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Majority of CX Experts Believe Customer Empathy is Necessary to Create Business Value, But Employers Views Differ: Alida Study

While 91% of CX professionals believe that empathy is necessary for defining and implementing CX improvements, only 36% said their organizations do

Alida, a leader in Total Experience Management (TXM), has published a new research report, Empathy in Action: The Business Value of Customer Empathy, conducted together with Bodine & C., and the Customer Experience Professionals Association. According to the study, a whopping 91% of respondents personally believe that empathy is necessary or helpful, while only 36% said that the organizations they work for agree that empathy is a necessity for customer experience (CX) improvements.

The study surveyed nearly 200 CX consultants and in-house practitioners to understand their views on the value of empathy in their work. When it comes to the notion of creating business value through empathy, 72% of in-house respondents noted that customer empathy is necessary to create business value, but only 30% said their organizations do.

“The past two years have shown us that empathy is essential and should be a core value in every single organization. The customer experience field has seen and believes in the benefits of empathy,” said Ross Wainwright, CEO of Alida. “However, our research has shown that there is a significant disconnect between how practitioners view the role of empathy in their day-to-day work and the role of empathy as a broader tool in their organizations to drive action and deliver business outcomes.”

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“However, our research has shown that there is a significant disconnect between how practitioners view the role of empathy in their day-to-day work and the role of empathy as a broader tool in their organizations to drive action and deliver business outcomes.”

The further research delved into how in-house CX practitioners perceived their organizations’ effectiveness at helping employees develop empathy. Just over half of respondents regarded their organizations as effective at helping senior leaders develop customer empathy. The reported efficacy was only slightly better when it came to middle management and staff-level employees. Additionally, over a third of the in-house practitioners said their organizations don’t understand the business value of customer empathy — and 65% stated that their organizations don’t measure it.

“Empathy is a deceptively simple word. The human connection it represents has woven itself into boardrooms and business meetings, team calls, and customer interviews. While it can help us all better understand one another, our research has demonstrated the challenges and limitations of taking an emotion-based approach to CX programs,” said Kerry Bodine. “But there is a path forward — companies must balance the feelings evoked through customer insights with the actions colleagues can take for both improving the customer experience and driving business results. Our report provides a solution for an action-focused approach to customer empathy.”

This research explores the important — yet misunderstood and undervalued — topic of empathy, digs into the challenges we face as an industry, and points towards a more balanced path of empathy in action to guide our future work. Empathy is a critical ingredient in the development of successful and profitable customer experiences when balanced with a bias to action.

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