Empathy has become a buzzword in recent years as our awareness of emotion and its relationship to success continues to grow. Many people think empathy is understanding another person's pain, trying to fix things and admitting that we are wrong.
But, according to the Oxford dictionary, empathy is "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." While this definition is an accepted one, I'd like to add that empathy is also the ability to see things through the other person's eyes and not our own.
How do these skills affect us in the workplace? The simple answer is that-in a perfect world-all people with whom we interact will have empathy. We need it to be able to see things through a customer's eyes. Why isn't he or she satisfied? How did we fail? Did we miss a deadline or not follow up when we were supposed to? What were the customer's expectations? Maybe a product or service didn't produce the desired results.
Yes, using empathy in these situations can help us see it through our customer's eyes. But it can also lead to losing business if both parties don't understand both sides. Empathy can also help customers to see things from a supplier's or vendor's point of view. Seeing both sides helps us arrive at a place of understanding and compromise. It might also present an opportunity to do things differently the next time around.
At Forwarders, on the rare occasion that we have an unhappy customer, we put
ourselves in his or her shoes and walk through the experience from both points of view. Empathy helps to improve the relationship. Every interaction matters. Teddy Roosevelt summed it up nicely when he said, "no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."
We're always here to talk and listen. Give us a call anytime to discuss how these skills can help your business thrive and grow.