The vital importance of empathy and kindness to customer experience design and employee engagement

How far can you get in cultivating enduring customer relationships, delightful customer experiences, and ‘employee engagement’ without empathy?

What kind of world shows up when we put aside empathy?  What kind of world shows up when we put aside kindness?  The kind of world that arose as a direct result of the ‘age of machines’ – of the Industrial Revolution.  When our way of life is centred on and around machines, we worship machines, and we go about life asking and expecting one another to be-act like machines.  We have become great at showing up in the world as machines. And as result we have lost sight of kindness, generosity, empathy.

Why do I bring this up?  Because it occurs to me that our age is calling out for empathy, for kindness, for the injection of the human back into business and our way of life.  Also because, you cannot get far in cultivating meaningful relationships with customers nor designing customer experiences that delight customers, nor generating ‘employee engagement’ without grappling with these topics. Look you and I can make the world accessible, convenient, hassle free and fast.  And, if such a world is missing kindness, generosity, empathy, friendship and love then it is a world that is not fit for human beings.

Empathy is central to customer experience, customer-centricity, and employee engagement

With this context I share with you the following video that was brought to my attention by LinkedIn where Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO shared it:

If this video speaks to you, if it stimulates your interest in empathy then I invite you to take a look at the following posts:

What Does It Take To Generate Deep Contextual Customer Insight?

Customer Loyalty and Advocacy: what can we learn from Jonathan Ive and Zappos?

What does it take to generate ‘employee engagement’? (Part IV)

Is this the access to profitable revenues, loyal customers and enduring success? (Part I)

Is kindness born of empathy fundamental to cultivating customer loyalty and employee engagement?

I say it is. What kind of kindness am I speaking about?  I am speaking what Werner Erhard refers to as “ruthless compassion”.  If you want to dig into this a little more then check out this talk.

I want to leave you with a quote of a hero of mine, Albert Schweitzer:

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

A Final Word

I am putting together a course on communication-empathy-relationship. And there is one slide that I wish to share with you:

Being Empathic Listening.jpg

Posted on March 15, 2013, in Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Service Design, Social and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing the video Maz.

    My mother signed a DNR for my Dad last week. Never thought a YouTube video would make me cry

    James

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    • Hello James
      What can I say? I found myself deeply touched by the video and there were tears running down my cheeks. And it happens every time I watch the video. After many years in business, only recently have I got that kindness-generoristy-empathy- love matters to me. And it is what I have to offer to this world.

      Maz

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  2. adrianswinscoe

    Hi Maz,
    Great video and thank you for sharing. The title of your post is “The vital importance of empathy and kindness to customer experience design and employee engagement”. For me I’d rewrite it as “The vital importance of empathy and kindness to everything in all of our lives”

    Call me an idealist! That’s what I dream about.

    Adrian

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    • Hello Adrian

      You and me both: we are both idealists. So was Gandhi. So was Martin Luther King. So was the Buddha. So was Jesus. So was Mohammed. So were people like Martin Luther and John Calvin.

      All significant change in the history of mankind has been made directly or indirectly by Idealists.

      Maz

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  3. Awesome video! Empathy is underrated when it comes to the customer experience, but I believe it’s because Suppliers sometimes seem “untouchable”. I’ve come across a website called http://www.hellopeter.com which puts me in touch with my suppliers by allowing me to write reports about them, of which a copy gets sent to them AND they have the opportunity to reply to me. And, hopefully, give me some of their time and empathy.

    Like

    • Hello Maryke
      Delighted that this post created value for you. I find myself in total agreement with you regards the video – it shows up as awesome!

      Yes, some suppliers can show up as untouchable especially if they are running an oligopoly between themselves like the energy suppliers or the telecoms companies in the UK.

      Supplier ratings sites are interesting. I often use TripAdvisor before I book any hotel and I have found it is a great tool.

      All the best and thanks for taking the time to write and share your perspective.

      At you service / with my love
      maz

      Like

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