together a diverse team would compel agents to meet new people. In the process, therefore, they’ll encounter new ideas, stories, and ways of thinking. All these can encourage your staff to be more open-minded. They’ll also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs or emotions in the long run.

 

3. Make it part of your customer service training.

people in corporate training

Including emotional intelligence training as one of your training modules is another great way to instill empathy among your call center reps. You can use a variety of classroom activities to allow them to practice this skill. For instance, role-playing activities let agents emulate customer support scenarios that they might encounter. This prepares them for difficult issues or situations they’d need to solve.

Another topic to include in your discussions is phone and email etiquette. This is particularly crucial for multilingual companies that deal with a diverse set of clients. Be sure to provide culture-specific guidelines for your agents to help them avoid misunderstandings during customer interactions.

Lastly, train your agents on core communication skills, including:

• speaking and writing clearly
• listening actively
• clarifying ideas
• organizing messages
• using the right tone of voice

 

4. Avoid using scripts.

customer service representative in yellow reading printed document in clipboard
Customer service training tip: Scripted empathy never works

Some call centers require their agents to follow a script so they can easily maneuver a customer conversation toward the desired direction. However, sticking to a script can hinder them from conveying empathy . Instead, agents may end up sounding robotic and monotonous, which can immediately dampen the customer experience.

On the other hand, spontaneous conversations sound more natural. Here, agents are at liberty to choose the best phrases or statements that are most appropriate for the situation. This lets them personalize conversations and address a customer’s specific needs.

 

5. Promote a customer-first culture.

employees high five

3 Habits that pave the way to customer centricity

The best way to build an organizational culture that prizes your customers above anything else is to communicate your vision to your employees. Let your people know that they play a critical role in making customers happy. And of course, empower them with the tools and information they need to perform their tasks efficiently.

 

Faith is a digital media enthusiast aiming to become an active part of the tech world by sharing her insights. She likes to blog about everything digimarketing, technology, and social media.

Leave a Reply

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO2 hours ago
Personalized solutions empower brands to provide high-quality support to their customers and their growing needs.
With the help of a capable #CallCenter, you can be sure these areas are being covered: https://buff.ly/3sCjnTS

----------
Build your hyper-customizable #CustomerSupport, #BackOffice, or knowledge-based support program with Open Access BPO: OpenAccessBPO.com/get-started

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#CustomerSupport
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO7 hours ago
With multilingual support comes multiple business growth opportunities. The best way to get aboard the globalization train is to partner with a multilingual #CallCenter: https://buff.ly/3Mmfkms

----------
Open Access BPO's services support over 30 languages. Contact us today: OpenAccessBPO.com/get-started

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#MultilingualCallCenter
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO2 days ago
It’s Data Privacy Awareness Month at Open Access BPO!
For our first Weekend Link Roundup, we’re featuring posts about #DataSecurity and #InformationSecurity best practices: https://buff.ly/3weIWMU

Is Data Safe From Security-Related Outsourcing Issues?
https://buff.ly/38tH5uD

Best Practices to Boost Data Security in Call Centers
https://buff.ly/3sAEsya

Educating Your Customers About Information Security
https://buff.ly/3sAEsya

The Worst Threat to Business Data Security: Employees
https://buff.ly/38lgjF3

Deflecting Insider Threats to Data Security
https://buff.ly/3yC5mt5

How Open Access BPO Future-Proofs Your Offshore Operations
https://buff.ly/3wmGuEx

----------
Learn more about smart, secure, and scalable #outsourcing over at OpenAccessBPO.com

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#DataPrivacy
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO3 days ago
Having a branded #CustomerService strategy sets your business apart from others, helping grow your customers base and enhancing #CustomerExperience.

Here's how you can develop a branded customer service strategy: https://buff.ly/3L7FrMz

----------
Outsource #CustomerDelight without losing your #BrandIdentity: OpenAccessBPO.com/get-started

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#CustomerSupport #branding
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO3 days ago
As more brands grow their digital products and services over digital platforms, it’s critical to educate customers about cyberattacks and information security.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when doing so: https://buff.ly/3M5rKz7

----------
Partner with an #outsourcing vendor with robust #DataSecurity strategies: OpenAccessBPO.com/get-started

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#InfoSec #CyberSecurity #PrivacyAwareness
Open Access BPO
Open Access BPO4 days ago
Customer reviews can either create buzz around your brand or kill everyone else's interest in your products.
So, what do you do if you receive a negative review? Turn them into business and #CustomerSupport opportunities: https://buff.ly/3kZd0WG

----------
Let our #CustomerExperience solutions help build you a solid brand reputation: OpenAccessBPO.com/get-started

#WeSpeakYourLanguage
#ReputationManagement
Open Access BPO