Empathy and awareness are two essential qualities that create deeper customer relationships.
What are empathy and awareness? How and why do they create deeper relationships with customers and clients?
Empathy in customer relationships
Empathy is formally defined as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
Simply put, empathy is walking in someone else’s shoes so you feel what they’re feeling.
You may not agree with them, but by being empathetic you can listen attentively to what they’re saying and allow them to feel acknowledged and heard.
It also requires taking action to help alleviate the pain the other person is experiencing,
so long as it’s within your power to do so.
Awareness in customer relationship
Awareness in customer relationship is often assumed to mean that the focus is on the business. For example, you want to increase awareness of your brand and the services or products you offer.
This is the opposite of what I refer to in this post. Instead, awareness in customer relationship means that the business is aware of the needs of the customer. This may be done through one on one interactions, surveys, and interviews.
Awareness creates a bond between you and your client that results in an emotional attachment and customer loyalty.
Why are Empathy and Awareness so Important?
In order to better appreciate how these two essential qualities create deeper customer relationships, I’ll share a story that’s been repeated online from a popular Reddit thread. Here goes:
Not too long ago, a popular Reddit thread had users discussing how different companies had forever impacted their lives and won their business.
One of the top posts was about the outdoor apparel company MooseJaw.
The Redditor described how his roommate had ordered a hoodie from MooseJaw as a Christmas present for his girlfriend. Then, a few weeks before Christmas, she broke up with him.
The roommate sent the hoodie back to MooseJaw for a refund, and in the “reason for returning” column, he wrote “girlfriend dumped me.”
Three weeks later he received a large package from MooseJaw.
Inside was a selection of t-shirts and MooseJaw stickers. There was also a card that read, “We’re sorry your girlfriend broke up with you, we decided to give you a gift.”
The rest of the card was filled with notes and jokes from MooseJaw staff members.
Here is an example of the relationship marketing experience at its finest.
More than an isolated incident for MooseJaw
Moosejaw continues to set the tone for their interactions with customers so that it becomes an experience rather than just a transaction. https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/moosejaw-brings-fun-store-experience-digital.
In relationship marketing, the goal is not to make a one-time sale, it’s to foster customer loyalty and long-term engagement.
Online relationship marketing can be challenging though. Here’s just one reason why.
We know how important it is to send handwritten notes. Customers and clients usually appreciate that, especially as too few are doing it. But let’s go back to MooseJaw.
MooseJaw could have sent the customer a generic note expressing their apologies for the unwanted product and totally ignore the context of the returned hoodie. The generic communication would not have shown empathy and awareness. The customer would not have felt special. There would be nothing out of the ordinary with that action. That’s what most companies (large or small) do. Instead, they showed personal interest.
Getting relationship marketing right
Getting relationship marketing right requires knowing what customers’ expectations are and how you can exceed those expectations. It often involves going the extra mile. Your clients and customers will appreciate and value the relationship they have with you, leading to customer loyalty and their becoming advocates for your business.
Based on the foregoing, what steps will you take to include these two essential qualities: empathy and awareness, to create deeper customer relationships in your interactions with your clients and customers online or offline?