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Empathetic Customer Service: Your Product is Not Your Only Currency

Let’s talk about empathetic customer service.

As a parent, you sometimes need to keep secrets. My nearly 2-year-old son has a stuffed brontosaurus that he loves. He hasn’t seen it for a few days. That’s because Dad found it collapsed outside in the front yard, missing an eyeball. It seems dogs love dinos, too.

To head off an international incident, I got on the website of the stuffed animal company. But I couldn’t find an exact replacement dino. So I filled out their web form and explained the situation.

The phone rang, less than an hour later.

“I understand you’ve got a little dog situation on your hands.”

I laughed and connected with this understanding Mighty Toy company representative. She said that the dino I needed was sold only in a pack of four other dinos. But, she added, “I am happy to give you a promotion code for 50% off, and I’m sorry that this happened.”

I was impressed. In 2019, to get a call at all from a web form of a large company is a major outlier. But to have one in under an hour? By a person who had taken the time to read my note, understand it, and call with a solution? That’s sadly very rare.

I took her promotion code, and ended up buying the deluxe four-dino set, complete with a little house for them all to live in. I gave it to my son last night, and he was thrilled that his dino now had friends. Mission accomplished. Now, just help me keep my secret. 🙂

The company was under no obligation to do anything for me. But they did a lot. Sure, the rep gave me a 50%-off promo code. We’ve all done that in service to our customers, and price wasn’t an issue for me, because the transaction needed to happen. But the value she really gave to me was in the personal effort she expended on my behalf. I wouldn’t be writing about it if I’d received just a promo code.

Too often, we think that our product is all we have to solve problems and influence people. Your product is not your only currency.

Time for you to implement. It’s Ron’s Monday Mission™:

Consider how empathetic customer service might improve your customer interactions. Take your product out of the mix for a moment. What other value do you currently provide (or could you provide) that would be meaningful to the customer, but cost you little, or better yet, nothing? Would these things inspire a customer to write about you as I’ve done above? Discuss with your team.



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I'm Ron Evans. I dramatically improve individual and organizational performance. If you found today's topic intriguing and want to apply it to your situation, I'll brainstorm with you. The few who follow through and take me up on my offer will benefit greatly. Strike while the iron is hot! 


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