u003cdivu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eThe holiday season is a great time to stop and appreciate your account holdersu2014the lifeblood of your financial institution. How do you show them your gratitude?u00a0u003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eWhat your account holders would really appreciate is to be treated with empathy all year. A cornerstone trait of emotional intelligence, empathy goes hand in hand with delivering a positive customer experience. Without empathy, youu2019re left wondering what it is your account holders really want and need.u003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eu003cstrongu003eWhat is Empathy?u003c/strongu003eu003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eLetu2019s define u201cempathyu201d as:u003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eu003cstrongu003eu003cemu003ethe ability to share someone elseu2019s feelings or experiencesnby imagining yourself in that personu2019s situationu003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eBasically, itu2019s putting yourself in another personu2019s shoes. Simple in theory u2026 but it takes mindfulness to execute on a continuous basis.u003c/spanu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eIn business, having empathy means deeply understanding a situation, a problem or an inconvenience someone else is experiencing before deciding on a solution. Albert Einstein once said,u00a0u003cemu003eu201cu003c/emu003eu003c/spanu003eu003cemu003eIf I had an hour to solve a problem, Iu2019d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.u201du003c/emu003ennu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eu003cstrongu003eHow Can Empathy Help You?nu003c/strongu003eIn 2016, the Harvard Business Review published u201cu003c/spanu003eu003ca href=u0022https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-most-and-least-empathetic-companies-2016u0022u003eThe Most (and Least) Empathetic Companiesu003c/au003eu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003e.u201d Author Belinda Parmar noted, u201cu003cstrongu003eThere is a direct link between empathy and commercial success.u003c/strongu003eu00a0Businesses are more profitable and productive when they act ethically, treat their staff well and communicate better with their customers.u201du003c/spanu003ennu0026nbsp;nnThe data (along with common sense) supports that statement: the 10 most empathetic companies in the Global Empathy Index 2015 increased in value more than twice as much as the least empathetic companies on the list.nnu0026nbsp;nnHaving empathy gives a business its moral compass, as well as a way to enact patience and conflict resolutionu2014two key components of excellent customer service.nnu003cspan class=u0022stu0022u003eu003cstrongu003eWhat Does Empathy Look Like? (And What Does it NOT Look Like?)u003c/strongu003eu003c/spanu003ennA financial institution should consider whether its services and practices are easy to understand, fair and helpful to its users. The only way to get to do this is with empathy.nnu0026nbsp;nnTake a look at youru00a0u003ca href=u0022https://www.jmfa.com/Services/JMFA-Overdraft-Privilegeu0022u003eoverdraft serviceu003c/au003eu00a0through the eyes of your account holders. What are they seeing? Here are two overdraft models to compare through a lens of empathy:nnu0026nbsp;nnu003c/divu003enu003ctableu003enu003ctbodyu003enu003ctru003enu003ctdu003eu003cstrongu003eFully Disclosed Overdraft Program:u003c/strongu003enu003culu003en tu003cliu003eFully-disclosed: u201cI have all the information to make an informed decision about using the service.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eFixed limits: u201cI know exactly what to expect each and every time.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eCustomer service: u201cThe staff explained my options well and answered all my questions.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eProgram: u201cThis seems like a convenient and usefulu00a0serviceu00a0and a safety net if I need it.u201du003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003enu003c/tdu003enu003ctdu003enu003cdivu003ennu003cstrongu003eUndisclosed Overdraft Program:u003c/strongu003enu003culu003en tu003cliu003eUndisclosed: u201cI donu2019t have all the information to make an informed decision.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eDynamic (or algorithm-based) limits: u201cI donu2019t know what my limit is from one day to the next, which is confusing.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eCustomer service: u201cThe rep couldnu2019t explain how my transactions would be handled or answer my questions.u201du003c/liu003en tu003cliu003eProgram: u201cThis is a complicatedu00a0expenseu00a0that doesnu2019t provide relief when Iu2019m already feeling stressed.u201du003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003enu003c/divu003eu003c/tdu003enu003c/tru003enu003c/tbodyu003enu003c/tableu003enu003cdivu003ennu003cstrongu003eu00a0u003c/strongu003ennu003c/divu003enWhich program, as a consumer, would you choose? Which one is fair, empowering and easy to understand? Itu2019s clear that a fully disclosed overdraft program is the consumer-friendly option. This is what empathy looks like, from the ground up.nnu0026nbsp;nnu003cstrongu003eFollow the Golden Ruleu003c/strongu003ennEmpathy offers a very simple litmus test, one that weu2019ve been taught since childhood: treat othersu2014in this case, your account holdersu2014the way youu2019d want to be treated. When you offer services that have their best interests at heart, youu2019re showing them gratitude all year long.nnu0026nbsp;nnHappy Thanksgiving, and cheers to a year of embracing empathy.nu003cdivu003eu003c/divu003enu0026nbsp;nnu0026nbsp;nnu003chr /u003ennu0026nbsp;nnu003cstrongu003eABOUT JMFAu003c/strongu003ennJMFA has been helping community banks and credit unions improve their performance and profitability for more than 38 years. Whether youu2019re looking for ways to recover lost revenue, uncover expense reduction opportunities or improve service delivery, JMFA has the right solutions to help you not only meet, but exceed, your goals. We are proud to be a preferred provider to many industry groups. To learn more, pleaseu00a0u003ca href=u0022https://www.jmfa.com/contactusu0022u003econtact your local representativeu00a0u003c/au003eor call 800- 809-2307.