Skip to content

Beyond the Reboot #3: Ability to Empathize

Last updated on December 26, 2013

Time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Once you know the problem and are communicating, show some empathy. Don’t just say you understand their problems. Show them you understand what they’re going through. They have hit upon a problem they can’t solve and it is frustrating them and preventing them from doing their work and getting on with their day.

Even if the problem is simple in your eyes, it could be a huge deal to your customer. Today, I got an urgent call from a customer who had lost the connection to two network drives. Now, to me it is a very simple thing to remap a network drive. To my customer, her data was gone and she did not know how to get it back. She was very upset.

I arrived quickly and assured her all of her data was safe. She had only lost access to the data, not the data itself. I explained what had happened and how I was going to get it back as I worked.

I mapped the drives and I saved them as shortcuts so if they became disconnected again, she could still access her data. I also showed her how to remap the drives so she could do what I had done next time. I gave her the tools to solve the problem in the future.

Recently, I got another call from a customer who thought she had lost 300 pictures of her son from her Blackberry. They were just gone! One minute they were there, in the pictures app and the next, they were nowhere to be found.

I calmly took the phone from her and checked the settings for a media card. I saw there was no recognized card. So I removed the phone from its case, popped open the back and removed the battery to find the tiny card has slipped from its slot.

Reseating the card in its slot, I explained that her photos were most likely on the card which had come loose so the phone wasn’t able to see it. I replace the battery, powered on the phone and she customer was relieved to see her son smiling back at her.

She asked how she could backup the photos so this didn’t happen again. So I walked with her to her desk. We plugged her phone into her desktop and added the phone as a media drive. We then found the Blackberry external drive under My Computer and inside the Pictures folder were her irreplaceable photos.

I assisted her in backing them up to her computer so she could sort them and then save them.

In both cases, I immediately empathized with my customer. They were both frantic, afraid they had lost important data. I reassured them their data was safe and only moments away from being recovered. I made them feel better. I fixed the problem. Then I explained how to fix the problem should it arise again.

All that stands between feeling helpless and confident is a little knowledge. Even if she doesn’t remember what I showed her today, she can be confident in the future if this happens again it is not a crisis, but an inconvenience.

You are a trusted ally to your customer. It can be hard to remember sometimes, especially when you’ve worked in the industry a long time. It can often feel like you wear a badge that says Whipping Boy but you are the customer’s hero. You are the lifeline in the battle between man and machine. Listen to what your customer is saying but also how they are saying it. Understand their emotions and react accordingly.

Published inObservations