Our Innate ability for Customer Empathy
A great joy in developing Customer Empathy or
Personal Service is witnessing that your people already have the innate
ability to do this (i.e. to make your customers feel Extremely Good at a personal
And perhaps the greatest embarrassment is recognising that
they've been wishing to be allowed to do this all along, and realising that it may be your
Customer Service strategy that's been stopping them - by dictating to them precisely how to
So, primarily, it comes down to simply giving
them permission to do what they already know best.
Witnessing the release of this enormous untapped
potential in everyone, that’s available just for the asking, is simply amazing. At Friends
Provident, when we 'opened the cage doors' to let their people run
'free range', no training was required: we simply encouraged people to go wild and utilise and
develop those everyday social abilities that they all already have and love to use
(as we all do with our friends, say).
" So, with great courage, we opened the ‘cage doors’ and
encouraged our people out 'into the yard', to be their own natural selves. No more rules, no more
restrictions. We told them; ‘There are no scripts anymore. Think of your customers and shareholders as
you would a friend. Talk to customers with your own personality and in your own words.'
" I was there when we first did this, encouraging and convincing them that this was real and a good
idea, that it could and would work.
" But it surpassed even my expectations;
it was so good it turned out to be more like witnessing a historic event
(click here for full
David Bowen, Friends Provident
Ironically, these are often the very abilities we have generally asked people
NOT to use at work. In fact, we’ve often demanded that our wonderful people actually suppress these innate
human strengths, instilling the idea that it would be 'unprofessional' to use them with
We then attempt to supplant them
with artificial generic 'skills' and 'behaviours' of our own invention that rob people of their
individuality, their personality, their core humanity.
- Yet almost everyone can ‘do Empathy’ themselves,
whether it’s with customers or anyone else they interact with
- Almost everyone can be their own superstar; we just
haven’t asked them to yet
- Almost everyone can ‘Do It Themselves’, we just
have to ask them and then trust them.
This is a fun subject, and there's
much more to it - may I encourage you to contact me to talk more about