Guest Blog: Empathy – What Your Customer Service Strategy Is Missing

By Tim Fujita-Yuhas for Shep Hyken

This week we feature an article by Tim Fujita-Yuhas that discusses the importance of empathy when using new technology for customer service. He looks at the next generation of texting, known as RCS (Rich Communication Services), which I think will become a very valuable tool. – Shep Hyken

When the topic of customer service comes up, the most common associations aren’t typically positive ones.  People’s minds wander towards automated voice messaging systems, long hold times, or in today’s day and age, chatting in an online forum with a virtual assistant who, if we’re being honest, really doesn’t understand what you want, how you want it, or when you need it.

Over the years, brands have experimented with a variety of methods to most effectively serve their customers. From contact centers to email marketing campaigns, we’ve seen it all. But when it comes to reaching your customers at exact moments on the precise channel, email and voice have failed to meet customer expectations. In fact, they’ve frankly come across as cold and impersonal, leaving customers often asking themselves, “Do they even care about keeping my business?” With the majority of Americans now owning a mobile device, what better way to stay in touch and relevant to your customers than texting them? By incorporating a text messaging strategy into your customer experience strategy, you’ll never miss an opportunity to connect on a personal level with a customer again.

While customer service strategies are constantly in flux with evolving trends and technological innovations, one foundational aspect remains at the core of every successful plan: Empathy. Empathy isn’t restricted to its dictionary definition as the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It’s much more than that, especially in the customer service realm. Incorporating empathy into the business world shows that you and your brand care about your customers on a personalized level, and you prioritize methodical and timely interactions. A company that has effectively adapted an empathy-first strategy when caring for their customers is not only able to accurately predict their needs, but they’re consistently a few steps ahead, enabling them to conveniently be in the palm of their customer’s hand when they’re most needed.

Often mistaken as a traditional, or outdated form of communication, text messaging is, in fact, one of the most ubiquitous, personal, and efficient methods used to reach a target audience. With nearly 5 billion people using text messaging, and 90 percent of text messages read upon receipt, it’s no wonder customer-centric companies have adopted this method to deliver a top-notch experience for their customers. With the next evolution of texting, also known as RCS (Rich Communication Services) right around the corner, companies will have an even more powerful way to reach customers through a genuine and intuitive empathetic interaction.

Still in its infancy, RCS is primed to significantly improve the customer experience. For instance, in the hospitality industry, hotels can adopt RCS messaging to boost brand loyalty by offering customers with a hyper-personalized check-in experience all from their messaging inbox. Upon check-in, hotel guests will receive automated confirmations, access to room numbers, pertinent front desk information, and details of their stay. What’s more, the key features of RCS extend even further; ensuring customers are taken care of every step of the way. For example, guests can plan ahead by activating weather updates, getting maps to tourist destinations in the area, and making restaurant reservations and reviews, all from the palm of their hand. With the help of RCS, an enhanced text messaging experience is tailored to their specific journey. To successfully join the ranks of the ever-growing list of companies entering the business of empathy, the adoption of an SMS-based customer service plan (and soon its next evolution, RCS) is key.

Long story short: Texting provides a way for your brand to tap into the business of empathy, and to remain at the pulse of your customer’s every need.

Tim Fujita-Yuhas serves as Director of Product Management and New Product Strategy for OpenMarket’s Mobile Engagement Platform, specializing in enterprise mobile engagement services. He is responsible for product strategy and business planning for the company’s mobile messaging solutions. 

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.