Most people have an innate ability to be empathetic, but organizations tend to dampen this natural instinct. While a typical customer interaction cuts across many functional groups (a single purchase, for instance, may include contact with decisions by product management, sales, marketing, accounts payable, and legal organizations), companies push employees to stay focused on their functional areas. This myopic view is often reinforced by incentives focused on narrow domains, which creates a perceived chasm between customer empathy and employee success.
After examining much of the academic, medical, and business research on the topic of empathy, we developed a simple model for enhancing empathy that we call Perceive-Reflect-Adjust:
- Perceive: Understand how someone else feels
- Reflect: Examine how your actions affect those feelings
- Adjust: Make changes to improve how someone else feels
P-R-A is a helpful model to follow for triggering individual empathy,
but how can organizations apply P-R-A within their operations? By infusing it across the four customer experience core competencies: