Marketers Focus on Empathy to Improve the Customer Experience

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Marketers know the cost of acquiring a new customer exceeds the cost of keeping an existing customer happy and loyal. One way to improve loyalty is to emphasize the customer experience.  The Temkin Group believes 2014 could be the Year of Empathy if surveyformmarketers strive to enhance the customer experience by listening to consumers and trying to anticipate their needs.

In identifying the best customer experience trends for the upcoming year, the Temkin Group came up with a list of 14 key factors. The firm’s analysts dole out plenty of advice for collecting information by using surveys. They contend that only 20% of enterprises are actually using this feedback to make meaningful changes. Those that do rely “more on topic-specific surveys and text analytics of unstructured content like comments on surveys, calls into the contact center, social media conversations, and chat sessions with agents.” Why? Because an enterprise that truly wants to succeed will listen to the unsolicited information customers are offering instead of merely depending on a closed feedback loop. When a customer takes the time to offer free-form feedback, the information may be unique, valuable and outside the box that the senior management has set up to stay focused on the goals they’ve established. Accepting and using free-form feedback from the customer may result in defining new goals. This is certain to result in extra work but enterprises may be rewarded with more business.

Another key way to improve the customer experience is to use information to anticipate need. Every instance of a customer reaching out to a marketer provides opportunity to strengthen the relationship and increase sales. Analysts recommend training call center staff to understand which script they should use in each instance.  In order to carry out this task properly, enterprises will be investing in Customer Journey Mapping tools. The era of Big Data allows for personalized service when customers make contact. It’s up to enterprises to feed this data into the CRM and CJM systems and assign the front-line staff members with the task of ”anticipating a customer’s needs/interests/emotional style” and then to come up with a satisfactory solution quickly.

Read the rest of the Temkin’s Group list here. Do you think they’ve identified the best ways for an enterprise to show empathy for its customers? Are there others you’d add to this list?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.