Tag Archives: empathy

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workplace intentions

Workplace Intentions Forge Stronger Connections

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What are your workplace intentions? Are you striving to do good work, have effective communication, and foster stronger workplace relationships?

There is almost always some difference between what is said and what is heard.

It may be because we haven’t planned our words wisely, our emotions jumped in the way, or the receiver of the communication misunderstood.

Chances are good that both parties have some responsibility.

It’s true for working with peers, direct reports, and your boss. It is also true when communicating with the customer.

Much of what we hear is based on our expectations. You can recognize a difference in the flow and understanding when someone says, “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Workplace Intentions

Those differences between what one party says and the other party hears are enough to breakdown trust, sour the relationship, and cost the organization money.

An angry customer who feels insulted may leave forever. Their emotion of anger and insult is likely the result of their expectations not being met. Their expectations are often driven by their past experiences or clever advertising, marketing, or sales presentations.

What was the intent?

With co-workers, friends, or customers, your intent compared with their expectations will either forge stronger connections or tear them down.

It may be a good idea to express where you are coming from.

When everyone understands your intentions there is more empathy for communication that feels like a pinch.

Consider the value of recognizing when a salesperson is selling, the boss needs you to shift directions, or your co-worker is giving you some advice. It’s an opportunity to adjust your expectations.

Stronger connections are intentional.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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using empathy

Leadership Habit 35: Using Empathy

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It seems that most people are promoted in organizations because they’ve shown strong technical skills. They have impressed the CEO with their knowledge and comprehension of business requirements. Are they effectively using empathy?

Technical Expertise

Technical skills are important. The newsflash is, they are not everything. One of the hardest things for emerging workplace leaders is understanding the soft skills side of leadership.

Workplace success typically happens for the most well-rounded people. Certainly, some will cite that playing politics, having friends in the right places, and even gender will play a role. True, they may all be factors, but long-term leadership success needs empathy.

Technical skills won’t take you very far when no one respects the work. Things may implode when no one understands the values, the hardships, and the beliefs required to carry on when everyone wants to quit.

Power of Empathy

Often the hardest skill for the workplace leader is to understand and develop the power of empathy. It is often disregarded as not needed, too soft, or not logical and therefore not required.

In some circles it is common to hear, “Remove the emotion!” And every time a person in a leadership role says that they have just moved one notch farther away from a team who has passion.

Certainly, there are times when decisions must be made that are difficult. They tug at the emotional values of those involved but removing emotion from any organization may be a step in the wrong direction.

Using Empathy

So, it is really the emotional labor that leaders sometimes need to master. They are seldom chosen, at least not consciously, for this skill, but great leaders have it covered.

Engaged teams are running on emotion. Emotion has a lot to do with empathy. When we feel the mechanics of the job are covered what remains?

Using empathy is often challenging, it can’t be delegated, and the emotional labor involved will require patience and energy.

As a leader, using empathy is required. Your team needs it.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating a Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Failures

5 Common Customer Service Failures

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Customer service may mean many different things. In simplest terms, it is often thought of as a department, an organization stereotype I’m doing my part to remove. Customer service should be about a holistic organization approach. What are some of the most common customer service failures?

Helping businesses in many different sectors is actually very interesting work. You learn so much about styles, philosophies, and culture that may seek a similar result, but often vary widely in approach. Most businesses or sectors believe that they are unique. In some ways, they are, but there are also many commonalties.

Customer Service Failures

Here are five areas common areas for customer service failures:

  1. Decisions. Employees at all levels make decisions. Internally and externally, they decide. It may start with a decision about attitude, output, or communication. The only question really is, “Are they empowered?”
  2. Empowerment. Customers what results, they command action, and the loyalty to your brand is at stake. Guidelines can be helpful, but many situations are unique. The employee who is well trained in policy and procedure that is also appropriately empowered will likely extend the lifetime value of customers they touch.
  3. Response time. This measurement is common by your customers and their expectations are demanding. This is true during all aspects of the sales cycle, and of course, post-sale. This is also very applicable internally with the team and externally with not only customers, but also vendors.
  4. Protection. Great employees understand that they need to protect the company, but they also want to protect the customer. One of the most miscommunicated factors I witness with organizations is a misunderstanding of how to weigh decisions they make about how to balance this scale.
  5. Empathy. While it may feel like many customers just want action or resolution, they probably also want empathy. Every touch point must be well designed to express and demonstrate empathy. While action and resolution is often what we think about, an organization culture holds that empathy as a core value will likely have fewer service related issues.

Make Root Cause Changes

Have you thought about failures in the services your organization provides? What decisions can your organization make in these five areas, or others, that will make a difference?

If you’re going to improve failures or breakdowns, you’ll need to get to the root cause. The root cause is sometimes buried deep within traditions or values that drive culture.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service empathy

How To Practice Customer Service Empathy

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Customer service really isn’t just a department, it is for everyone who cares. Purchasing anything is typically connected to an emotional decision. Sure, we often buy based on our need, but often choices we make leading up to that purchase are based on a feeling. Do you practice customer service empathy?

In my soon to be released book, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, I wrote about the difference in mind-set between short- and long-term strategies. A customer service memory may be built in a moment, but there are many things leading up to that moment and often some lengthy things following behind.

Customer Experience

The customer experience sometimes begins after the test drive, after the emotion of the moment, and long after the purchase is made. It isn’t the short game, it is often more about the long game, even the experience of a cup of coffee, a convenience store purchase, or the click of a computer mouse.

Since we have memory, and in many cases make a similar purchase again, it is clearly a long-term connection. Building that connection, creating the customer experience, it may all be based on our ability to demonstrate empathy.

Customer Service Empathy

Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is about understanding. If business relationships are about people, then customer service is about empathy.

Empathy doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It doesn’t happen when you don’t care. It happens because you care.

Our feelings and building the connection often happens through memories. Things like scents, sounds, and images. What our senses connect with as people.

Even social media channels seem to serve more posts to people that contain pictures or video. Coincidence, I think not. Strategy, I think so.

We have to take action, speak up, interact and engage to show empathy. No words, no signs, no pictures, and empathy will be harder to demonstrate.

How To Practice

How can you practice customer service empathy?  It is easy to do, demonstrate it. It may start with some simple phrases, here are a few to consider:

  • I’m sorry…
  • How can I help?
  • We’re here for you.

We all know that practice makes perfect.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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why empathy

Why Empathy Will Advance Your Career

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People show up for the job interview prepared to talk about how they are technically the best fit. They focus on the mechanics, the knowledge, and their life experiences. The truth is that those are all important but have you considered why empathy will advance your career?

Today’s job market has interesting challenges. Many employee seekers find many job seekers with more than adequate technical skills. Have you considered what might be missing?

Some suggest that job seekers are missing skills connected with Emotional Intelligence of which empathy is a significant component.

Why Empathy

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Communication. Employers want great communicators. They’ve heard repeatedly that communication is problematic from team members. When everyone is so technically skilled, businesses are looking for someone who offers something extra.
  • Understanding. Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is having an understanding. Employers need team members that are able to reach across the generations and other workplace bias to create team success. Emotions drive actions and behaviors. Those with empathy skills harness it.
  • Easy is average. Demonstrating that you can play in the sandbox and consider another’s point of view that might be different from your own is not always easy. Most people do what comes easily. Empathy will positively set you apart from the crowd. Everyone else is average.

Empathy Adds Value

Additionally, businesses can outsource much of the technical skills if necessary. When projects back up there might be services and options from an external source that can get things moving again. They can’t easily outsource empathy. It must be developed or come as a package.

Do you want to advance in your career? Is it possible to be the resource that is exactly what businesses need but very few possess?

Consider your Emotional Intelligence skillset and be sure you are including empathy as a core value.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Are You Listening With Empathy?

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Listening is an interesting skill, and it is important to note that listening is not the same as hearing, listening is a developed skill. People who are listening with empathy are listening for understanding.

listening with empathy

Have you ever been in a one-on-one or small group conversation and someone surprisingly asks a question or makes a specific statement about something that was clearly stated only a few moments ago? Not a follow up question or statement, but one that seems to be exactly the same information that was just presented by someone else. Perhaps, in order to not lose their current thought they keep processing it over and over and while doing so they are not listening. Then when there is a pause in the conversation they blurt out what is on their mind. If you’ve ever experienced this you know how strange it feels, if you haven’t hopefully you are not the one who is committing this social blunder.

Many people proudly state that they have the ability to multitask. While it is true that we may be able to walk and chew gum at the same time many experts agree that our thinking and perception processes are truly via a single channel. We might be able to spend a nanosecond here, and a nanosecond there, and give the appearance or illusion of multitasking but true cognitive multitasking doesn’t occur. So when you are thinking, processing, or trying to remember your rebuttal while someone else is speaking chances are pretty good you are not listening.

Given that we do not have a disability or physical problem with our hearing, we hear noises, sounds, and even voices, but listening is about processing the information, developing an understanding of what is being said, processing some more, and then perhaps offering a response. Perhaps many times we’ve heard that people fail to listen to understand, and that they listen only to respond.

Listening with Empathy

Listening with empathy is important for many reasons. If you are in a leadership position of any kind it might be important that you develop this skill so that you are not listening to agree or disagree, but to develop a deeper understanding. If you are in customer service, sales, or many other workplace roles it might be critical that you are not quick to form judgment, be biased, or stereotype people during a conversation. Listening with empathy is not sympathy, other than sounding similar they have little to nothing in common. If you are listening with empathy you are listening for understanding.

Are you a fast moving multitasking extraordinaire who can finish someone else’s sentence? Don’t count on it. Do you observe others in your workplace or those who you frequently converse with and after some period of time you are convinced you know what they are about to say in any given conversation? Don’t count on it.  Great listeners are not judging, they are not assuming, and they are not listening to respond. They are listening to understand.

Listen with empathy.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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