“You have two assets that you cannot have a business without – customers and employees,” said Natalie Petohoff. “However, it is not on the balance sheet and we do not design experiences to maximize its potential.”
working d. Petohoff on business consulting and customer experience value, as well as sales enablement, with the executive team at Genesys, a CX cloud platform. Her new book, co-written with Genesys CEO and Chairman Tony Bates, argues that empathy is key to solving employee experience challenges (CX and EX).
Empathy at workAvailable next month from IdeaPress, it’s no quick effort to read and ignore. It’s a great volume boosting encouragement for empathic marketing with detailed advice on how to push a business into the maturity curve, from transactional marketing, through interaction and engagement, to empathy. The book shows how to remove the “blind spots,” how to increase the lifelong value of a customer and employee, and how to focus on business value based on empathy – increasing financial success by focusing on the customer and employee; Put it, in fact, on the balance sheet.
A history of efficiency
It almost goes without saying that work history is not a history of empathy but a history of competence. “What companies did — and this historical footprint goes back to the first industrial revolution — is to focus on efficiency and employee and customer cost,” Betohoff said. “Henry Ford made one model, didn’t he? There was no choice or customization. We kind of worked on this historical footprint of efficiency and effectiveness at any cost.”
While everyone is talking about the CX (and increasingly the EX too), the promise is not yet fulfilled. “Part of the reason it isn’t presented is the perspective from which we create those experiences. We are all customers and employees and we all have those experiences that make us stop and say, ‘What do they think?'” That’s awful. The point of the book is to say, ‘Stop doing that – it just doesn’t make any sense.’ The employees are voting with their feet now. Betohoff notes that clients are ‘mouse voting’.
“Most of us take a business-centric view of how to create an experience, whether it’s for the customer or the employee,” Betohoff said. Companies continue to focus on providing products and services, which are often commodity, rather than great experiences. Of course there are exceptions: “You look at companies like Airbnb or Netflix or Tesla — they’ve created the experience economy. We all expect great experiences, and yet it’s interesting how hard it is for companies to go their own way.”
The true meaning of sympathy
To understand the concept of affective experiences, it is first necessary to understand empathy. Don’t confuse it with empathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else’s misfortune. Empathy is taking their place. You can be empathetic without being empathetic (“I’m sorry what you’re going through – I can’t imagine what it looked like”).
In other words, empathy is not just about caring and compassion. “For us, ’empathy’ means looking at something from someone else’s point of view,” said Petuhoff — and the book emphasizes this: “It is a conscious decision to focus on someone else’s needs from their point of view, not yours. For business, it means that all of its people, operations, strategies, leadership, and technology are aligned with the viewpoint of customers and employees—not that of the company” (p. 301).
And yes, getting to that point requires some serious transformation.
Engaging in acts of empathy
Bitter grain brands need to swallow and are shifting their focus from cutting costs to increasing revenue. Both are ways to generate incremental profits, but the former often comes with customer attrition—and now more than ever, employee attrition. Other blind spots include prioritizing investors over customers, failing to invest in technology that can deliver customized experiences at scale, failing to leverage data effectively, consistent business plans, and a consistent management style alike.
Petouhoff and Bates’s “Force-Multiplier Flywheel” is a useful model to start thinking about what to change. Somewhat reminiscent of HubSpot’s flywheel model, which has been proposed as an alternative to traditional funnels, this release includes detailed advice on how to drive empathy. The four syllables of a constantly spinning wheel are called listening, understanding, predicting, acting, and learning. The listening input is a set of empathy-based business values - company value based on empathy, culture based on empathy, leadership based on empathy, technology based on empathy – and the output from the flywheel should be an ongoing disruption based on empathy.
Another model, in turn, supports the way in which the brand can improve and develop the flywheel. This one is called OODA Loop and it is based on a strategy developed to train fighter pilots. OODA – Observe, direct, decide, and act. Most of these categories should be self-explanatory, but “orientation” in this context refers to measuring the experiences of your existing customers and employees against those of your competitors.
An increasingly visible component of empathetic customer experiences is a sense of community, something B2C brands can build, of course, through social media channels, but also something of increasing importance in the B2B space that is more and more about long-term relationships with customers and help. in solving customer problems. “I’m working on a community here at Genesys called Beyond — it’s in its infancy right now,” Betohoff said. “We have content for managers and agents, but my next job at Genesys is to build this online community with thought leadership and content, a place where people can come and learn.”
Read next: Why community can be the next big thing in marketing
Epidemic as context
Among the myriad other things that have accelerated the pace of the epidemic over the past two years is the feeling that marketing needs empathy, that it needs to speak – in an appropriate tone – with people’s needs and interests; It doesn’t just exist to drive the lead down the selling funnel. In other words, conversions top transactions, and even in the B2B space buyers are looking for relevant and emotional engagement, not just a sales call.
Read next: What a strange, long year in digital marketing
Bates and Bethoff could not have foreseen this when they set out on their journey. “I was hired in October 2019,” she said. “I met Tony and started talking to him about ‘I would really like to write a book that would change work forever.’” Bates asked her what that would look like. “Empathy—whether you’re in a relationship, a friend, or a company—it creates trust and it creates loyalty. Now here comes 2020. We may have been lucky, I don’t know. “