Empathy and Big Business

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phone_talk_bubble_1600_wht_12346A survey by a campaigning agency aimed at improving women’s access to technology has identified the worst and best companies on its “empathy index“.

The empathy index scored 100 companies on the way they treat both staff and customers by using a poll of 1,000 members of the public, on-line feedback from 25 employees from each company, and an analysis of a company’s last 100 tweets.

The telecoms industries came out the worst with the big four companies in the bottom 10 on their empathy ratings.

RyanAir, Carphone Warehouse and BT have been labelled as the companies that never listen. Carphone Warehouse was accused of “giving retail a bad name” with customers facing “nauseating hard sells from teenagers” and queues reminiscent of Soviet Russia.

Twitter has more than 500 million users but came 8th from bottom and was criticised as “a textbook example of how not engage on social networks” because of its robotic, boring and repetitive messages (which I’ve tweeted about before).

Selfridges came out 87th. Apparently the satisfaction you get as a customer is not matched by the experience of working there. “All glamour but no empathy”.

Pret-a-Manger came in about half-way with an “at best mediocre” scores on customer satisfaction and employee relations.

They found that the most empathetic companies in Britain were LinkedIn and Microsoft. Both were praised for making customers and employees feel valued and for resolving consumer problems within seconds on twitter.

However other technology companies fared less well. Facebook, with more than 1 billion users, only achieved 48th place and was described as “the brand that was too big to listen“. Staff working for Facebook, and twitter, described them as providing good career opportunities and work-life balance.

Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, was just the opposite. Customers love it but its employees hate it.

And Apple only made 43rd place and was accused of “refusing to engage” on social media.

John Lewis came 5th even though it ignores criticism on social media. Other companies in the top 10 include Audi, Three, Sony, Google, Nike, Direct Line, and Boots.

Stuck in the bottom quartile were all the main banks with RSB being branded “the least trusted bank in the UK”. Lloyds bank employees “believe they have limited career opportunities” and Barclays has “a very poor perception among customers”. Well no wonder is it after their behaviour in recent years.

HSBC however came out in 22nd position and was named the most empathetic bank.

A pity they’ve just announced that 1 in 6 of its British employees will soon be out of work. What will that do for customer service?

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