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Customer Empathy

Business is about people selling goods and service to other people. All people-to-people interactions, and especially business interactions, require empathy. The issue thus becomes, how much customer empathy do you, as the small business manager, have towards your customers, both existing customers as well as potential customers?

Before proceeding, we should be clear about what empathy is. Empathy is not sympathy or feeling sorrow or pity towards someone. Empathy is truly trying to understand and appreciate how someone else is thinking, what their motivations are, and why they are acting the way they are acting. Empathy does not mean that you agree with them, but that you understand and appreciate their motivations and thoughts as best as one can. Empathy is truly trying to walk a mile in another’s shoes.

As a small business owner, you know a lot about your products or services. You are passionate about your products or services. You likely live and breathe your products and services. Now what about your customers? What about your potential customers who have never heard of you or your business? What do your customers really know about your products and services, versus what you are assuming they know? How passionate are your customers about your business? Do your customers live and breathe your business?

While it is awesome that you are knowledgeable and passionate about your business, that knowledge and passion by itself will not make your business a success. However, understanding, and developing an empathy towards your customers, both existing and potential customers, will give you, the small business manager, valuable insights into how to make it easier for customers to beat a path to your door and buy. It is not complicated; it is just common sense. Empathy is a powerful small business tactic.

Rick and Dan are the authors of Small Business Finance and Valuation, published by Business Expert Press. You can find it here


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