Empathy is the concept of recognizing and relating to other people’s emotions and perspectives. In business settings, empathy can be difficult to maintain, as completing tasks and projects usually overshadows people’s personal needs. However, integrating empathy into daily business activities has many benefits for employees, clients and customers.
There are three types of empathy – cognitive, emotional and compassionate. Cognitive empathy is being aware of the emotional states of others. Emotional empathy is engaging and sharing our own emotions with others. With compassionate empathy, we take action to support others emotionally. Each of these can be applied to business settings and building strong relationships with customers starts with recognizing where empathy can be improved.
Here are a few simple tips to incorporate empathy into business communication:
- Connect from within. For a successful, empathetic business, having genuine connections within your company is integral to forming bonds with customers. Customers value authenticity, and can sense when employees are genuinely happy and satisfied in their work environment. Leaders can help each employee understand the company’s mission and how each employee has a part to play in helping succeed in that way, creating a sense of purpose.
- Ask for feedback. Asking for feedback from both employees and customers can increase transparency and make everyone feel like their voice is heard. This can be done through questionnaires, surveys or regular check-ins with team members and past customers. Don’t be defensive when receiving negative feedback, rather, try and learn from others’ perspectives. People’s beliefs and personal lives have an impact on how they think, so understanding the basics of who they are can help minimize conflict.
- Give your full attention. Active listening goes a long way in building empathy and understanding. Take in what your customers are telling you, make them feel heard and pay attention to body language and tone to understand them on a deeper level. When customers feel like you are actually hearing their needs and concerns, and then receive a thoughtful response, they are more likely to continue to open up.
- Understand different communication styles. Your employees and customers are likely a mix of introverts and extroverts, all of whom have different communication styles and environments that they thrive in. Some people may feel more comfortable opening up in one-on-one settings, while some prefer group meetings where they can feed off of other people’s energy. Having a variety of methods for customers to reach out and give their feedback will make each customer feel valued and like they have personalized options to interact with your company.
Increasing empathy in business communication helps everyone involved, from employee to customer. It’s important to promote empathy both between levels of leadership and also within teams to increase overall trust. If you’re looking for additional help implementing empathy into your business, rAVe [STORYTELLING] has proven success in improving communication strategies for companies in the AV industry.