By Oisin Lunny for CX Magazine
Now that we’re well acquainted with the ‘Age of Empathy‘, let’s dive into what this means for brands.
According to Belinda Parmar, founder of The Empathy Business, recent findings by the 2016 Empathy Index reveal that empathy is “more important to a successful business than it has ever been.”
In addition to the financial benefits businesses can reap through the incorporation of empathy in customer interactions, they can leverage an empathetic mindset to win over customers as well.
We know brands want to better interact with customers in order to deliver the best overall experience, but the question is, how do they do it? Customer-obsessed brands use smart tools to close the brand-to-customer “empathy gap,” all the while delivering an optimal, personalised experience.
Are brands embracing empathy?
Successful brands know that when it comes to winning and retaining customers, personalisation is key. But there’s a massive difference between a brand that personalises, and one that is personal.
Personal brand interactions thrive because they’re in touch with a customer’s thoughts, emotions, and decisions, enabling them to be there when they’re needed most. If a brand can be a constant problem-solver for customers when it counts, it earns itself loyalty and advocacy in return.
Outdated customer service strategies such as automated voice systems and emails that result in spam may have been great for their time, but they fail to keep up with today’s consumer. Brands that are tapped into modern needs take advantage of the simple, yet effective text message. With 4.8 billion people using SMS, the power cannot be overlooked when delivering empathetic, grade-A customer engagement.
Empathy in action
One brand which is harnessing the power of SMS to show customers it cares is Club Mahindra, owner of 40-plus luxury resorts in India and across the world.
Club Mahindra is the epitome of a customer-obsessed brand. It strives to consistently provide unforgettable holiday experiences for each and every one of its 200,000 members.
The Club Mahindra team found that the most crucial time to ask for feedback from its customers was within 30-minutes of check out, when their memories are fresh and their smartphones are near. What better way to reach them in this golden moment than with an immediate and convenient SMS. Via text? Club Mahindra’s response rates skyrocketed – 140 percent to be exact.
The benefits illustrated in this use case exemplify the two-fold benefits of Empathetic Interactions through texting. Not only do Club Mahindra’s customers get their needs met within a single moment, but the company has a chance to respond immediately to feedback, which ultimately leads to a stronger bond between the company and its customers.
Engagement through the empathy lens
Club Mahindra is just one of thousands of use cases that highlight the success of SMS – countless banks use SMS to secure online banking transactions and alert customers about potential vulnerabilities and fraud. Airlines use them to send pertinent travel alerts, and logistics companies use them to arrange deliveries and ensure items are received.
Companies that view customer engagement through the empathy lens have turned to SMS-based alerts to keep in touch and ensure their customers are getting what they need, when they need it. If a brand is there for their customers when it counts, it can get enormous benefits, like increased customer loyalty and brand advocacy, in return.
Getting empathy right
In today’s digital era, surveys show a disconnect between what customers want, and what brands offer. In fact, according to Accenture Strategy’s Global Consumer Pulse Research, the overreliance on digital, impersonal customer services are actually pushing customers away.
This is where Empathetic Interactions come in. As consumers continue to be on the move, texting will be a driving force that unites and personalises how brands engage with their customers. Now is the time for every business to seize the opportunity to surprise and delight customers through exceptional experiences.