The woman on the other end of the line at the call centre hesitates. The change in her tone of tells me she doesn’t know the answer to my question. She hesitates. I hear the doubt in her voice. She’s having to go off script, and she’s terrified. She’s trained to answer only certain queries…

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A restaurant host has one job to do—meet and greet diners and show them to their table. It sounds easy enough, but the difference between a good host and a great host is underrated because where people are seated directly impacts their experience. Seating arrangements can influence how long diners spend at a venue, how…

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On the face of it, the bus driver is paid by the hour to get passengers safely from point A to point B. But most of the value he creates for the bus company, not to mention the city, has nothing to do with his driving ability. It’s in the empathetic work of reassuring passengers…

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Humans learn to develop empathy in the first year of life. We not only learn to recognise emotional reactions in others but also to understand what’s causing those reactions. One toddler will try to comfort another who is crying—not just with any toy, but with that child’s favourite toy. We know how to stand in…

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When I was growing up (and maybe when you were too), careers like medicine, nursing and teaching, were regarded as being part of the ’empathy profession’. Today, every one of us, from accountants to designers, CEOs to Astronauts, are in the ’empathy profession’. No business or brand can thrive without understanding what it is their…

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It isn’t just your mind that responds when you get an email with the subject line ‘urgent’ or ‘important’. Your heartbeat increases, your muscles tense and your breathing gets faster. You feel bad. Your day is thrown off course, if only for a moment. We hate these emails and resent people who fail to communicate…

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Jody and Jim (not their real names) run a small web design studio. Their initial pricing strategy was to keep base prices low, putting time caps on every deliverable during the website design and build. New clients were informed about this policy up front. Things like design time and content population were included in the…

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Just two days before Christmas while every other retailer was happily dealing with long lines, the outdoor clothing and travel equipment store was empty. Not a customer in sight. They should have been doing a brisk trade in torches, camping accessories and stocking fillers, yet the assistants had plenty of time to finesse the ‘Boxing…

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One of the reasons that upstart companies like GoPro have been able to steel a march on their much better resourced competitors like Sony, has been their ability and efforts to develop products for their customers by truly understanding who those customers are and what they want. It’s not possible to create products, services or…

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