Empathy drives Customer Advocacy

A differentiated customer experience can be created by consistently understanding your customer’s rational and emotional needs and responding appropriately. This is called Empathy and is a trait that can be harnessed and developed by organisations to drive customer loyalty. If you deliver your process, product or service with Empathy and exceed your customers’ expectations, you will create brand advocates – raving fans – of your customers.

Companies with higher Empathy Quotients are more profitable

In 2008, after 4 years of analysing millions of data points collected from 200 UK companies through Harding & Yorke’s Empathy Rating Index Company (ERIC), the Empathy Quotient was academically proven to correlate strongly with profit. (Analysis by Jamie Lywood, Prof. Merlin Stone and Prof. Yuksel Ekinci, Oxford Brookes University. Published in Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management (2009) 16, 207 – 214.doi: 10.1057/dbm.2009.24).

Empathy Services include measurement, benchmarking, consulting, training and coaching

The first step to increasing Empathy with your customers is to create an empathetic, supportive and empowering environment for your people. The Empathy Academy solutions team using empathy based customer experience measures as a foundation help organisations optimise relationships with customers. The Empathy Academy works in partnership with clients to build strategies, design interventions, transfer skills and create coaching environments where Empathy is embedded and thrives in the culture of the organisation.  An organisation’s Empathy Quotient is audited at intervals to ensure consistency and improvement of service delivery. 

Empathy Academy Activity Description     How the Empathy Academy helps

Identifying strengths and deciding what needs to change

Finding out why people behave the way they do; identifying positive and negative aspects of culture, structure and processes

On-site discovery; shadowing people at work; holding discussion groups with staff and line management; interviews with senior managers, HR, trainers etc.; understand effect of measures, rules  and processes; present report and recommendations

Customer Experience Strategy Design

Reviewing or developing customer experience strategy; High- level strategic goal-setting, organisational  and process design for all elements of customer experience

Consultative input from empathy perspective – how to positively affect colleague and customer experience  through intelligent design; facilitation of design process


Brand and Brand Promise design

Design of clear Brand message; internal and external branding; Bold statements describing the kind of experience we want to give our customers

Facilitation of decisions on brand identity and organisational personality; Cross-functional event facilitation to distil Brand Promises and prepare for communication across the business


Recruitment/selection process

Recruitment process that targets and identifies desirable attitudes and behaviours

Work collaboratively with HR team to review and enhance existing recruitment process; design and conduct recruitment campaign including design and running of bespoke Assessment Centres; train assessors

Skills Development

Training and teambuilding programmes for employees at all levels, in both front-line and support functions.  Materials and trainers that motivate and inspire people and encourage positive attitudes and behaviours,  as well as high level of technical skills and knowledge, and focus on excellence rather than ‘OK’ performance

Review existing materials; observe/provide feedback on current training content and style;  design/co-design new materials; run ‘train the trainer’ events; deliver/co-deliver training; accredit trainers and hand over materials

Performance management – process design and implementation

Design and/or review and revise Performance Management framework to support strategic aims; includes both internal  team/employee performance and outsource partner performance and SLAs

Review effectiveness of existing framework and measures; facilitate workshop with key stakeholders to draw up/revise comprehensive performance standards, with objective measurement/scoring framework if required to balance needs of business and customer and to drive the right behaviours. Can include complete ‘Balanced scorecard’ performance measures, Call Quality Monitoring forms, quality standards for letters and e-mails and standards of excellence for support functions

Create positive coaching culture

Managers, team leaders and/or dedicated coaches with the skills and attitudes to drive a positive, motivational coaching culture

Observe/review current coaching practice; review current coaching skills training/materials; design/deliver/hand over new training and coaching materials; provide individual ‘on-the-job’ coaching observation and feedback; run ‘coaching surgeries’; provide face to face or telephone-based coaching and support for coaches

Coaching framework

Design a programme to deliver appropriate, individual coaching to employees at all levels

Review existing coaching process and practice; design structure and processes for effective and time-efficient coaching;  which enables regular, off-line, individual coaching where interactions with customers / colleagues are reviewed and evaluated to identify strengths and areas for development

Executive coaching

Personal coaching and mentoring for key individuals

Work individually with key people to support, coach and mentor; build personal confidence and competence over time

Planning, facilitation  and teambuilding

Enabling executive and project teams to work together and collaborate effectively

Facilitation of  action planning sessions;  project set-up meetings (including multi-supplier relationships)and ongoing working parties; senior team facilitation; teambuilding events (can include MBTI personality profiling)

Maintenance of high standards and consistency

Alignment and ‘coach the coach’ activities to ensure consistency of interpretation of quality standards and continuous development and improvement and consistency of coaching and management approach

Design alignment processes; provide external quality alignment checks; run alignment workshops; design/deliver materials for further skills development; ‘coach the coach’ sessions – on-the-job observation and one-to-one  coaching for line managers and coaches


Rewards and recognition

Reward and recognition frameworks that encourage and recognise desired behaviours – and motivate everyone to strive for excellence

Review current reward and recognition frameworks and behavioural drivers; recommend/assist with design of amendments and/ or new frameworks


Stuart Lamb,
22 Jan 2011, 12:32