Charlotte Ward 0:14
Welcome to Episode Four of the Customer Support Leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward.
Our theme for this week is empathy. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic.
I’d like to welcome to the podcast today, my very good friend Craig Stoss. Craig, would you like to introduce yourself?
Craig Stoss 0:39
Hi, Charlotte. Thanks for having me. Yes. My name is Craig Stoss. I’m a senior customer experience leader, having been in support services and success for over 20 years. I love to share my insights on podcasts like these are through my writing, which can be found at www.stoss.ca.
Charlotte Ward 0:59
Perfect. Thank you. Okay, so Craig. topic for this week is empathy in customer support. I’m really interested to hear what your thoughts are on empathy and its value in support, its value in the service. I thought I’d also be interested to know if there was any thoughts you have around fostering empathy within the team and how you develop that and how you project that in your service.
Craig Stoss 1:29
Yeah, absolutely. My big take on empathy is that quite often within a support context, we we could we tell the customers how to contact us we set the rules for for how we want to be communicated with we give strict forms with drop down lists that’re really rigid and you know, do you Is this a billing question or, or is this a you know, a technical problem and, and even then breaking down technical problems and we start to frame the, the solutions in the format that WE want them as a support organisation, but I think that is a lack of empathy for the customer. Now quite often customers don’t know what the problem is they just know there’s a problem. They they in the world of IoT and mobile device and even in SAS to some degree. You know, the customer may not even be near a telephone or near their email, you think about a situation I was in where we’re there was an I had an IoT thermostat. And I had a problem with it. And I had to then go and get my laptop out. And I actually forgot my laptop at work that day. So I had to go and you know, find my cell phone and had to start typing into a form on a web web page on a cell phone, to be able to contact our support team when I was standing in front of a device connected directly to the company. Why couldn’t I have just touched a button and got connected to support somehow even if it’s just call me back, you know, it would have been much more easy than than having to find you know, and use the company’s way of contacting them. And so I think when it comes to offering the service, as you said, I would like all companies to kind of take that step back and think about where are your customers when they want to contact you? What are they doing? Are they on a web page, maybe use data to find out what web page they’re on when they when they have a problem, especially in the SAS world, or in the IoT world? Again, you’re constantly sending data back and forth, what buttons are they pressing, when errors appear? What what what parts of the app are failing more, or the device are failing more frequently than other parts and build your your empathetic support and your customer centric support around that as a concept. I feel like in the future of support, that’s going to be the people who win it win, win and lead the industry is where they can offer their customers support in that real time context where customers sit
Charlotte Ward 4:04
It really is context then, isn’t it?
Craig Stoss 4:06
Charlotte Ward 4:07
It’s about putting yourself in the customers shoes. I mean, from a point of view of empathy, we’re talking about that in kind of a intellectual, emotional way. But, but it makes sense that empathy really is entirely a matter of perspective. So as a service, that that’s the context that your customer is in at that point.
Craig Stoss 4:27
Absolutely. And I and I also, I also think the second part of that is to understand the customers perspective, when when you are having a conversation, whether it be through email or phone as well. So once you’ve identified where the problem is, and once you’ve allow them to contact you in a comfortable context, removing the effort to contact you, the next part is to figure out what their perspective is. And and I quite often I like to say that customers don’t need to have a solution they need to feel like they’ve been heard and that they’ve had a truthful and honest interaction and so the second part of empathy for me it with customers once you’ve started that conversation is not necessarily to to solve their problem at all costs and and and you know, customer’s always right attitude, it’s more of having that honest conversation, never lie to a customer – you’re almost always found out and it just makes the customer more angry. I’ve had customers disagree with a comment that I made or not like it, but very rarely do you have a customer call you on the conversation itself when it’s an honest and vulnerable conversation that you’re having with them. And and so if I think if you combine those two things, you know, letting the customer contact you on their terms, and then providing a honest truthful conversation throughout the course of the ticket. I feel like that’s providing that empathetic response to to to the customer.
Charlotte Ward 6:03
That’s it for today. You can find show notes over at customersupportleaders.com/4. I’ll see you next time.
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