What do Uber, Square, and Kahn Academy have in common? Sure, they’re all innovative digital businesses, but more importantly they infiltrated their industry with a revolutionizing secret weapon—empathy. The media likes to call companies like these “digital disrupters,” pushed to the consumer forefront by having empathy for customers dealing with bad systems and processes.

A little bit of empathy can go a long way, especially in CRM processes. In fact, an August 2016 report published by Gartner* indicates that, “Through 2020, businesses that deploy CRM technology in such a way that it reflects empathy toward the customer are three times more likely to fend off a digital disrupter.” However, in order to do this, organizations need to be fully committed to the customer experience from each individual department all the way to the top (yes, we’re talking to you, CEO). Everyone needs to understand how their individual interactions impact the holistic customer experience and set goals that optimize customer empathy.

Of course, in order to be empathetic towards customers, companies first need to understand what makes their audience tick. How might they do this? By tuning in to the voice of the customer and getting feedback directly from the source. From surveying customers to analyzing past customer service interactions, businesses have access to an abundance of valuable information, and it’s time they adopt the right approach to harnessing it and putting it to use.

In making empathy a company-wide initiative, organizations should strive to engage with customers, employees, partners, and prospects in the same manner. Conveying empathy across distinct groups is only possible with software that is designed to foster this shared understanding. Analyst Michael Maoz writes, “Bad software design is a sure signal that the business, whether covertly, overtly, implicitly or explicitly, lacks empathy for the employee or customer.”

Sure, artificial intelligence and machine learning are game-changing technologies, but without consideration of customer empathy, your business can’t leap forward. The better you understand your customer, the stronger your business will be. And the more you employ empathy in your tool selection and processes, the more everybody wins.

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*Gartner CRM Applications Will Fail Without Consideration of Customer Empathy, Maoz, Michael, August 22, 2016