Monday, 30 november 2020 | Redacción CEU
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is not as easy as it may seem at first, especially when you are a company and go from being one to be an organization made up of many individuals. Despite this obstacle, empathy can be a very powerful tool for business success. Customers who feel heard, understood and answered may become great brand ambassadors. If we also reflect on the uncertain times that we are living, empathy with clients becomes, if possible, even more relevant. Emotions are especially present these days in the life of any citizen. This is why clients need to feel more protected and understood than usual. Unfortunately, some companies focus on short-term goals and forget the importance of customer empathy.
Do you want to be remembered as that brand that stepped on the gas and forgot about its consumers in the middle of the pandemic? Do you prefer clients to think of your company as the firm that supported them when they felt most vulnerable? Put like this, it is difficult, at least without remorse, not to go for the second option. Although this might be a reductionist analogy, it is also true that an insensitive decision that is not aligned with customer experience may become the turning point that jeopardizes your business, in particular in this moment of uncertainty and vulnerability. On the other hand, the consumer who is truly understood and cared for may become a faithful follower and defender of your brand. We are not talking about an intangible value, but about brand loyalty.
What do customers want?
Many times, we think we know what customers are looking for, but we need to observe them, listen to them, ask them and, finally, understand them in order to really connect with them. There is an interesting analysis carried out by Bain & Company: Wider Divide: Serving Consumers as the Middle Class Fades. In this study, they present data from a survey of 2,000 consumers in the United States. According to it, although the majority of low-income households have responded to this situation by cutting back on their expenses, 40% of them continue to buy affordable luxuries they consider a special treat. This is just one example of how certain details can go unnoticed if we do not make an effort to put ourselves in our consumers’ shoes.
Another detail that this study reveals is that, regardless of their social status, consumers are neglecting mid-priced products or services that are not distinguished by superior functionality or emotional resonance. We want to highlight this because emotions have a fundamental weight in consumer behavior. Their importance is even greater given the troubled times we are going through.