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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

August 08, 2019
| Business

Why businesses need empathy if they want to grow

Customer centricity is exactly what it sounds like – by focusing on the customer’s wants and needs first, the business needs take care of themselves. 

However, customer centricity is a process. It’s a result of your values determining your culture, and your culture determining how customer centric you are.

So, if you’re wondering why your organisation isn’t as customer centric as you’d hope; look at the overall company culture. It’s a top down approach, because the people who set the stage for a positive company culture are none other than the senior leaders.

Diversity and inclusion pulls back the curtains and helps you to gain new perspectives that slowly lead you away from your biases.

The customer centric approach 

Customer centricity is important because it makes it obvious why people should pay attention to your business and products. It’s responsible for leaving a lasting impression by focusses on providing a good experience for everyone involved.

But, how do businesses actually become more customer centric?

It’s really simple; It’s by focusing on diversity and inclusion, and building up empathy for each other in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion is the first step

A business that’s not showing any signs of customer centricity, really has bigger problems to deal with. 

Customer centricity is an after-effect of a positive working environment, which can only be possible when an organisation prioritises diversity, inclusion and empathy.

What’s so good about diversity, inclusion and empathy?

Diversity and inclusion pulls back the curtains and helps you to gain new perspectives that slowly lead you away from your biases. It includes all the ways that an organisation brings in people who are different so that they can collaborate and share new ideas.

“Inclusion involves bringing together and harnessing these diverse forces and resources in a way that is beneficial. Inclusion puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect, and connection—where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed to create business value.” – Profiles in Diversity Journal

 Empathy can only blossom when diversity and inclusion are priorities. It’s the commitment we have to make to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes before we make a claim.

The key to a customer centric culture is empathy

Empathy is a valuable skill for businesses. It allows senior leadership to put themselves in the shoes of their customers, instead of assuming that the customers will want whatever they present to them. Empathy ripples throughout the organisation. If a customer service employee feels disenchanted with their role, then they’re going to send those signals to the customers, stakeholders and to other colleagues. Their negative feelings will come out in their actions and interactions with others. This is concerning, because every time a customer has a negative interaction with your brand, the more they’ll go out of their way to avoid you, and make sure that their friends and family do so, too.

It’s imperative that you acknowledge what the customer is feeling. Their pain points are real issues to them and they’re extending a hand for you to help them.

Developing empathy in the workplace

Empathy can be developed, but businesses have to take it seriously. This can be done through training sessions where employees role play through various scenarios. In this way, employees can actually practice using empathy, gain feedback and work through their inherent biases before they deal with stakeholders.

As the saying goes: charity begins at home – so, real empathy has to be ingrained within the organisational values and culture before it can have an impact on customers. 

Developing empathy for your customers

One of the best ways to have empathy for your customers is to actually see life from their perspective. You can do this by developing a buyer persona profile for each customer segment in your business.

What’s a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of real-life people. You get to invent a person (based on real people) who have a name, a face, hobbies, age, ambitions and more. And, it can all be done in a word processing document. What this does is hone in on your customer segments and lets you take an educated guess at why they do what they do, and why they’ll find value (or won’t) in what you’re offering them. It brings in a good dose of reality into the business mix because so often, businesses believe that they know what’s best for the customer without looking at life from their perspective.  

How to know if customer-centricity works

You’ll definitely know when your business is becoming more customer-centric. Your engagement rates will go up. People will pay more attention to what you’re doing that they’ll hang around for longer. People will start telling their friends and family about your business. Customers will start to report a much better, or even delightful experience with your brand. That’s how you know that you’re being customer focusses, because your hand is on the trigger and customers are telling you “good job, keep going” through their interactions.

If you think that your business needs a hand with diversity and inclusion, feel free to reach out and see how we can help with some of our corporate initiative. 

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