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Why Empathy Should Come From Customers Also in a Customer-Business Relationship

Empathy is two-way traffic which shouldn't only be a business's responsibility.

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“Here is an INR 50 complimentary voucher from my side. Please take care, sir.”

Yesterday, I was facing some technical issues with my mobile network because of which outgoing calls were getting dropped frequently. To get a probable solution, I dialled the customer care number. 

Ever since the Government has enforced lockdown, I’ve adopted a simple habit. Whenever I dial or receive a call from a customer care executive, I ask them three questions before conveying my problem:

  • Are you and your family safe?
  • How are things in your area?
  • Is there anything I can help you with?

I asked these questions to the mobile operator customer care executive as well. The lady on the other side of the call was happy to answer them before sharing the solution to my network problem. 

When I cut the call, I again told, “Take care. Please Stay safe.”

Just a few minutes later, I received an email from the mobile operator customer care’s official email-ID. 

“Sir, I was truly touched by your kind gesture today. As a token of gratitude, please accept this INR 100 complimentary voucher from my side. You can use it to recharge any number without T&C.”

COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown have affected every sector and industry severely. Companies have gone bankrupt, employees have been laid off, and economies have crashed. 

Accenture, in India, is going to lay off around 25,000 employees or at least 5% of its global workforce in 2020. 

Even those who’re currently in jobs are worried about losing them in the upcoming months if things don’t return to normalcy soon. 

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Right now, empathy needs to have two-way traffic, not one-way. As much as businesses are expected to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and understand their pains and problems, it becomes equally important for the customers to be empathetic towards businesses and their employees. 

With everything and everyone being critically impacted, let’s look how customers can show empathy and provide much-needed support to businesses and people-in-jobs:

Don’t behave rudely with customer care agents
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When a customer care agent calls you, don’t talk rudely. They’re juggling between their work and families, working overtime and even on Sundays, and trying their best to meet the unrealistic targets set by their bosses. 

You don’t know if they’re on performance radar of their companies, someone in their family is COVID-infected, or they themselves are risking their lives by travelling to the office every day. 

Lend them your ear, listen to them patiently for a minute or two, and reply politely even if you’re not interested in their offerings. Don’t scold them for calling you during a meeting or unsettling your schedule. 

Don’t mind businesses’ tiny errors or mistakes

In spite of not having prior experience in managing their operations during a pandemic, businesses are doing their best to serve customers. However, in doing so, they might commit a few errors or mistakes unintentionally. 

Instead of being too harsh, forgive those errors and support businesses full-fledged. Your little support or words of encouragement can bring them back on track. 

Wrapping Up

Empathy from customers doesn’t blur the responsibility of businesses to be empathetic in brand messaging and overall customer interaction. Both customers and businesses will need to have an affinity for each other’s situation, perceptions and problems if we want the economies to survive and thrive in Post-COVID era. 

Share your personal experience when a customer showed empathy towards your business or you showed empathy towards any business or customer care agent. 

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