It may be time to trade in the traditional brand voice for a more adaptive, empathetic approach to communication that puts the customer’s language and style, not your brand’s, at the center. Have you ever noticed that when speaking to another person, you tend to automatically mirror their body language? For self-service knowledge to work, the main tool for building empathy is mirroring language. Use the same words your customers do, in the way they use them, so they are assured you really understand their problems. Be empathetic and simple. For example, if I’m having a “screen freeze” but your knowledge base is talking about “occasional timeouts” because that’s how you discuss the issue internally, will I find the solution article? Ultimately, if I’m left frustrated and lost in your well-intentioned, but off-target, language, it will cost your organization in NPS scores, loyalty and satisfaction. But this strategy has even further implications than simple word matching. Does your content strategy have room to be more empathetic and mirror your customer’s language? If it does, take a hard look at how you can be simplifying and rephrasing the content in your knowledge base.
We’ve all heard that writing according to the company style guide is good for customers because it creates brand voice consistency. But does that still apply when customers are looking for help? When it comes to self-service, the brand voice can often be tone deaf. It may be time to trade in the traditional brand voice for a more adaptive, empathetic approach to communication that puts the customer’s language and style, not your brand’s, at the center.
The customer’s voice is what matters.
When customers are in the middle of a support issue and are searching for answers, they’re not thinking in your brand language, technical jargon or corporate-speak. They’re framing their problem in their own, often frustrated, imprecise, messy terms.
One task of self-service knowledge is to close the gap between a customer’s framing of their problem and your solution. To do this, you need to remove obstacles to communication and understanding. That means meeting your customers on every possible channel and speaking with them the same way they speak to you — as one person to another, possibly informally, possibly idiomatically and always empathetically.
Empathy is key.
Psychology tells us that to build trust and credibility with fellow humans — which is the essence of effective support — we have to be empathetic.
The way we do this in real life is by mirroring one another’s behavior and language. Have you ever noticed that when speaking to another person, you tend to automatically mirror their body language? If your friend tilts her head to the left, you might do it too. We also tend to repeat each other’s words and phrases to demonstrate that we’re…