Farmers HelpPoint Majors In Empathy


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rear_end_collision_1_When a customer goes through a difficult experience, there’s one quality that customer service professionals must lean heavily upon.  That quality is empathy.  When emotions are running high, what better time to make an emotional connection with a customer?

On a recent commute home, I was merging onto the freeway when the car in front of me jammed on their brakes.  Clearly not having enough time to stop without hitting them, I swerved left into the next lane.  It was at that point that I nearly hit the center divide.  I corrected to the right, lost control of my car, spun 180 degrees across the freeway and hit the guard rail facing oncoming traffic.  Miraculously, I didn’t hit anyone.

Unfortunately, someone was rear-ended as they were avoiding me.  My car was all but totaled in the accident which isn’t saying much considering it was a 2002 Honda Civic with 175,000 miles.  Fortunately, no one sustained serious injury but we were all quite rattled as a result of the experience.

After giving my story to the highway patrol and heading home, the next step was to call my insurance company and begin the claims process.  I called Farmers Insurance and was lucky enough to be connected with Marva.  After leading with the line “I was just in an accident and need to file a claim,” she instantly responded with “I am so sorry to hear that.  Is everyone ok?”

As someone who probably files claims all day every day, I am sure Marva was extensively trained to respond this way.  Let’s not be too quick to give the trainers all of the credit here though.  At the end of the day on a Friday, it becomes all too easy to recite a script and speak the empathy language without inserting the proper feeling and tone of voice.  It takes a true professional to calm my nerves and help me feel like even my insurance company is on my side.

I am grateful to Marva and Farmers for leading first with empathy and then worrying about the details only AFTER making that meaningful connection with me.

Remember that empathy is both a product of excellent training to recognize emotional cues from customers and a result of customer service professionals choosing to sense a need and respond with the right amount of feeling and sincerity.

Stay tuned for part two where I shop for a new car and some lessons learned along the way.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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