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“Empathy is about standing is someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” Daniel H. Pink
It’s a beautiful sentiment and so true—and yet so challenging sometimes.
Navigating the world of financial services is difficult. For most members, coming to or contacting the credit union is an activity they have to do rather than one they want to do. They find themselves temporarily without a job, or having reduced hours, or worse yet, wondering how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. It generates anxiety and stress. And when things don’t go as planned, or something doesn’t work as promised, emotions are heightened and logic can go out the window.
On the other hand, when things are going really well, and the member expresses positive emotion around the situation, empathizing enables you to reinforce the member’s positive feelings toward you and the credit union.
Demonstrating empathy for how someone feels is a powerful way to build strong, trusting relationships.
Empathy takes practice and awareness, and it’s not for every situation. You can break it down into three parts:
Consider these examples:
Sometimes you don’t even need to get that fancy if the situation is clear—just be yourself.
Keep the following tips in mind when you’re talking with members and concentrating on being empathetic:
Remember, infusing empathy into your conversations with members is an important way to create exceptional member experiences. When you build stronger bonds with members, they’re more likely to see you as their trusted financial partner and remain loyal to your credit union.
CARLA SCHRINNER is implementation manager and senior master trainer for CUNA’s Creating Member LoyaltyTM (CML) program. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.