When you practice customer empathy how do you know your approach is landing? Do you check on how your approach is perceived.
Sometimes when we think we are doing the right things it can be really hard to question if we are also doing it right.
Now for a story to illustrate it.
I went to the gym on Monday night to do my upper body workout. It’s been going well for me.
These days I do an upper body workout with weights. I do yoga for my lower body workout. I have a funky knee… and think a flow yoga class is a better for it.
The gym attendant approached me about joining a boot camp class that was about to start. It’s a new class and they are trying to drum up people to go to it. She felt comfortable approaching me, because I am there on a regular basis.
She was so enthusiastic that I went to talk to the boot camp leader to check it out.
I expressed concern about whether I should do the class because of my bad left knee. True I baby it, but I’m afraid of injuring it further.
On hearing me say I had a bad knee, the boot camp leader said… so does she. I whined about my age. She was older. I said I had meniscus surgery years ago. So did she. I said I now have arthritis. She does too.
What was different is she looked in better condition and is used to this type of class.
I know the class might help. But I was fearful of injuring the knee further.
Besides that, she triggered something for me. Her empathy fell flat.
I know this leader was trying to encourage me to do the class by opening up that she had similar concerns.
But it failed.
I didn’t feel my fear was heard. I felt my concerns were dismissed.
Still, I did the class anyway. I am fitter than I think, and I was able to do it. And was pleasantly surprised it didn’t bother me the next day.
So maybe I should go again next week. But… I’m not sure I want to do this class with this leader.
It’s good to use ourselves as examples for customers. It shows authenticity. It can show we understand. I’m using a “me” story in this note now! Everyone does it these days!
Yet. Our stories need to also be relatable and resonate.
We shouldn’t forget to do the other things that are a part of customer empathy. Listen. Acknowledge. Be curious. Let go of our bias. And pause on using our personal stories if they don’t fit.
What do you think?