Empathy is hard. It’s hard to imagine being someone else, e.g. doing the job of a surgeon where life or death situations arise, literally. I wonder how it’s like to extend someone’s life while not being able to do so for another.
How does one make sense of it? I imagine there exists the extreme of becoming arrogant, thinking of yourself like a God whose might rises above the power of common mortal beings. And then I imagine another extreme, the one of reaching deep wisdom and connection with all other sentient beings, an insight about gratitude and the vast space of knowledge that is still to be explored.
It is inspiring to meet the second kind.
If I had to name one aspect that impacts marketing success the most, I’d choose empathy.
You’ll never be able to be in your audience’s shoes, feel exactly what they feel, think exactly what they think, mimic exactly their worldview. But you can use your imagination to fill the gap, in order to create the kind of marketing that will serve your audience.
A good exercise is to imagine imaging why people who do not buy from you choose to do so and why for them this might be the right choice. It’s easy to say “they just don’t get it”, much harder to empathise with the reasons for their choices.
Yesterday I’ve been reminded that there are selling-buying relationships that benefit, even require, to go beyond a mere transaction. What had happened?
A monthly parking card, at the Zagreb trade fair premises, got swallowed by the apparatus which is supposed to give the card back before one is leaving the parking lot. It has worked properly in numerouses instances before, not yesterday, though. Two days later, when I came back to park at the same place, I enquired as to what could be done. A friendly clerk gave me some valuable advice and directed me to an office named “Office for security”.
After a “This is Yugoslavia” public company office reality type of throwback moment, the two clerks in the office were smoking (it must be decades since I last experienced such a scene here in Zagreb), I got brushed off by saying “There’s nothing we can do. You should notice that on the apparatus that swallowed your ticket there is a button. You need to press that button and someone will help you.” The problem was nobody had responded to that button but they wouldn’t have any of that. 0 empathy, 0 care.
An opportunity passed to prove customer satisfaction matters, to be seen and lend a helping hand, turn a negative into a positive experience. Granted, it’s nothing major but the obvious neglect was disappointing. I wonder how AI will impact customer service. Will it become better or worse? Will we loose opportunities for human connection?