Compassion: The Key to Peace and Understanding in These Dire Times
The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to rely on digital platforms more than ever, and most companies have ramped up their call centres to accommodate the volume of calls being received. After all, now that the majority of people are studying from home or working from home, it means the more time they have to actually reach out to customer service agents for issues with their deliveries, refunds, or payments, whether by phone call or chat instead of merely relying on emails.
According to a recent global survey by Salesforce, consumers have higher expectations with customer service during these dire times caused by the virus. They expect companies to provide them with seamless customer service engagement as much as they expect them to deliver a high-quality product or service. In addition, about 70 percent of them expect companies to demonstrate empathy.
Empathy is a word that gets thrown around these days a lot, but we can’t truly say we have a full grasp of it. For the customer service industry, empathy is the cornerstone of customer service excellence. Consumers seek more than helpful but robotic replies to their issues. Instead, they want an empathetic ear to understand what they are going through. It is by practicing empathy that customer service agents can say they are doing well in their jobs.
And empathy isn’t merely for the customer service industry. It’s also extremely relevant and important in everyday situations, like when one of your classmates is dreading failing a major subject or one of your neighbours is suffering from a serious illness. If you’re one who’s developed your empathetic sense, then being compassionate is something that can easily follow.
Here are tips on how you can develop compassion in your daily life:
- Practice self-compassion.
Everything starts with you, and it’s no different when you are cultivating your compassionate side. It’s always ideal to be self-aware, especially with those things that we know we have to improve on, but there’s a thin line in self-realization and self-over-criticism. You have to be kind to yourself, and know that even when things are tough, you are doing your best.
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes.
It’s easy to get caught up in stress these days, when the life that you have been so used to has taken a 180-degree turn. Who would have imagined that it’s normal now to stand in the supermarket checkout line longer than before? If you easily grow impatient standing in line longer than you expect, think of the cashiers who have to do meticulous work to ensure your health and safety, as well as other people’s. Because of COVID-19, cashiers have to ensure they are practicing cleaning protocols with the register after each customer, and knowing that, you can sacrifice waiting a few minutes longer than before.
- Be kind but don’t brag about it.
Doing acts of kindness like volunteering to pack food packages for food banks are indeed laudable, but resist the temptation to post about it on your social media accounts to generate more likes. Being kind should not be about getting attention or pleasing people. It should be about helping those who are in need of help, and making sure that job is done well.
- Don’t make assumptions.
When someone approaches you on the street and asks for your help, do you at least stop to hear what the person has to say or do you walk away without giving it a moment’s thought? Too many times we’re so embroiled with our daily tasks that we tend to ignore other people because we’ve already assumed they are going to ask for help we can’t provide or that they are faking being in need of help in the first place. Don’t make assumptions and give the person a chance to be heard. It’s only taking a few seconds of your time.
- Be present.
When we’re helping others, how many of us can truly say that we’re in the moment? Sometimes, we might be doing our volunteer work, but at the same time, we’re reaching out to friends or family, asking them what their plans are for the evening so you can get together or checking celebrity news on Instagram. If we truly want to help others, we have to avoid all distractions and be there with them with our 100% self.
Life has become more difficult, but that’s no excuse to be hard on yourself and others. Practice compassion, and it will pave the way for a world that’s easier to cope with for all of us.