Author : Terry Hawkins | Founder Progress Retail

Empathy is one of the greatest buzz words of the last decade. We are far from the days when a retail job was the job you took while you waited to find a real job. Retail employers are waking up to the fact that beautiful stores, and high cost fit-outs also need to be fitted out with switched on, socially conscious and empathically driven teams. From groceries to high-end luxury goods, consumers are demanding to not just be heard, but more importantly, to be felt! It may sound easy, but as we have witnessed from the recent Starbucks saga, bias and judgement can’t be “taught away” in four hours.

We’re asking our front-line to be CX maestros. We want them to create meaningful connections and give expert advice, but here’s the irony: the majority of these team members (Generation Y & Z) were raised with a tablet in their hands. Intimacy, emotional connection, even the simple act of looking into another person’s eyes does not come naturally. Heck, they can be standing right next to someone at a bar, and text them to ask them out!

So with a generation that usually makes a first approach via a DM, we have a long way to go in educating them on the courage and vulnerability required to create trust and rapport with another human being. Empathy is not a skill, or a process; it’s an outcome of a compassionate and caring culture. It’s the reward of having integrity in check, and staff congruent with the organisation’s values. But it takes a lot more than a sign on the back of a staffroom bathroom door. A successful empathy-based culture is a big commitment – its very essence will force you to have your integrity in check as a business, and that’s perhaps why so many companies struggle to do it right.

About Terry Hawkins: 

In 1989, Terry Hawkins founded People in Progress Global, now Progress Retail, an e-learning and sales management software company. She pioneered empathy-based sales and management training with a purely in-person training facilitation model. The business’ core education product, C.A.R.E. Customers Are Really Everything® has had over 25 years of durability in its analog, in-person format as a front-line retail sales system. Recognising “software is eating the world”, Terry pivoted the business with the launch of its retail human capital platform in 2017.

We are excited to announce that Terry Hawkins, top global female motivational speaker will be joining the line up of keynote speakers at the SBIA Round Table on April 4th on the Gold Coast.  To secure your spot at the Round Table Meeting, click here >>