Empathy in Business is Empathy in Action
By Andy Kocemba
I believe it is crucial to have empathy in business, so much so that it has become one of the core values of my company. While the dictionary simply defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others,” I believe empathy in business is more than that. In addition to understanding and sharing feelings, I believe business empathy requires action. Take a deeper look into how your actions may affect another person's feelings, and consider what your organization can do to create the most positive feelings possible. It’s one thing in life to relate to and understand another person’s feelings, but quite another to acknowledge your role and ability to influence those feelings.
Here are two key points I always try to remember:
- You’re the expert, the client is not. - You know your business inside and out. You know the terms, the acronyms, the numbers, and the pitfalls. You’ve been trained and you’ve studied. When people come to you for your expertise, the only logical reason is they have none, and they value yours.
- You’ve got experience, the client does not. - You’ve been there and done that. You know where a client’s journey will start, and you can foresee the end goal. It’s all too easy for the experienced expert to hit the ground running and never look back, even when the client may have fallen miles behind.
So, how can you show empathy in business? Here are the easy steps we take at Calhoun Companies:
- Explain Yourself - We know that clients will be put at ease if they understand what our agents are doing. We avoid using the industry-specific acronyms we each know and love. We clearly walk clients through the steps and processes we have refined over time. We give them our full attention. And, we do it all in a way that shows value and is never condescending.
- Slow Down - We make sure to give clients time to catch up. Everything they are seeing is new, and they are moving slowly. Society often talks about “hand-holding” as if it’s a bad thing. “It was rough, the deal took a lot of hand-holding”. Baloney! Remember the tenderness and connection you felt as you held your kids’ hand as they learn to walk? What if we offered our clients that level of care and connection?
The bottom line is that when you take responsibility for the role you play in clients' emotions, they will have a better experience, while your reputation and productivity grows.
- Considering the feelings of your clients will make your business stronger by building your reputation and productivity.
- While something may be the same-old, same-old to you, it may be the first time your client is going through the process.
- Encourage your client to be a part of the process and don't leave them behind.