Apathy, Sympathy, Empathy
Being a customer service rep for a cable/internet provider has taught me many skills needed for dealing with tough calls. Most of the customers I would deal with were not happy at all because their internet was out or their favorite channels were pixelating. Many times helping the customer meant leading them through a series of steps to correct the issue - unplug this, turn off this - steps the customer did not want to do. They felt it was the provider's issue and the provider should send someone to resolve it. My job was to fix the problem while I had the customer on the phone. Much of my training dealt with how to talk to the customer to them to cooperate and avoid unnecessary tech visits.
Webster’s dictionary defines apathy as “an absence of emotion, indifference”. You would never want to use apathy in talking with someone – it’s a sure way to get them to totally tune you out. An example of apathy would be like if you were talking to a prospect and they said they had lost their job and you replied with, “That’s exactly why you need to join me in this great business I have here so you can be making lots and lots of money.”
If you don’t show your prospect that you care about them and can offer a solution for them, they will stop listening and you have totally lost them.
Sympathy is defined as compassion, condolence and agreement. Sympathy is a call killer for many, many reasons. When that prospect tells you they lost their job and you say, “Oh .. I’m so sorry to hear that” your prospect will go on to tell you their horror story and why they cannot possibly afford whatever it is you have to offer and you have no choice but to agree with them.
Empathy’s definition in Webster’s is “sympathetic understanding”. How is that different from sympathy? Sounds like the same thing doesn’t it? Webster’s goes on to say “Both words involve the sharing of another person’s feelings. However, empathy is more restricted in its use, referring to the ability to imagine oneself in another’s situation.” With empathy, you’ve been there, done that, gone through what the customer has gone through --- BUT --- now you have a solution! When Joe tells you he lost his job, the empathic reply would be something like, “I know how you feel – when I lost my job I found … (this solution)” or “I totally understand how scary it is to lose your job after so many years. When that happened to me …. “
Do you see the difference? With apathy you don’t care at all = very short call, click, done, next. With sympathy you care too much but there’s nothing you can do about so = very long call crying over spilt milk. Empathy is the way to go. With empathy you show that you care, you show that you have been in a similar predicament, and you show that You have a solution. That is huge! Empires like Oprah’s are built on empathy – people love to know that they are not alone and there is a way fix this huge problem they have.
Empathy in Action
So how can you make empathy work for you when you are talking to prospects (or clients, or customers or even your own friends and family)? Use this simple formula:
I understand how ______ it is when ______. Follow that statement with what you did, or would do, to help them.
I understand how (use a word that describes how that person might be feeling) it is when (restate the caller’s issue). Follow that statement with what you did, or would do, to help them.
“I understand how confusing it is when you’re looking for a legitimate home-based business. When I was looking for one I found out …..”
I totally understand how frustrating it is when you need leads. The same thing happened to me so I joined MLSP and learned all the things I can do to create my own leads. Please click on my profile and I would be happy answer any questions.
It’s that easy!