It doesn’t take an expert in marketing to understand that the business world can be cutthroat. Leaders are always looking out for the company’s best interest and without that vigilant business acumen important opportunities might be missed. It’s a dog eat dog, business eat business world out there.
Given this, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that many companies are taking a fresh look at how they can be more empathetic. It turns out, empathy can be a powerful driver of strong relationships, trust, and ultimately business success and longevity. Building a workplace that cares and sharing that with customers can drive sales and strengthen brand loyalties.
Creating empathy in the workplace might be a little different than you might imagine it though. For instance, you might not initially think that technology could be much of a factor, but you’d be wrong. In fact technology is at the core of creating a more empathetic environment both in the workplace itself and in an outward facing manner that can have a real impact on customers.
Building a Workplace that Cares
The idea that work shouldn’t just be about showing up and giving your life away to a company has really taken off in recent years. Employees are recognizing that they need more from a company than a steady paycheck. They need fulfillment and support. They want a company that empathizes with their life situation and works to meet in the middle.
Shockingly, most company leaders aren’t resisting this. The rise in flexible work schedules, job perks, and paid benefits has been marked in the past handful of years. The reasoning is simple: happier employees are more productive, cost the company less, improve overall retention, and actually contribute indirectly to greater marketing fodder.
One example of how building empathy in the workplace plays out is through employee wellness programs. The programs encourage employees to take time to exercise and eat healthier. In many ways, it allows the company to improve productivity and experience a plethora of other benefits while still recognizing that their employees are genuinely benefitting. Many employees feel like they are more supported by their company, both mentally and physically.
Where Tech Comes In
Tech has a big role to play in creating an empathetic workplace environment and helping to solve problems. Continuing with the employee wellness program example, just because an employee wellness program exists, doesn’t mean that employees are immediately going to take to it. Incorporating technologies such as employee wellness software can help with changing workplace culture and helping employees check in mentally and physically for support systems.
Many companies now also offer techy perks like subsidized wearable tech that can encourage employees to exercise more. Some companies even go through the effort of gamifying the experience such as by creating competitions related to exercise goals like most flights of stairs climbed or steps taken in a given time period. Others offer free subscriptions to app services that allow employees to track their progress or set up mental health breaks throughout the day.
Tech can also come into the employee-customer interface in positive ways. For instance, chat bots are a technology that can take some of the pressure off of employees by collecting initial information and funneling customers towards the answer they need without the help of another person. From the customer perspective, this can be a great way to get to a subject expert without having to speak with a bunch of different people.
How It All Impacts Customers
Building a workforce that is more empathetic and supportive goes well beyond the employees in the office. As previously mentioned, happier, healthier employees are likely to be more productive. But they are also more likely to have positive interactions with customers and more likely to express their personal endorsement of the brand in their private lives, which can increase the pool of prospective customers.
More than that, the use of technology to express greater empathy also works with building greater brand loyalty. For example, technologies such as big data can help businesses understand their customer base better and ultimately find more ways to make meaningful connections. These connections, based on a real effort to relate to potential customers, can be a powerful means of building lasting loyalties.
Other up and coming technologies such as SMS and other types of mobile marketing can make customers feel as though they are creating a more personal connection with the brand. Things like customized coupons based on previous spending or even just check-ins about upcoming sales can make potential customers feel valued.
Today, many businesses are embracing the idea of incorporating empathy into the workplace. Creating a more empathetic environment benefits the company by helping to support employees and creating a stronger relationship with potential customers. Technology plays a key role in how much of the empathetic strategies play out whether that be through helping employees track their wellness benefits or connecting with customers with personalized ads.
About the Author: Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and a passion for tech, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happily and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled throughout the United States and continues expanding his awareness and experiences. He is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea when he is not writing.