using empathy

With all this talk about big data and analytics, it’s easy to lose sight of real human emotions. Even sports are all about “moneyball,” with the focus shifting more and more towards new statistics and less towards players playing with passion. The business world has not been spared from this shift either- numbers and figures are more important than ever, with companies relying on software like CRM to create their data and grow their business.

CRM is more than just a popular acronym. It’s more than just software, too. Customer relationship management software is exactly what it sounds like- it’s a tool intended to build a bond between businesses and customers. Relationships aren’t built with statistics, though. They’re built with personal connections.

Although CRM might be a cold, unfeeling program, its real intention is to help you get closer to your customers. It’s not only supposed to close more sales. CRM should turn every customer into your best customer, and more. It should make people want to spread the word about how awesome your business is.

Creating connections

Empathy is a human emotion that everyone should have more of. If we were all truly empathetic, everyone would get along a heck of a lot better! The same goes for the business world. Your customers want to know that you care what they think. There’s the old adage “The customer is always right,” and it’s still true for almost any industry- especially with the popularity and ease of online reviews.

It’s never been easier for people to voice their discontent to a large audience. Reduce the chances of your customer being unhappy by creating an empathetic connection with them. First and foremost, your CRM should be used to store as much customer information as possible. Every interaction the customer has had should be recorded- this way, if they ever have a bad experience there will be a record of it and the customer won’t feel like you’ve forgotten about them.

Even keeping seemingly trivial details can make a big difference when it comes to making this connection. Remembering their favorite sports team, or whether or not they are married, won’t necessarily build empathy but can create a surface connection. This initial connection will make the customer feel like you care, and hopefully will help you to care too.

Know your history

Although the “customer is always right,” sometimes they are just flat out wrong about something. Keeping a detailed interaction record within the CRM will stop the finger pointing that can emerge when customers have complaints. It will leave a paper trail and help to prove whether the customer really was spurned- or if there is just a misunderstanding.

Traditional customer service methods are built around fake empathy and are pretty much destined to fail. You get on the help line and have to explain the same problem to four different people before eventually getting to the manager. They all say “I’m sorry,” but it’s hard to believe them because nobody remembers what your problem was.

With a detailed history created by CRM, though, it’s much easier to not only remember the problem but to also solve it more quickly. Everybody involved- whether it’s the customer service agent, the manager, the sales person, or all three- will have access to identical information. Nothing will get lost in translation, and the customer will get their problem resolved quicker.

Learn from your mistakes

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This is definitely true in the business world. All that client history isn’t doing anybody any good if it isn’t actually being used. For starters, it can help customers resolve their issues quicker. However, it should also be used as a learning tool as well.

It is easy to find specific instances in which there was a breakdown with a customer. It can be narrowed down to specific clients and specific employees. You can even find the day that it happened or what time. This will reduce the amount of useless excuses because it’s easily traceable to find out what actually happened. From there, it’s a matter of coaching and training to fix what went wrong and to ensure that it never happens again.

Ultimately, customer relationship management software is about keeping your customers happy. That’s the best way to grow a business- keep the people that like you coming back and spending money. The power of word of mouth is getting bigger and bigger. Instead of worrying about one customer’s negative review that could sink your reputation, creating empathetic customer relationships will increase the chances that your customers are happy. From there, the good reviews and the good business will only continue to grow.