How to build customer empathy in your agents

empathyFor customer satisfaction, call centre agents should listen and understand every caller.

In order for them to do that, agents should be empathetic towards customers. Here are our tips to help build customer empathy…

Set the best example

Managers, supervisors and team leaders should set a good example to their fellow colleagues in the way that they behave when at work.

Treating colleagues and customers with respect and empathy will soon become a part of the company’s culture.

Setting a bad example by things like talking to people badly and complaining about customers could rub off on call centre agents and they may adopt this behaviour and attitude when talking to customers.

Don’t be scripted

Using scripted phrases when speaking to a customer can sound robotic and meaningless, which won’t help the relationship with the caller.

Rather than teach your agents words and phrases to use, try to encourage and teach key behaviours instead.

Reassuring and telling customers that you understand is important and it should be done naturally so that caller believes what they are hearing.

Be adaptable

Call centre agents should be adaptable to the caller’s individual needs.

Sometimes callers can be unsure and come across quiet and an agent should take the lead and ask relevant questions.

Other times, callers can be headstrong and be determined to tell you everything. In this case, an agent should let them speak, without interrupting, and then work to resolve the issue.

As agents are more and more adaptable when speaking to customers, they should learn how to gauge what an individual’s needs are.

Set brand values

Having a clear set of brand values in place make it clear to potential employees, new employees and visitors what your company considers important and how your culture works in your company.

These values should include things like treating each other fairly, treating customers with respect, learning from mistakes, and being supportive to colleagues.

Have training exercises

Having agents take part in training exercises can be very beneficial.

Role play can be an effective tool which can help to develop motivation and improve communication skills.

In addition to the above, there are many other effective ways that you can build customer empathy, which include:

  • Ask for the customer’s name at the beginning of the phone conversation, prior to asking them for a reference number. This simple question creates a relationship between the customer and the caller.
  • If a customer calls with a problem or query, an agent should try to see it from their point of view. They should think how they would like the situation dealt with and do their best to rectify the problem in the best way they can.
  • Be respectful to the customer. Never talk over them or talk down to them.
  • Repeat important details and information back to the customer to reassure them that they have your full attention. For example, “Okay, just to recap…”
  • Don’t get distracted by your colleagues or other things in the office as the customer will be able to notice.
  • Take an interest in what the customer is saying. If you are speaking to a particular chatty customer who tells you personal things about themselves, take an interest.
  • Remember that not all customers want to chat. Some just want to explain what the problem is and get is fixed.

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