FACILITATION NOTES: Use personal anecdotes to illustrate points whenever possible. Sample anecdotes provided. Your personal examples will sound more convincing.
TRANSITION:Let’s review the FCA way of handling calls.
PRESENT:AER and the ISMs drive our call handling.
EMPHASIZE:Being empathetic is part of the FCA way. It’s the “E” in AER. AERs: Acknowledging is confirming understanding of the customer’s situation. Empathy is feeling what the customer feels about the situation. Reassuring is affirming that the customer has called the right person for help.
ISMs: First things first—take your cues for prioritization from the customer Make it easy—take actions you can to save the customer steps Keep commitments—communicate and live up to follow up dates Affirmative always—communicate using positive language. Focus on “I can” rather than “I can’t” Reaffirm purchase decision—remind the customer that we appreciate the business and that they like the vehicle
TRANSITION:To some people, empathy and sympathy are interchangeable concepts, but there is a difference.
Let’s watch a short video that dramatizes the difference between empathy and sympathy.
TIME: 5 minutes
PRESENT:Now we will watch a video that explains the difference between empathy and sympathy. Take notes on any ideas that resonate with you, and pay close attention to the presenter’s explanation of how empathy differs from sympathy.
TRANSITION: Now, let’s talk about your reaction to the video.
NOTES:The video describes the difference between sympathy and empathy, advocating that while empathy takes more work, it’s worth it. Empathy drives connection with others because we have to be in a vulnerable place to empathize with another person.
It shows how sympathy can seem trite and how it can drive disconnection.
It also highlights how empathy rarely begins with an “At least” statement, e.g. “I hate my job.” “At least you have a job.” Use these points to drive the conversation on the next slide.
PRESENT: Slide content
EMPHASIZE:Empathy and sympathy are different reactions. Empathy takes more effort. You have to share in the feeling with the customer, it requires you to connect with a the same feeling within yourself. Sympathy can be as simple as a statement. It can be dismissed by customers if used insincerely or inappropriately.
Our desire to problem-solve or “silver-line” situations can have the opposite effect on our customers. Customers are seeking confirmation that we appreciate and understand their feelings about the situation they are in.
Apologies carry less meaning the more often they are repeated.
An empathetic, rather than sympathetic, response is the key to building customer relationships and earning continued business.
TRANSITION:Now, let’s look at a blueprint for being empathetic toward customers.
PRESENT: Slide content
EMPHASIZE: 1. When most of us call a customer relations department, our basic expectation is that our concern will be resolved. Solving a problem is not creating an experience. It is the bare minimum we expect to happen.
2. Acknowledging the meaning of the situation for the customer is one way to truly deliver an experience.
3. Start with the mindset that customers always mention information or feelings for a reason—they want you to respond in an appropriate fashion.
Remember that judgmental thoughts and actions do not enhance your ability to provide a good experience.
Don’t concern yourself with whether or not what has happened seems like a problem to you; just seek to understand and respond to the customer’s situation. If the customer has taken the time to contact us, we must take the concern seriously and help however possible.
Don’t let your personal feelings about the situation get in the way of serving the people who drive us.
EXERCISE:Practicing empathetic statements.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLASS: Participants are given one or two cards with a statement. Some statements are positive, some are negative. The participants get to choose how the message is delivered (i.e. tone of voice). They read the statement to a partner, who provides an empathetic response. The partner reads his/her statement and receives a response.
Remember to respond to the words and the tone of the message. Do not attempt to solve the customer’s problem. Focus on creating an empathetic connection.
DEMONSTRATE: Have a participant respond to instructor, who will provide the following sample empathy statement:
My daughter’s last soccer game of the season was last night, and I got stranded on the side of the road and missed the whole thing! She scored the winning goal.
Sample answers: The participant should acknowledge the frustration of missing an important event and also the excitement of knowing that the daughter won the game.
DISCUSS: Slide content.
NOTES:Some may say it was hard to avoid jumping into problem-solving. Emphasize that it is important to take the time to show empathy; without it, there is no experience, only a service.
Some may express that it was hard to respond to the situation. Emphasize that many times we have firsthand experience to draw upon (e.g. a car repair, a poor sales experience, etc.). For those other times, try to imagine yourself in the situation and how you would feel. Either way, it’s important that there is a response. Not responding can make the customer feel as though you weren’t listening or that you don’t care.
Remember, empathy is about responding to how the customer feels about the situation. In order to do it well, we must connect with the feeling the customer expresses and feel it, too.
PRESENT: Slide content.
EMPHASIZE:Our interactions will drive customers toward us or away from us. It is up to you to decide which direction they are driving.
The stronger the relationships we build with customers, the more likely we are to keep them as customers and hopefully fans who will speak highly of us to their friends, family, co-workers, etc.
You’ll see and hear the results in your conversations with customers.
NOTES:Challenge: Use one acknowledging or empathetic statement with every customer you speak to. Take note of any changes you notice in your conversations.
October 5, 2015
The Power of Empathy in
Training and Knowledge Management
October 5, 2015
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Review: The FCA Way
Understand and explain the difference between sympathy and empathy
List key actions that drive empathy on calls
Practice using empathy in conversations
Review: The FCA Way
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Acknowledge what the customers say
Empathize with their emotional state
Reassure the customers that you can and will take care of them
First things first
Make it easy
Affirmative always. Yes before no
Reaffirm the customer’s purchase decision
Video: Empathy and Sympathy
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How does the difference between sympathy and empathy resonate with
How does sympathy sound on a call? Empathy?
How do you feel when someone offers sympathy? Empathy? Why?
How do “at least” statements make you feel?
A Blueprint for Empathy
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Start with these basic assumptions:
1. When a customer buys one of our products, we are automatically
responsible for their experience, now and later
● Providing a satisfactory experience is critical to creating FCA fans who stay with
us and influence future sales from others
2. Seek to understand first, then problem solve
● Customers expect that you will resolve their concerns
● Show that you understand their experiences to provide a stronger customer
3. When a customer shares information, there is an expectation that we will
● Offer an appropriate response to the information shared, whether it is good news
or bad news
● If it’s a big deal to the customer, it becomes a big deal to us.
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You will be provided with a card that has a statement on it
Say the statement to your partner in the tone of your choice
Your partner will respond with an empathy statement
● Remember, do not focus on the problem, focus on the customer’s experience
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Was it easy to respond to the information shared?
Was it difficult to avoid jumping to problem-solving?
How did you feel when your partner responded to your statement?
The Challenge: Empathy in Action
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As you leave today, challenge yourself to:
● Consider the customers’ situations as they see them
● Acknowledge customers’ feelings with an empathetic statement every time
● Make a personal connection on every call with every customer