Importance of Empathy


What is Empathy?

Empathy can be described as the ability to understand emotions, needs, and challenges another person is dealing with or might experience. It also includes the ability to imagine oneself in their position and offer them support and help.

Why is empathy important at the workplace?

All executives, staff and employees are the reason for the smooth running and operation of any firm or entity even if is it small or large. When employees are heard and recognized they naturally feel connected to the firm and that motivates them to go one step ahead to achieve the organizational goal.

At the workplace, empathy enables employees to build connections with her/his co-workers and leaders. This helps them to enhance their healthy relationship and performance. 

An empathetic leader can work with her or his colleagues from varying teams, departments or nationalities. It helps them increase their performance, practice openness, and provide solutions to any challenge that a fellow member is facing.

Thus, workplace empathy should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost for the company, as it not only benefits employees but also defines the great work culture of the firm, and that adds to the company’s growth and goodwill among all stakeholders.

Few ways leaders can be empathetic at the workplace:

  • To be curious and enquire about the overall well-being of employees.
  • Taking out extra time each week to identify stress arising out of workload and helping the colleague to recover from it.
  • Giving undivided attention to your team member or colleague while they speak or disclose their problems.
  • Match their suggestions and advice with current work assignments, which help think that their opinions are heard as well as considered.
  • Leaders can demonstrate the desire to offer help and support to an employee who has undergone a personal loss.

Why is empathy important in customer service interaction?

An empathetic approach towards customers is crucial in all industries especially those in service industries such as banking, insurance, hospitality, consulting and leasing services etc where companies frontline service employees directly interact with customers.

While service completion, the customer faces a technical difficulty in availing a service and finds that the company’s frontline representatives are blunt, unapproachable. It can lead to damage to the brand perception of customers. In the future, customers will be unwilling to repurchase the service from the same company.

There are observed phenomena, that if the frontline service agents of the company, have a caring, compassionate approach towards customers during every service interaction, chances are high that it will leave a pleasant impression on the customer and they will be loyal to the brand.

Customers will value the brand when customized solutions are offered to them, their needs are well understood and they are taken care of.

Therefore, companies should train their employees to offer a genuine empathetic attitude towards customers, which in turn will boost their sales and set them apart from other companies.

Few ways the company can incorporate empathy in customer service interaction:

  • Service agents can identify customer’s body language, gestures and offer them several empathetic phrases when they are availing of the service. (Example: empathetic of phrases used by a hospital nurse)
  • Through direct questionnaires and surveys of customers, the company can identify where they are lacking in the service and the customers’ expectations.
  • Note down and eliminate challenges faced by customers while placing an order (in the case of an E-commerce company) and provide an easy, quick
  • In case of delayed service or certain loss, service agents can guide, assure and empathize with the customer and immediately offer a so

Empathy is one of the most underrated qualities. Incorporating it at the workplace as well as in customer service can help many companies and their brand image. In turn, it helps the company as the customers believe that they are reliable and empathetic.

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