In the book The Art of Possibility Benjamin Zander, musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, talks about how having negative experiences in our life can make us better professionals.
He recounts working with a young tenor who came to talk to him in despair because he had lost his girlfriend.
Zander says that he consoled him, but secretly the teacher in him was delighted because finally he would be able to fully express the passion of losing the beloved one in Schubert’s song Die Winterreise, something he’d been unable to do before, probably because the only thing that he’d lost so far was a pet goldfish.
Whatever you lose today, whatever you miss, whatever hurts you, doesn’t just make you stronger; it also makes you more human, more able to connect to other peoples’ feelings and experiences.
Empathy is at the core of every single business that wants to be relevant to its customers. Knowing how to respond when the parcel with your customer’s present to her grandmother hasn’t arrived on time, when your customer is facing a huge debt or when the website isn’t working is a matter of providing not the best solution but the best empathic solution. As much as your customer wants an answer, she also wants empathy.
Good customer service should be about both.