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Get Personal: How Empathy Drives Sales

By Shaun Tinney
3 minute read | Last Updated: June 9, 2016

We don’t know how to empathize with numbers, but your site stats aren’t really numbers, they’re people.

Too often there is a disconnect between the people visiting a company’s website and the numbers that represent them in analytics.

For every bounce, page view, and conversion there is a person completing those actions. Often, in the course of a busy day/week/season, it’s easy to forget that when a bounce rate increases or conversion slips, your company’s website is failing a real person.

The numbers in analytics are a lagging indicator of how well your site is helping people get what they want. Instead of getting stuck reporting on numbers, start reporting on customers and how well your website serves them.

It is hard to empathize with a number. Many decisions made about websites are based solely on the analysis of numbers. This is a mistake. If you realize that those numbers represent people (and potential customers) that understanding paves the way to really improve any key performance indicator. By judging the success of your site on how well it helps your customers get what they want, you can work in a way that leads to sustainable revenue growth.

Using empathy to drive sales begins with personal experience and customer service. You can’t get that by looking at numbers. To get there, you’ll have to actually empathize with the customer experience you’re providing through your brand site.

Create a personal experience

When you check out at a retail store, a cashier typically asks if you found everything you were looking for. That doesn’t happen online. That personal connection is missing, and it is hard to replicate. To close this gap, we need a way to see our customers for who they are—people who are trying to do something important to them on our websites.

To begin creating a more personal experience on your site, focus on how you can help one person do something on your site. It’s a lot easier to think about helping one person find what they’re looking for than helping ten thousand. By focusing on only one person, it’s easier to see where sites fail, succeed, or just cruises along.

Improve your customer service

The experience you create for your customers is equivalent to the level of service you offer them. A customer will rate your site’s experience as good, neutral, or bad. By empathizing with the customer’s experience on your site, you’ll have a much more complete picture of how your site is performing than your site stats could ever provide. This change in mindset paves the way for better sites, improved customer experience, and increased brand revenues.

Customer service is a process that extends beyond someone answering calls from upset customers. It is a mindset. Serve your customers by thinking about them as people who are visiting your site with some goal in mind, and help them accomplish it. Stop thinking of your site as a project on a 2-3 year redesign cycle, and to start thinking of your site as a platform for customer service. The site is a way to connect with your customers by understanding and empathizing with them. That empathy is an ongoing process that leads to revenue growth by finding new ways to improve your site to better serve your customers.

Getting help

To help our clients make this shift, we’ve designed the Conversion Growth Program™. It is an ongoing and iterative program that is focused on aligning your customer’s experience and expectations with your brand, and continuing to raise the bar from that baseline.