Inbound Logistics | January 2024


by Tim Perkins Chief Commercial Ocer, Spartan Carrier Group | 813-992-8689

Communicating With Empathy Supply chain management (SCM) has often been perceived through operational metrics, systems, and efficiencies. The unsung hero of this intricate web, however, is communication with empathy. This skill transcends merely conveying information and dives deep into understanding, validating, and addressing the emotions and needs of everyone involved.

challenges the company faced and its commitment to prevent such delays in the future. Mark, initially upset, feels valued and understood as a customer. This empathetic communication doesn’t just resolve the immediate issue; it turns Mark into a loyal advocate. He shares his positive experience, demonstrating how empathetic communication can transform a potential detractor into a long-term brand promoter. FOSTERING A SENSE OF TRUST The test of true leadership lies in its ability to signicantly enhance employee engagement and retention. When leaders genuinely understand and acknowledge their team’s challenges, concerns, and aspirations, employees feel valued and heard. Empathetic communication fosters a sense of belonging and trust, creating a work environment where employees are more motivated and committed to their roles. In the often stressful world of supply chain management, this emotional support is invaluable. Empathy doesn’t mean sacricing operational efcacy. It means recognizing emotions, genuinely addressing concerns, and fostering robust, trust-based relationships. In a digital SCM world, placing importance on the power of empathy isn’t just recommended; it’s essential. n

on time due to a port strike or truck accident. A straightforward notication— “we will be late to this delivery”—might relay the delay. But an empathetic approach would say, “We recognize the potential impact this delay might have on your production line. We’re exploring alternative routes and will keep you updated. We apologize and will keep in contact every 30 minutes with updates.” This recognizes the client’s potential challenge and offers assurance. TURNING CUSTOMERS INTO ADVOCATES Ecommerce order fulllment glitches are inevitable. Consider a customer, Mark, who experiences a delivery delay. Instead of a standard apology, a company representative, Sarah, reaches out with empathy. She acknowledges Mark’s frustration and empathizes with his anticipation. Sarah not only apologizes but offers Mark a discount on his next purchase as a goodwill gesture. She explains the

Empathetic communication is indispensable in SCM for four reasons: 1. Humanizes complex processes. Empathetic communication ensures that decisions consider both the emotional and practical facets of supply chain stakeholders, from vendors, carriers, and brokerages, to shippers and end users. 2. Builds trust. Supply chain mishaps are par for the course as they always will be. Customers value transparency and acknowledgment of their emotions. When they feel genuinely understood, they’re more forgiving and trusting. 3. Boosts morale and productivity. Empathetic leaders foster environments where employees feel valued. In sectors like SCM, where teamwork is vital, this boosts problem-solving and operational uidity. 4. Enhances customer loyalty. Loyalty is built on emotional connections. An empathetic approach can transform a one-time customer into a loyal advocate. Consider a business that couldn’t deliver essential automotive parts

66 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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