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How important is empathy in customer experience?

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Author: Dhivakar Aridoss

Accenture found that 58% more customers prefer to solve urgent issues by calling for support rather than using other channels.

Let me give you an example.

I am admitting my father for a procedure at a hospital. The hospital gives me a treatment cost of 120K, and the hospital says that about 80-85% of this would be covered by insurance. However, my insurance company pre-approves 40K. The insurance company further states that this is not the final amount but a pre-approved amount, and it can change.

I tried reaching out to their customer service, and I was directed to a self-service chatbot. The chatbot kept repeating the pre-approval amount of 40K. For all my other queries, it just mentioned that a ticket had been generated and someone would get in touch with me shortly.

Where does this leave me?

I am naturally focused on talking to customer service to clarify my doubts. So, I called the customer service call center, and I am informed that everything else would be covered except perhaps 10 to 15% of the bill.

I was relieved. 

This was a complex and urgent query. So, the natural tendency is to talk to a human agent and resolve it.

The agent was empathetic enough to my situation and explained how the entire claims process worked.

Now, this conversation with the human agent made me have a positive effect on the brand, and it has made me a loyal customer and brand ambassador of this insurance company.

Empathy and human connection

In research commissioned by limitless, focus on empathy and human connection were the two keywords that were mentioned by customer experience leaders from the likes of Microsoft, eBay, Infosys, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, and Sage.

Businesses are now seeing value in prioritizing human-led strategies that provide comfort. This human-led and customer-centric approach helps enhance the customer lifecycle and allows organizations to differentiate themselves vis-à-vis their competition.

What about all the self-service investments that I have made?

It is worth its weight in gold. Don’t get me wrong, and you don’t have to do away with your self-service channels. Self-service options can resolve most transactional queries. They can reduce the resolution times and reduce wait times while improving the cost-optimization of your customer experience function.

What happens here is that it frees up your agents to handle the most complex and urgent queries like the example that I mentioned here. For everything else, you can go through the self-service platforms.

That being said, the customer should be provided with an option to switch seamlessly from the self-service channels to speak to an agent for additional information or complex queries.

For instance, I have taken a loan from a bank, and I want to know the principal balance amount. Your self-service platform can give this information. Now, I want to top up the existing loan with additional money.

Now, your self-service platform may not be able to handle this query.

So, what do you do now?

You now provide the option of transferring the conversation from the chat to a human agent from the same interface itself so that the customer can get their query resolved.

Now, you have self-service and empathetic human agents working together to provide the best possible customer experience.


Focusing on customer success will be critical and something that automation alone will struggle to achieve.

It has to be a combination of automation and an empathetic human connection that can benefit the customers and the brand. Human interactions are most likely to keep customers longer, enhance their lifetime value, and increase their spending over time.

Personal, human interactions are fundamental to happy customers.


About the Author: Dhivakar Aridoss


With due credit to Rene Descartes, Dhivakar lives by the saying, “I Think Therefore I Am.” He believes in 80% thinking and 20% execution on anything creative. He executes the digital marketing strategies of ClearTouch on this 80-20 rule.

Besides, if you want to chat up on automobile, formula 1, Hollywood, Music, Food, Single Malts, and any conspiracy theories, Dhivakar would be all ears and is equally a great conversationist.