The importance of empathy in the workplace is frequently underestimated. But, in an empathetic work environment, teams work better together and customers are happier, both of which contribute to a healthy bottom line.
Empathy can be viewed as weak or" touchy-feely", but it's just good business. When a customer believes that they have been heard, they feel that you understand them and are willing to form the kind of partnership that leads to long-term business success. A little empathy towards your team can help reduce turnover and increase productivity.
Steps to Empathy
- Listening. It’s the first step to understanding. Listen actively to find out what the speaker needs and to hear what's behind the words. When a customer calls with a problem, pay attention to tone and word choice to determine if your customer is frustrated or matter-of-factly seeking solutions.
- Ask questions. Asking a lot of open-ended and clarification questions is important to making sure that you understand what the customer needs and can reach a satisfactory solution. Don't jump to your own conclusions if you're not certain.
- Understanding. Now is the time to put the information you've learned to work. Think of a time when you have had a similar problem and remember how you felt. This can help you to truly put yourself in the customer's shoes and come up with a satisfactory solution. You may even save some money. Don't jump to offer a customer a refund if what he really needs is a missing part.
Start at the top.
It's important that empathy is modeled by managers if they expect it from their teams. When your team sees management treating subordinates and customers with empathy they know that is what is expected of them.
For example, try to put yourself in the shoes of an employee who is frequently late because of childcare issues. You may come up with an unexpected solution. And don't roll your eyes at customers after you hang up the phone if you expect your employees to take a focus on empathy seriously.
It's an inside job.
It's important for your team to put themselves in the shoes of your clients, but they should also do the same for each other. Whether it's picking up the slack for a sick coworker or offering to train a new employee, a sense of empathy is what makes teamwork work.
Empathy is important when hiring as well. Active listening, asking questions and understanding are a vital part of interviewing for candidates who will fit into your organization. For help finding those candidates, contact Sparks Group, your staffing experts.