6 tips to practice empathy and improve the customer experience

Empathy is the key to building better customer experiences. You've probably heard this said numerous times over the last several years. But what does that actually look like? How do you practice empathy in your organization? Scott Voigt and Amy Ellis of Fullstory dropped in to Relate Live San Francisco to share what they're doing.

FullStory embraces empathy and staying connected to the customer experience is baked in to everything they do. They've even created a new role they call Hugger that helps make that happen. The Hugger role has responsibilities across functions such as Product Management, Marketing, Communications, Support, and Account Management. It's their job to advocate for customers and make sure that everyone in the company stays focused on that goal. In this talk, Scott and Amy explain what this role is all about and how their Huggers make the difference.

They also share a handful of tips for instilling empathy throughout your organization, tips that will help you stay connected to the customer experience and quickly address and resolve pain points. Their tips are summarized here.

    1. Observe your customers' experience. Seeing is believing, and it's the most powerful way for everyone to understand what your customers are experiencing. In whatever way possible, observe your customer interactions. Use an interaction playback tool, usability studies, or by co-browsing with your customers as they use your product.
    2. Make everyone in your company support your customers. Everyone should handle tickets some of the time. CEOs included. FullStory does this using a round-robin approach to ticket duty.
    3. Create a cross-functional customer advocate role. This is where the Hugger role comes in for FullStory. Huggers keep the company focused on the customer and put processes into place to make sure that happens.
    4. Treat frustrating customer experiences like bugs. Experiences are as important as code errors. They should be treated the same way.
    5. Practice proactive empathy. Use automation to monitor your product for errors and frustrating interactions (for example, episodes of rage clicking), then proactively reach out to the customer to provide help, and express empathy, before they've even asked for it.
    6. Review and score customer experiences. FullStory calls this watching game film and they do it constantly. As a team they review interactions and use scorecards to record whenever a bad customer experience causes them to wince. It's a great reality check.

This session was recorded on May, 11, 2016 at Relate Live San Francisco. This version has been edited for length.


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