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Listening: Three Shifts You Can Make to Connect and Build Empathy with your Customer


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My presentation at Big Design Dallas 2018. It overs the topic of listening, empathy, and compassion for customer experiences.

Published in: Design
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Listening: Three Shifts You Can Make to Connect and Build Empathy with your Customer

  1. 1. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Listening:Three ShiftsYou Can Make to Connect and Build Empathy with your Customer Mary Brodie, Gearmark Sept 21, 2018 Big Desgin Dallas
  2. 2. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie
  3. 3. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Listen to words. Listen to actions. Listen to behaviors.
  4. 4. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie What we will accomplish today I’ll share “how to” tips: • Become a better listener • Expand your definition of listening • Build empathy through conversations How will this help you? • Design better conversations and customers experiences • Improve your company’s customer relationships • Help you make your company more money
  5. 5. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie
  6. 6. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie
  7. 7. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie
  8. 8. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Lynn Borton
  9. 9. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie JulianTreasure
  10. 10. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie How we learn to communicate today WritingReading Speaking Listening Julian Treasure, presentation at a virtual Rosenfeld Conference.
  11. 11. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie
  12. 12. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Without curiosity or enjoyment, we’re only hearing to obey.
  13. 13. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie 7Types of Listening Type of listening Description Listening to respond Determine your response while the speaker is speaking Listening to understand Focus on understanding what the speaker is trying to communicate Active Focus on what the speaker is saying Provide verbal and other physical cues to indicate listening is happening (and hopefully improve your own listening) Appreciative Focus on the speaker to enjoy the story, music, or information being communicated Critical Analyze what the speaker is saying and determine his agenda Relationship (Therapeutic or empathetic listening; listening to understand) Provide emotional support, build trust for open communication Discriminative Look past the words you hear to detect the underlying message
  14. 14. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie If we need to take formal grammar classes to speak and write English well…. …shouldn’t that logic follow for listening?
  15. 15. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Ways to be a better listener… RASA Sanskrit: juice or essence Receive Appreciate Summary Ask HARAH Humility Awareness Respect Attention Humor The 4Cs Commitment Consciousness Compassion Curiosity
  16. 16. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie My 3 Lessons from JulianTreasure Lesson #1 Don’t assume that we all listen the same way and have the same listening experience. Lesson #2 You can’t control the information you get from someone else. Lesson #3 Communication is personal and messy and involves interaction with others.
  17. 17. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie SherryTurkle
  18. 18. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Actions orWords or Both? Which is more meaningful to the person and to you?
  19. 19. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie A conversation is really an interaction between two people or entities that builds a relationship.
  20. 20. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Our customer’s communication comes through metrics and results. That’s why we should approach them with curiosity – it’s a way for us to listen.
  21. 21. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Do your employees love your customers?
  22. 22. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie 4Type of Emotional Expressions Pity/Contempt Sympathy Empathy Compassion So sad. I’m sorry you are sad and going through a difficult time. I can feel your sadness and understand why you feel that way. I can feel your sadness, understand it, and want to help you fix it.
  23. 23. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie From pity to compassion Qualities Pity Sympathy Empathy Compassion Thoughts while feeling the emotion “That’s sad.” “I’m sorry you are sad and going through a difficult time.” “I can feel your sadness and understand why you feel that way.” “I can feel your sadness, understand it, and want to help you fix it.” How sadness is experienced Condescension and contempt Shifts to reflecting on life Simply understood Understood and a motivation to find a solution emerges Connection between employee and customer None. Don’t see anything shared in common. Little shared in common. Limited connection. Shared experiences. Shared experiences. Know a solution is possible. How employees view customers Objectify them There is a detached perspective There is a connection Humanize others How the employees feel about the customers Feel subtle contempt for them Respect them Respect them Love them The employees believe that the customers got into this situation… It was self-inflicted (consciously or sub- consciously) A situation happened and the result was this current experience. Decisions were made – they are where they are now. It doesn’t really matter how; we need to fix it. Do employees believe that customers can solve their problems? Nope. Not really. Sure, they will. They will find a way. They will find a way to solve their problem. Yes – let’s collaborate to solve the problem.
  24. 24. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Empathy: “the act of coming to experience the world as you think someone else does”
  25. 25. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie 3Types of Empathy Emotional empathy Literally feeling another's emotions. Compassionate empathy Recognize another's emotional state, feel in tune with it, and if it is a distressful emotion, feel and show appropriate concern. Cognitive empathy See things from another's point of view by putting yourself in someone else's shoes.
  26. 26. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie “The more empathetic managers were, the more they used their personal preferences to predict what customers would want. Another key finding that should get people’s attention is that the more empathetic the managers were, the more they ignored the market research on customers that we provided them.” Johannes Hattula and his coresearchers Walter Herzog, Darren Dahl, and Sven Reinecke Imperial College’s “PuttingYourself in the Customer’s Shoes Doesn’t Work:An Interview with Johannes Hattul,a” HBR
  27. 27. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Paul Bloom
  28. 28. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Empathy helps us understand what someone is feeling and thinking and gain insight into his or her motivations. Compassion gives us the distance to help them solve their problem.
  29. 29. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Lynn E. O’Connor & JackW. Berry: “We can’t feel compassion without first feeling emotional empathy. Indeed compassion is the extension of emotional empathy by means of cognitive processes.” Against Empathy, Paul Bloom
  30. 30. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie My definition of empathy: an attempt at understanding someone else’s emotional situation by relating through a similar physical and emotional event that occurred in their own life
  31. 31. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Process to design with empathy Step 1: Learning Research and understand your audience. Step 2: Discovery Identify the emotional issue. Step 3: Insights Find a connection to what your customers are experiencing. Step 4: Solution Determine actionable ways to connect to customers to solve their problem.
  32. 32. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Example: Health Insurance Step 1: Learning Most consumers are petrified of health insurance. Step 2: Discovery Extreme fear and anger around the insurance business creates confusion. Step 3: Insights Participating in a system without knowing the rules could endanger their well-being. Step 4: Solution Help customers understand insurance as a system – explain why they need it and how it works.
  33. 33. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Ways insurance managers could help customers overcome fear and anger Education builds trust with customers, reduces anger and frustration, and removes mystery, which causes the fear. Explain how insurance works and healthcare legislation in plain English. Explain why people need health insurance to alleviate fear. Provide tips for what they should be looking for in a plan.
  34. 34. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Example: Flash Storage for IT Professionals
  35. 35. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Who are IT professionals? They don’t get the credit they deserve. They have high risk jobs. IT is overhead - costs are always a factor in any decision. They are a logical group. They care about the business impact of new technologies and shy away from “science fair experiments.” They consider compatibility, ease of use, installation, maintenance – and of course time and cost.
  36. 36. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Example: Confusion about flash technology and its business benefits Step 1: Learning IT professionals believed a lot of myths about the technology. Step 2: Discovery Embarrassment by not understanding a technology that they knew they should know. Step 3: Insights Provide education that wasn’t intimidating or call them out for not understanding. Step 4: Solution Video: a casual conversation about what Flash technology is, how it works, and its business benefits.
  37. 37. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Example: Unclear what to look for when they were going to buy a flash storage server Step 1: Learning Confusing market with many solutions. Hard to know who to trust. Step 2: Discovery Insecurity and fear about choosing the right solution. So many options, so much risk. Step 3: Insights Looking for a leader to provide guidance as to what to look for in a solution. Step 4: Solution Book: flash buyer’s guide outlines factors to consider when buying flash storage.
  38. 38. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Measure empathy and compassion? Category Description Engagement • Demonstrate that you can hold a conversation with your customer and connect to them in some way • Build connections on social media: like, share, or comment • Build relationships: click through a link to your site and keep interacting through chat or phone Loyalty • Repeat buyers and visitors • Track your customers end-to-end – who consistently read emails, click to articles, use the product, provide great reviews and recommendations Accountability • Includes product reviews that validate messaging about the problem you solve and how you solve it Brand and Reputation • Net promoter score • Leverage accountability for reputation • Traditional brand recall metrics
  39. 39. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie What did we discuss today? #1 There are many types of listening (actually, 7 types) but to be a great listener, you need to be: • Curious • Present • Have no expectations • Acknowledge the relationships are built on conversations #2 Listening isn’t just hearing words – it includes observing actions Actions speak louder than words #3 Empathy will help us understand someone else, but we need to share a similar life experience to become compassionate
  40. 40. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie Don’t be like the managers from the study who think they are empathetic because they think they know their customers. Connect to what your customers are feeling. Relate emotionally through a similar physical and emotional events that occurred in your life.
  41. 41. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie All relationships are based on listening. Your best source of listening is to use the data footprint your customers leave behind. Start there, and the rest will follow.
  42. 42. @mfbrodie Mary Brodie How to contact me: Gearmark’s site: @mfbrodie My site: @gearmark_cx