Experience Dull Empathy or Strengthen It?
Former customer service agents and tech support reps often have empathy for current customer service and technical support teams. They remember the pressure and are considerate. It begs the question: Why do many customer service and tech support agents lack empathy for customers? Do they forget what it feels like to be a customer?
Likewise, does a leader’s current experience dull empathy toward their teams? Have they forgotten what it’s like not to be in charge?
Should knowledge and experience make it easier to give empathy?
Or Does Knowledge & Experience Dull Empathy?
Does Knowledge & Experience Dull Empathy?
Knowledge and experience can blind customer service agents and tech support reps to customers’ …
- Emotions when needing help
- Fear of not knowing
- Frustration of being delayed in lengthy procedures
- Impatience with being routed and transferred
- Anger at being trapped in the maze of customer support
- Vulnerability of having to trust others with their success
Likewise, power, knowledge, and experience can blind leaders to employees’ …
- Challenges of understanding leader’s vision
- Struggles of accomplishing goals without authority
- Personality type differences
- Quest to acquire knowledge and experience to perform well
- Pressure of dealing with under-performing teammates
- Implementing solutions with limited time and resources
Experience and knowledge deliver confidence and a sense of control — the very things that reduce fear, stress, and obstacles. Unfortunately for some leaders and for some customer service agents, their knowledge and experience dull empathy. Add the pressures of leadership and the stress of customer service work to the picture, and it makes them even less empathetic toward those they lead and serve.
Consider: When you are under incredible pressure do you care less about other things that normally bug you? You just want to get rid of the big pressure and you overlook everything else? But what if those other things are still very stressful to those you lead and serve? Can you find it in you to empathize with them? Or does your knowledge and ability to fix the trouble bring you to label them as emotional or stupid? In these moments, your knowledge and experience dull empathy.
The best customer service reps overcome the dulling effects of knowledge, experience and pressure by:
- Being aware of how they feel outside of work when they are customers
- Remembering to focus on one customer at a time. This focus delivers empathy
- Realizing that their job is to deliver a wonderful experience while solving the problem. It isn’t just to solve the problem
- Embracing the true role of service and support — to make life easier for the customer and get them productive again
Respected well-liked leaders deliver empathy by asking themselves: What does it feel like to be this employee right now? Although knowledge and experience dull empathy in other leaders, they live by the motto …
Don’t let your knowledge and experience dull empathy. Channel your experience into empathy that spurs success in those you lead and serve!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
©2012-2015 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™