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65% of CX leaders admit their organizations don’t measure empathy

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65% of CX leaders admit their organizations don’t measure empathy

Alida Bodine & Co CXPA empathy CX

The ability to understand and share the feeling of another may offer valuable insight to form customer experience strategies, but the majority of in-house practitioners say their company isn’t actively tracking how empathy is used, according to recent research published by Alida.

Based in Toronto and formerly known as Vision Critical, Alida partnered with Bodine & Co., and the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) for its study Empathy in Action: The Business Value of Customer Empathy. The research is based on a survey of close to  200 CX practitioners. This includes those working-in house and consultants.

Among the main findings was a disconnect between those championing or leading CX initiatives and the wider organization. The vast majority of 91 per cent, for instance, said they felt empathy is necessary or helpful to improve CX. However only 36 per cent of those surveyed said they feel their organization has the same view.

This might suggest it’s up to CX practitioners to help raise awareness about the power of empathy and how it could transform relationships with customers. However just over half said they felt they were effective at doing so with executives, middle managers or staff groups.

Measuring the results of empathy on CX, meanwhile, means being able to translate how employees use it to organizational goals or KPIs. Those surveyed suggested this was difficult as well. For example, while one in five said it was “easy” to connect empathy with customer loyalty, the score was much lower for areas such as conversion rate, share of wallet cost savings or EBITDA.

“For customer empathy to take hold as a boardroom-accepted driver of business outcomes, companies must balance the feelings evoked through customer insights with the actions colleagues can take for both improving the customer experience and driving business results,” the report’s authors wrote. “Empathy is, in fact, a critical ingredient in the development of successful and profitable customer experiences when balanced with a bias to action.”

360 Magazine Insight

Besides making its a company-wide priority, the other two biggest impediments to applying empathy in CX were making customer insights actionable to employees and using empathy to create a deep understanding of customers.

To address this, the latter part of the report offers a highly practical approach based on what the authors call “empathy-to-action pivots.” This could include having the CX team “priming their brain” or solidifying how they expect customers to behave in a given situation before conducting observational research. Another idea was to create “sizzle reel” videos which are prefaced by the business problem being explored, followed by a clip of customers bringing their feedback to life.

It should be noted that despite Alida’s involvement, and despite the tools it offers to help conduct customer research, its solutions are not directly mentioned or pitched as part of “The Solution” section and are only described on the last page.

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One area that is not touched upon and might deserve further study is the difference in effectively using empathy in CX when the experience is primarily digital. Physical interactions, such as those in stores, often rely on retail staff to act in empathetic ways, but many firms probably need to design more empathy into the chatbots, social media accounts and even the FAQ pages of their web site.

 

 

 

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