I know its poor English and bad grammar but “getting got” by another person is simply one of the very best feelings in the world!
We’ve been doing a lot of mystery shopper calls for clients this month and one thing we’ve noticed seriously lacking in our fast-paced, over-booked, high-production world is personal connection and empathy. Empathy, not to be confused with sympathy. Dictionary definitions compare sympathy with commiseration and agreement while empathy is likened to deep understanding or vicarious experience with another. In other words, when we sympathize we feel the same but when we empathize we understand and acknowledge … even if we disagree or retain a different perspective.
Countless times a patient will say something that provides a perfect opportunity to connect but goes unnoticed or unrealized. Statements such as “I just moved to the area” or “My co-worker told me to call you” unlock the door of conversation and connection, but we are the ones who must push the door open and walk in. Return comments such as “Where did you move from?”, “How do you like it here so far?” or “How long have you and Sara worked together at ABC company?” are ways of seizing the moment and quickly making a connection which communicates to the client that you see them as a human being, not simply an appointment, procedure, or dollar bill.
Likewise, when a patient expresses discomfort or deep concern about something, taking two seconds to communicate empathy is huge! Before you immediately get them scheduled or ask if they have insurance, let them know you heard them and more importantly “get them” and their circumstance. Empathize by saying, “I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with this…” or “That must have been very hard for you to not sleep well because of this discomfort. Let’s see what we can do to get this taken care of for you quickly.”
Statements like these don’t take long but they have long-lasting positive effects on relationships. They communicate to a client or even a loved one, I heard you…. I got you… I understand.
When people “get gotten,” relationship is strengthened… and when relationship is strengthened, loyalty has begun. This week, look for opportunities to “see” your clients, patients, and family and make sure they feel very well “gotten.”
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“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”