Simplr Responsiveness vs. Empathy

In CX, Do You Have to Choose Between Responsiveness or Empathy? The Experts Say No


When it comes to being ultra-fast with CX responses or being super-relatable in customer interactions, why should brands feel forced to choose?

One of the most frustrating parts of managing customer experience is the sense that everything is somehow a trade-off. There tends to be an underlying question nagging at CX decision-makers that sounds a lot like, ‘If we do X, what do we have to sacrifice?’ And when you have to make trade-offs in your CX, the outcome is almost always going to result in your customers feeling neglected.

This concept of the CX trade-off was the focus of a recent webinar hosted by Simplr, which focused the push-and-pull between responsiveness and empathy. When it comes to being ultra-fast with responses or being super-relatable with customer interactions, why should brands feel forced to choose?

In a conversation packed with insights and inspiration, Justin Cruz, Senior Client Success Manager at Stella Connect spoke with Anastasia Zdoroviak, Senior Manager of Customer Experience at Doordash and with Jenny Dempsey, Customer Experience Manager at NumberBarn, about responsiveness vs. empathy in CX, and why brands may not have to choose one or the other.

The webinar is now on-demand for your viewing pleasure, but if you need the movie trailer version of what you’ll see when you hit the play button, read on.

IN A WORLD… (just kidding)

On the imperative for lightning-fast responsiveness in CX…

Anastasia highlighted how most inbound support requests are usually driven by a customer problem or defect in the experience your brand is providing to the customer, so the faster the better. As she put it, making people wait on top of being in a negative mindset will only worsen the experience.

Jenny and Justin both echoed this sentiment, explaining that the customer is a real person with a real life on the other side of the interaction – they just want their issue resolved because they have other things to do.

On the need to prioritize empathy in CX interactions…

Jenny shared a viewpoint that “empathy doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with the customer.” Instead, empathy is about understanding the customer’s truth, really hearing them, and then doing what is possible to make things better. And of course, this is all magnified by the fact that we’re all going through a pandemic together.

Anastasia added that empathy in CX also means learning from each interaction and mistake in order to win back and build trust with customers. As she said, ‘We want to learn from every interaction – what was the root cause of that bad experience so it doesn’t happen again? … One of the best investments is empathetic responses and actually listening and understanding what our customers need from us.”

On the struggle to choose between prioritizing responsiveness or empathy…

Jenny talked about the importance of having a culture that prioritizes both responsiveness and empathy so that this is understood from the executives through to individual agents. As she put it, brands need to make sure agents “have the right resources to have answers for customers when needed but prioritize empathy in the culture – and the way you deliver answers.”

When it comes to culture, Anastasia explained how the way CX and support are viewed internally are important. “Customer support is not a cost center – it’s an investment center. You’re either losing your customer or keeping your customer with support,” she said. As she continued, she summed up the CX trade-off conundrum when she said, “The reality is your customers want it to be fast and empathetic. They want both, so they need you to find the balance. It’s achievable.”

Ultimately, Anastasia, Jenny, and Justin all agreed: brands shouldn’t have to feel forced to choose between responsiveness and empathy in CX.

If you’ve been feeling like you’re caught in the middle of a fast vs. relatable CX trade-off, we’ve got good news: this doesn’t have to be an either-or choice.