AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 8

RUNNING THE PRACTICE // CUSTOMER CARE

HOW EMPATHY CHANGES
CUSTOMER SERVICE
Rebecca Rivenbark, COE, OCS, CPSS

T

he COVID-19 pandemic
has brought many struggles
for practices, yet it has also
brought many opportunities
for personal and professional
development.
One of the most important changes I have noticed during
the pandemic is that our doctors
and staff (myself included!) have
evolved from being sympathetic to
becoming empathic toward each
other and our patients without
realizing or trying! Empathy takes
sympathy to a higher level; it is the
understanding of other's feelings
and emotions and involves a shared
perspective. For example, after

8

AE // May/June 21

asking the exposure questions
required by the CDC, we share
our concerns about the pandemic
by acknowledging the difficulty
we all have continuing our regular
healthcare appointments such as
our eyecare.
Sympathy may develop into
empathy, but not always. I feel
strongly that nurturing this
new culture to ensure better
relationships within our practice
leads to better customer service
for our patients.
FIRST STEPS
When researching how to foster
this behavior, I started with the

article by Deborah Davis, COE, in
the January 2020 issue of AE. After
being a cataract patient herself,
she realized how overwhelming
the process must be for patients.
Davis used her experience as a
patient to enlighten her staff and
doctors on the patient perspective
and gave them an opportunity to
understand the patient's feelings
and emotions during the cataract
surgery process-the ultimate
empathy training!
I do not have firsthand experience
as a patient at our practice, so I
wanted to know where to start. I
found the best way to start is with
a clear definition and examples of



AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover1
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover2
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 1
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AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover3
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover4
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