Mastering the Art of Empathy Leads to Success

Empathy : the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings; the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.

Psychology Today defines empathy as — known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors. While American culture might be socializing people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic, research has uncovered the existence of “mirror neurons,” which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them.

How Does Empathy Fit into Business?

Empathy is the cornerstone of all customer experience that leads to success. Without empathy business fails.

All business be it big or small need to think through their customer experience and in order to do so, need to have an in-depth understanding of how empathy plays into their business on a daily basis. Businesses that “get it” take the time to understand and invest in understanding their customers and make a genuine effort to apply these insights to every aspect of their businesses, ranging from new product development, how they manage and interact on social media, customer service to the retail environment and/or ecommerce.

Customers who believe a company is not empathetic to their needs will highly likely take their business elsewhere, hitting a company where it hurts most — the bottom line.

Didn’t think a lack of empathy had an impact on sales? Surprise. You’re missing out on the opportunity to better connect with your customers and earn more of their business, drive engagement and build the ultimate tribe of brand evangelists that spread your product message to the masses.

Without empathy, you are just another brand in a sea of brands that no one cares if they exist or die.

Customers are people first and revenue after their needs have been met. In todays age of big data — with our head-down, success at any cost — we can turn our endeavor of a startup or growth of an existing business into an awful lot of work if we forget or discount the role empathy plays with customer engagement.

As a business owner, manager or even customer service representative, our job is to help our customers, so they’ll come back again and ideally spread good will through word of mouth marketing on our behalf. If we can show more value, treat customers kindly, and ideally make their lives easier, then we’re giving them reasons to come back and do business with us again and again and again.

The Customer Journey

In practice the customer journey we map out for our customer experience we imagine customers moving from a state of need to having a problem to that of a problem solved. We use data and analytics to map where customers are flowing, where they’re stopping on our sales funnel, and where we can focus our energy for the best return on the investment.

The risk in taking this approach is we have an tendency to approach data in aggregate, and consider customers as a singular entity with common emotions and paths to problem solving. We forget the individual emotions and personal histories that drive customer actions.

Every customer has a unique perspective based on similar emotions and personal histories. This cannot and should not be discounted.

Customer Engagement is the Lifeblood of Business

The customer journey is both emotional and frustrating. Any business that wants to be truly successful must be mindful and well aware of the paths customers take to our store fronts, apps, and/or eCommerce solution, along with the emotions that occur in their interactions with us.

After all, as a business and on a personal level our goal is to make their lives easier and ideally more fulfilling, so they become repeat customers. Anything less, is a failure.

Customer Experience is about Building Relationships and a Tribe.

Business involves building. We build networks, revenue, referrals, and opportunities. Every one of these are dependent on something very basic: human relationships.

If we’re committed to it, we’ll never be done making the customer experience better. Variables like technology, trends, and customer interests make customer experience improvement a complex and evolving challenge. But if we can build strong relationships with our customers, they’ll give us time to solve that challenge and highly likely, if asked assist in the journey. Most people want to help, and when asked to do so will step up to assist.

Like any relationship, it’s best to take it one step at a time. If we pay attention to each step, and show some heart, then we can build our businesses together with our customers engaged as valuable business partners. And as we keep improving, those tiny steps will combine into cultures based on commitment to building trusting relationships with customers who become brand evangelists.

The time and effort invested in your customer will determine your success or lack of.