7 Keys to Organizational Empathy to Enhance Customer Experience (#cx)

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, May, 09, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

organizational empathy improves the customer experience








Great presentation by Bruce Temkin during the VoC (voice of the customer) Fusion Conference (#vocfusion).


Bruce shared his path for organizations to achieve organizational empathy.


Organizational empathy is a commitment by companies that they will work towards developing a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs, and they will use this knowledge to serve those needs better.


Bruce has even started an amplify empathy movement (#amplifyempathy) to encourage individuals to help build stronger empathy for their customers within their organizations.


People are wired to help other people -- be it their colleagues, prospects or customers.


Empathy is the ability to imagine ourselves in another's place and understand their feelings, desires and needs.


People behave differently whether they are an employee or a customer.


Engaged employees have: high interest, high knowledge, silos of focused messaging, politics and egos.


Customers have needs, desires, interest in your product or service and some level of knowledge.


Silos are not going away because they're an effective way to organize and manage knowledge.


Customer experiences happen between the silos. How can we enhance communication between the silos to enhance the customer experience?


Bruce proposes seven keys to unlock organizational empathy:


  1. Talk about customer emotions. How do they feel about their experience? Angry, adoring or something in between.

  2. Look at the journey, not just interactions.  Ask what happened right before and what they will do right after to understand the context of the request and to determine where you can personalize the experience and add value. USAA probes when someone calls to change their address. If the soldier is being deployed, it might save them money to put their automobile insurance on hold while they are away.

  3. Talk about customers as people. Customers are not statistics. Know that you can't be all things to all people but you can treat people as individuals and help identify the correct solution for their need.

  4. Interact regularly with target customers. Employees that are highly or moderately engaged are more empathetic. Employees want to be part of something bigger than their day-to-day job. Do your employees know your company's mission? Is it bigger than just generating more revenue?

  5. Provide a strong sense of purpose. This sense of purpose provides four intrinsic rewards: 1) meanfulness; 2) choice - don't script everything, empower people to make decisions on their own; 3) competence - build skills and training; 4) progress - growth and learning.

  6. Empower random acts of kindness.  Ritz empowers employees to spend up to $2,000 on a guest to enhance their experience. Disney encourages each of their employees to spend five minutes creating a special moment for a guest.

  7. Personal happiness enhances empathy. Find reasons to be thankful. Hire happy people and keep them happy. Find ways for you to be happy.


More organizational empathy will result in more happy customers.


More happy customers will buy more, more frequently and provide greater lifetime value for the firm.


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Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, employee empowerment, lifetime customer value, empathy