I’m currently enrolled in IMC637, Internal Communications. This is a class I highly recommend because it pertains to so many things we all deal with every day, not just at work, but with all of our relationships. This week is our final discussion question which asked us to choose a key factor or concept that we found from the class that intrigued us. We were also asked to explain how we would use it in either our personal or professional lives. While the thoughts below are just my opinion, I think the idea is something that every public relations person should always keep in the forefront of their minds when dealing with clients, customers or employees.
As for this week’s discussion topic, there are so many things that have peaked my interest. The one thing that absolutely intrigues me, however, are the organizations that feel making and keeping employees happy is the key to success. As we have discussed throughout class, good customer service comes from the interactions between the customer and employees.
We have discussed several things that are necessary to create good customer service, but I found an article, that for me, sums it up entirely. “There is no shortage of advice, opinion, theory and technology around the practice of customer service. Some of it good, much of it not. But none of it — none of it — will result in a truly exceptional customer service environment if it isn’t built around one simple word: Empathy” (Hess, 2012).
Empathy is two-fold. It’s not just about the employees having empathy for the customers, but also the company having empathy for its employees. “In the workplace, empathy can show a deep respect for co-workers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale and loyalty. Empathy is a powerful tool in the leadership belt of a well-liked and respected executive” (Pressley, 2012).
This doesn’t mean that leaders should be push-overs. What it means is that an effective work environment begins with leaders that “like people, enjoy working with and helping others [and] value people as individuals” (Pressley, 2012). This management style produces a better work atmosphere as well as allowing the leadership to deal easier with difficult internal situations when they arise.
Even though we haven’t specifically discussed empathy, I believe we have been discussing it throughout the class. In order to be an effective manager, in order to create a strong crisis management plan, in order to communicate effectively with customers, empathy must be a part of the thought process that goes into all of those interactions.
Regarding how I plan to use this in my personal and professional life, I would like to think that when I’m dealing with anyone, including family, friends, colleagues or customers, I would keep this thought in mind before reacting. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our frustrations over having to deal with difficult people we forget that they may going through a rough time. They may have a legitimate reason for their concerns and while we aren’t necessarily the cause of their issue, we may be the first person in their line of sight.
The following questions are a good example of what we should keep in mind when we are providing customer service, creating crisis management plans or dealing with internal communication:
- “How does the person I’m trying to help feel?
- How would I feel if I were that person?
- No matter the request or the “rules,” is there something I can/should do to help?
- What would I expect to be done for me if the roles were reversed?
- In the end, what would make this customer satisfied or (better yet) happy, and is there any reason I can’t do it or find someone who can?” (Hess, 2012).
These can have an impact on the outcome of any situation, whether I’m management, an employee or a customer.