‘To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you must first remove your own. For how can a double-shoed person truly feel the shoes of another? It is only when the filters of the mind are released, that another person can truly be seen, felt, heard and understood without judgement’ - Pamela Storch
A lot of the time, customer service is perceived as a lesser branch in the hierarchical tree of a company. To those on the outside, people who work in customer service sometimes seem to do menial tasks which have little importance. In reality, customer service is the vital tendon that connects a company and its product to the customer. When you empathise with the customer, you can understand their needs, concerns, and goals, in turn allowing you to provide better solutions and ultimately a better experience overall.
When I explain my job to friends, it’s often met with either a scowl or a look of confusion. They expect me to be showing up at people's doors dressed in black and brandishing knuckle dusters. This is of course not the case, but speaks volumes about the perception of debt collection in the public eye. When we reach out to customers, that’s often the image they have in the back of their minds too. We’re trying to change that stereotype, showing that treating people with empathy and understanding is vital to helping customers through difficult situations.
Individuals can find themselves in debt for a whole variety of reasons. It’s our job to understand each customer’s situation so we can be sensitive to their struggles and provide the best solution possible.
We want every customer who gets in touch with us to leave having gained something from the interaction. People have taken time out of their day to get in touch with us, so they want to feel like they are being heard. Nothing is more frustrating than voicing your issues to a company that replies purely via saved responses in Live Chat in the hopes that a query can be resolved without the need for human interaction. The ‘human’ side of customer service allows the individual to take comfort in knowing that a member of the team really is engaging and processing a problem.
So how do you actually ensure someone feels listened to? As a team we’ve set out a few guidelines that we follow to make sure we’re putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes:
Employing all these steps means that we should be confident that we’ve done everything we can to make sure the customer has been heard. We are, however, always striving to do better, so we catch up regularly as a team to discuss how we can improve, and make sure to take customers’ feedback onboard.