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Sorry Isn’t Enough—How Empathy & Education Drive Service Results

You order clothes online, but the companies’ sizing chart isn’t always accurate. Their support team offers refunds and free returns for the clothes that don’t fit—but have they really solved your problem? 

When a customer engages a support team, they want a real human connection that leads to instant resolution to their problem. But too many customers reach support teams only to be presented with a wall—a generic response that stops their queries short of any real result. 

As support organizations grow, they must deliver accurate responses and consistent results to maintain high customer satisfaction levels (CSATs). The only way to scale support teams is by using templates or macro responses. The challenge is that they often sound rigid and robotic. 

In lieu of  poorly designed templates, these support teams often reply with an apology and an attempt to placate the customer in other ways—refunds, credits, and so on. But your customers rely on your product or service, and sometimes a “Sorry!” won’t cut it. 

The Difference Between Mistakes & Misunderstandings 

There are thousands of ways to qualify customer queries. For the sake of this argument, we’ve separated them into two categories—(1) the customer believes your team has made a mistake, and (2) the customer simply needs to better understand your product or service. 

When faced with the first category the corrective response can be simple, assuming the mistake is genuine. Your company’s mistakes can be resolved, even if it means a replacement, adjustment, or expedited service. These resolutions can be documented and templated. In this case, a “Sorry!” might be appropriate. 

This is an important function of your support team. It’s also the easiest. Your team’s real test is their responses in the second category.

Here's a fun example of an email I just received from a local company known for their subscription-based meal service.

Empathy & Education Drive Service Results 

A typical response is apologetic. But an apology isn’t appropriate for issues unrelated to your company’s mistakes. Customers who simply don’t understand your product or service won’t get far with an apology, refund, or replacement. 

Your support reps must start with empathy, not an apology. They must position themselves as subject-matter experts on each particular problem if the customer simply fails to understand something. And remember, customers don’t want ‘workarounds’; they want to know your product or service works specifically for their needs. Service reps should consider the following techniques: 

  1. Make your first touch human. Each rep must be prepared to leverage inside information to provide customers with unique, personalized resolutions. Even when the basic issue is familiar, the rep must avoid rigidity and deliver true empathy and alignment with the customer’s situation. 

  2. Set clear expectations for a resolution. As a subject-matter expert, each rep can take a helpful, educational approach to engagement. They must start with a ‘Thank You!’ for reaching out, followed by expressing familiarity with the issue at hand. Each service rep can leverage internal resources to educate the customer about the “why’s” behind the product or service and how they will help solve the customer’s problem. 

  3. Deliver a crisp resolution to those expectations. The customer will realize that you’ve helped them understand something truly great about your product or service. When executed correctly this will drive confidence and satisfaction. Reps should share a summary of the issue and how it was resolved before closing the engagement. 

  4. Express gratitude for feedback and show how it has delivered change in the organization.You have a symbiotic relationship with your customers. They appreciate adding value just as you appreciate giving it to them. Customers who have found value in your resolution might want you to leverage that experience to resolve your future customer issues. You might even use it to improve a product or service. Consider letting customers know when their feedback is integrated and really delight them. 

Here are some examples of how Groove, a support software company, responds to their customer queries with empathy, sincerity, and a bit of humor.  

Our AI Supports Genuine Human Connections 

AI solutions from AnswerIQ help you take your first big step towards leveraging templates at scale with personalized touch. Our technology analyzes your past tickets, identifies patterns, and recommends ideal responses to customer complaints. Rather than a rigid template, AnswerIQ arms your reps with inside information so they can focus on personalizing all their customer engagements. 

You’ll remove the rigidity from your processes and optimize every one of your engagements at the same time. There’s no hassle getting started—Sign up for a free 30-day demo today. 

Topics: Customer Support, Artificial Intelligence, AnswerIQ

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