Empathy in service – the human factor in digital servitization.

As a result of a master’s thesis at the Institute of Marketing at the Karl Franzens University in Graz, a selected group of experts from our SSC member companies recently met at the KNAPP headquarters to exchange ideas in a focus group discussion about empathy in service.

First of all, the change in empathic behaviour during the Corona pandemic was explained, and it came out strongly that due to the countless new communication channels, it is becoming more and more important to put oneself in the other person’s shoes. The main outcome of the discussion was the realisation that empathy is channel-independent, but context- and situation-dependent. Not every person is equally sensitive, but regardless of the communication channel used, empathy should always be shown to the other person.

Among other things, there was also an exchange about how the companies themselves deal with empathy. Is it lived, learned or already present in the companies? On the one hand, some companies focus on this factor during the hiring process, while on the other hand some companies prefer to transport empathy through the corporate culture

Exciting insights were also gained in dealing with the topic of artificial intelligence and chatbots. These chatbots can already be “fed” with certain personas, as a result of that, it recognises at which point during the interaction with the customer it is better to hand over the communication to a real person. In addition, the behaviour of the chatbot is adapted to the character traits of the counterpart, which means that excellent communication is guaranteed because of the personas defined in advance. This relieves the support team, for example.

Our conclusion: The empathy factor is an essential part of service and will become increasingly important in the future. Many thanks to all participants for the exciting and informative afternoon. The SSC is already looking forward to a follow-up meeting!