Allow for Human Error: Design in Empathy & Care

In my new Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from my online course, inspired by my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? Click here to learn more about the course and enroll. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video.

In Uganda, women entrepreneurs often experience a vicious, no-win cycle. They take out loans with such high rates, short cycles for repayment, and late-fee penalties that no matter how hard they work, they really never get ahead. Now that’s beginning to change. The Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme decided to give women entrepreneurs a chance by giving qualified women and extended grace period for repayment and improved loan terms based on how long the businesses have generated an income. Women who repay their loan within the first 12 months pay no interest.

Design to Deliver Empathy and Care

When we are vulnerable, we need understanding and empathy just like those women. We seek a human response. The Make Mom Proud Companies design in deliberate, warm, and caring responses to their customer’s most vulnerable moments.

For example, when Mercedes-Benz learns that a lessee of one of their vehicles have died, families receive assistance that says, “We know this is a tough time. We want to help.” Bereaved family members receive a condolence letter and a leather journal and a pen to help record all of the tasks ahead. And then, they offer grace.

Mercedes offers families a 10-day period to return the vehicle, in which all fees are suspended. And alternatively, the family can continue the lease, transferring it to a qualifying family member where all transfer fees are waived.

The Make-Mom-Proud companies proactively design responses that deliver empathy and care. These are actions and processes that become embedded in how the company does business. It’s how they weave humanity into their operating model.


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Implement Processes to Extend Grace

So to earn your place among those companies, think to yourself: Where can you offer grace? This is our opportunity to choose to build empathetic actions into our operating model, to wire in acts of kindness and humanity, and to have knowledge of customer frailties. Often, these frailties are what lead to new and innovative products and services.

Companies who design their businesses around their customer’s moments of need don’t also just rely on the frontline sales reps or customer service reps to sooth these issues with customers. Instead, they expand it to their entire operation. They listen across the entire organization for these opportunities. And then, they weave it in.

It’s part of how they do business. They build out new policies, new systems, new practices, and responses to be there when customers are vulnerable and in need.

How Will You Act?

So what are the moments when your customers are vulnerable? Can you design an empathy and care to take care of them?

Can you identify the opportunities across your customer journey where you can stand out by stepping up? When can you offer an extension of what your company stands for by operating differently than others?

The more grace and empathy you give, the more you’ll receive and the more your employees will love working for a company that extends grace because it’s the right thing to do.

The more grace and empathy you give, the more you'll receive and the more your employees will love working for a company that extends grace because it's the right thing to do. #CX #CustExp #MakeMomProud Share on X

How would your company act if every customer were your mom?

How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?

In her latest book, customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”

Learn More

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