There’s a strange paradox that occurs in the corporate world: at some point, business communicators forget what it’s like to BE a customer. If your business is not connecting with customers through empathy, it’s time to rethink your communications.
We’ve all done it – gotten so wrapped up in the daily grind of meetings, budgets, and deliverables that we grow detached from our customer because they are outside the company. We may think, “It’s not relevant to my job, they’re not on my team, they’re not me.”
But to every other business on earth, you ARE the customer.
When you grab a coffee, drive to work, read your email or write on a whiteboard, when you adjust your clothes before a presentation, ride an elevator, look at the clock. All day, every day you are a customer of countless products and services. And if all those businesses that produce that infrastructure for you did not care about giving you a great experience, your day would be much less comfortable.
As a consumer, if you cannot easily do what you want, when you want it, it’s likely you’ll drop one product or service for another until you get the experience you want. And when you get it and keep getting it, you fall in love—and that’s called brand loyalty.
As a business, that’s what you’re shooting for. So don’t just give your customers the best YOU can think of; give them what THEY value most.
5 Tips for connecting with customers through empathy
1. Value what your customers value
What are the things that matter most to your target customers and why? It’s critical to understand the concerns, attitudes and decision drivers of all the various segments you serve. Then, frame your business strategy, offerings, and communications around what resonates best with those audiences.
If you don’t have much in the way of insights (e.g., only survey feedback), it’s time to get to know your customers better. For example, we help clients with market research, stakeholder interviews, even customer analytics. Then we develop data-driven customer personas to inform product positioning, and from there we create messaging tailored to better connect with different segments.
2. Avoid one-size-fits-all
Understandably, most brands can’t create a unique experience for every customer. But you can create experiences that make people feel recognized as valuable. That starts with by communicating with empathy. Beyond showing appreciation, address what’s most relevant and helpful for each person in each interaction.
Consumers increasingly expect personalization, and more than ever — they are willing to switch brands in order to get it.
3. Think like your customers
That doesn’t mean imagine how YOU would feel in their situation. Connecting with customers through empathy means envisioning how THEY might feel and behave, given their situation, needs and concerns.
Every time you write customer communications, answer a support call, design a product – ask yourself: “How would our customer feel in this situation? What do they care about most?” Most of us want more than having basic needs met; we want to feel confident and comfortable. If you can deliver that customer experience-–you’re golden.
4. Rely on real insights, not best guesses
Too often businesses do what they think is right for customers, but it’s based more on what the company can do than what customers said they want.
To build stronger relationships, listen and learn through a Voice of the Customer program – then take action to improve the customer experience. AI and machine learning analytics are a great way to put volumes of customer data to work for making business decisions with a more meaningful impact.
5. Create win-win scenarios
Typically, when your customers are happy, your business is happy. If your customers can get what they want and feel great doing it, they’ll keep coming back, buy more, say good things about you, refer you to others. That’s good for your business, so you win too.
Every day you go to work, think like a customer. Consider how much you value an experience when you easily get what you need, and feel great doing it –because that’s the customer experience you want your company to deliver.
Remember it’s never about you. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business – so it’s always about them. Let your customers make it about you when they celebrate your brand. That’s where building strong emotional appeal into your customer experience really pays off.
How we can help you connect with customers through empathy:
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