If you are dealing with customers and others on a regular basis, perhaps in a contact centre – especially in awkward or distressing situations, such as when undertaking funeral call handling – then your aim is surely to be as empathetic as possible.
There’s an old saying that many people quote, yet it is exactly the opposite of what’s actually required. Here it is: ‘treat others as YOU would like to be treated’. No! People who adopt this style are really simply communicating inside their own heads with themselves. Turn the phrase around and you have a way forward towards increased empathy: treat others as THEY would want to be treated. This means being on their wavelength, truly understanding their feelings and needs.
How these three short words can greatly help
If you are in conversation with someone, they might generally respond in the following ways…
• I SEE what you’re saying
• I HEAR what you’re saying
• I FEEL that…
Each of these words can be a clue to how that person understands or appreciates communication. Some people enjoy visual clues, clearly seeing what needs to be done, looking at information or examples. Others are better listeners than many, and like to be told, and converse about, the subject of the communication. A third respondent is much more concerned about the feelings involved in a situation, and both their own and often other people’s response to it.
Tailoring that empathetic conversation
Now, most people are not simply one of the three respondent types mentioned, but are likely to be a combination of all three. However, by listening for these and other verbal clues, you can start to understand their preference. From this, you are more able to build a communication process which is best suited for them.
Avoiding that old phrase
Which takes us back to the phrase mentioned at the start of this blog. Too many people, usually inadvertently, communicate using their preferred style. This means that, sub-consciously, they are expecting that process to be OK for those they are conversing with. Turning the situation around leads to responses such as: ‘You know, he really understood where I was coming from’ or ‘She saw exactly what I wanted’.
Now, that’s good to hear! Here at Frontline, we offer years of positive communication experience, through our passionate and dedicated team. So how can we help your call centre to truly excel in customer care, gaining trust and establishing rapport?