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How to grow your business by increasing empathy for your customers

Written by Russell Cragun on June 16, 2016 in Strategies & Tips
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When starting a business there is a common concern on every entrepreneur’s mind: how to make money. This thought is totally normal, and is critical to address to have a successful store. You just can’t run a store for free. Another common concern is attracting customers. For one thing, it can be hard to find customers in general, and then it can be hard to keep them in mind when you’re looking at maximizing your profits. However, treating your customers well and making a profit go hand in hand. You need to take your customer’s feelings and experiences seriously and provide a pleasant purchasing journey.

Almost every large company has board members, directors, department managers, and other positions that, when working together, help the company thrive. However, all of these departments have different objectives and it can be difficult to inspire employees to work together. For example, a sales department may have different objectives than the customer support team. When all departments have a common goal, then they can help each other function more efficiently. For most start-ups, you won’t have a company board or different departments focused on helping with the various aspects of running a business. You are the business, and you’ll be making all the decisions. Some of the moves you make could really hurt your business, and you won’t realize the mistake until after it has been made. That is why it’s critical to put customers first and think about how they would like to be treated. Companies that have outstanding customer support see a rise in returning customers, and tend to grow quicker. Some of the companies leading the way in customer support are Amazon, Chic-Fil-A, Costco, and Apple. explained how Amazon wins over its customers.

Amazon is so customer focused that it will literally send you a replacement for a lost package immediately without ever implying that the customer is at fault. The result is a consumer experience that is so optimal that Amazon is the only place where many consumers decide to shop online.

Now, not everyone can afford to start sending replacement packages for every lost order, but there are some other tactics you can implement to increase company empathy towards your customers to improve their shopping experience.

Listen to your customers

Find out what is troubling the customer, and decide what you can do to fix it. Many times a customer is angry because they don’t fully understand a situation. In this instance you can explain the situation to the customer by reaching out to them via social media, email, chat, or phone. When responding to customers through email, make sure that the email is not passive aggressive and that you set the empathic tone early. Don’t give the customer a reason to think they are a thorn in your side. Sincerely listen to their problems, and understand why they are contacting you.

Apologize to the customer

This is a simple step to ensure them that you care. Almost every company has a script for their representatives to say something like, “I’m sorry you are having problems, how can I help” or, “I’m sorry that we are out of this product, we can let you know when they are back in stock.” By doing this you are showing empathy, and are willing to look for a solution.

Be ready to help

After you have listened to your customer and offered them condolences for their problems, it’s time to find a way to help them. It’s critical that you go the extra mile to make them feel valuable and appreciated. Sometimes, a customer might have a problem that you can’t solve. To make them feel better, you can offer them a discount on their next purchase, or free shipping. By doing something like this you can increase the likelihood of developing repeat customers. Even if this technique costs you a couple extra dollars, it’s important to leave the customer with a positive experience.

Always be smiling 

Regardless how much you follow the previous steps, you might just get a sour apple. There are some customers that are just looking to cause havoc. In this case it’s important to always be nice and kind to these people, regardless how hard it might be. If you have a moment where you unleash your true feelings on a customer it could be result of future negative reviews on your site.

Improve your services

The best way to improve your services is to ask the customers how their experience was. If you have ever placed a personal customer support call, then you know that some of the time you are asked to fill out a survey after the call. Some companies ask you to fill out surveys via email after a chat session or purchase. These companies are looking to improve themselves, and ensure that your next experience will be better than the previous. This might be a method worth  implementing in your own customer service department, and it will help you show empathy towards customers by wanting to improve yourself. There are plenty of free and inexpensive ways to run surveys, and they will help you decide the right path to take to ensure happier customers.

Best of luck out there and don’t forget to subscribe to the Doba blog for all the latest and greatest on ecommerce and dropshipping.

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