What Is Perspective Taking? Putting Yourself in Other’s Shoes

Tips to Keep Customers Onboard Even When You Have Bad News

What is perspective-taking? How does it help to transform customer engagement? When should you use it? You’ll find the answer to these questions and more in this article.

What is social perspective-taking?

Social perspective-taking is a mind trick that changes everything. It’s the key to empathy, forgiveness, and even understanding of what it means to be human. It’s key to being good at managing conflict.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the person who needs help or if you’re on the other side doing the helping, perspective taking can shift your entire worldview. Perspective taking is not just an act of imagining what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes. It’s a cognitive process in which people try to understand the thoughts, feelings, or attitudes of other people. 

Perspective taking is a technique that can be used in many different situations. Empathy and perspective have been found to have benefits in interpersonal relationships, with children, and in the workplace, with employees, and with customers.

Why Perspective-Taking Is Important and When to Use It

Perspectives are a powerful way of gaining empathy. Understanding someone’s perspective, how they see the world, what they have been through, and what they have to say can be a transformative experience.

There are many reasons why perspective-taking is important when communicating with customers, especially if you have bad news to discuss. One of the main reasons is that it helps you understand that people may not think or feel the same as you do, which leads to better understanding between you. 

Empathy and perspective will also help you develop an appreciation for your customer’s beliefs, and why they believe what they do. You will be better equipped to discuss what is important to them. This helps to develop positive relationships that stand the test of difficult news.

Perspective-taking skills will help you get what you want or need from a customer. For example, if there’s a problem with the delivery of services or products and the customer doesn’t see why it’s a problem, or how it can be fixed, you may have to take on their perspective to make them understand your point of view.

How Perspective Taking Helps in Customer Relationships

Perspective-taking is a proven method of improving your customer relationships. It enables you to understand the feelings and expectations of the person you’re talking to. Perspective-taking also helps you present a solution that they will find useful too – even when it seems impossible to do so.

Where do you start? 

Listening to the customer is essential for any company. It is vital to understand what your customer wants and how they feel about your product or service. The more you listen, the more you can understand their needs and expectations. 

Temporal Vs Spatial Perspective Taking

There are two basic types of perspective-taking strategies: spatial and temporal. 

Temporal perspective taking is defined as the ‘recalling of past experiences’ and can be used in a variety of contexts. It can be used to understand how people think about the future, or what they plan to do soon. It also helps us understand why people act in certain ways when we observe their behavior in different contexts.

Spatial perspective-taking is the ability to ‘imagine oneself in a different physical location, and mentally navigate that space’. It is not an easy task to accomplish, but is a social cognitive skill used for understanding and predicting what another person will do or is likely to do based on what he or she sees, knows, thinks, and feels.

Tips to Use Perspective Taking Effectively

There are some techniques that can be followed to consciously improve perspective-taking skills. One is to imagine the situation from another person’s point of view, try to see it with their eyes, and feel it with their heart. Another technique is to increase your understanding by asking questions about what you don’t know or haven’t considered.

If you’re trying to improve your customer relationships and overall quality of service, strive to listen better and be fully present when you’re speaking with customers. When we take the time to really listen without distractions or judgment, it’s easier for us to empathize with others – which will help foster a better customer experience.

Here are four steps needed to use perspective-taking when communicating with customers:

  1. Identify what it is you want to know about the other person’s perspective.

  2. Find common ground and try to understand the other person’s experiences.

  3. Then, once you have found some similarities in your perspectives, take on their perspective for a moment and ask yourself how they would feel in your situation. 

  4. Return to your own situation and reflect on if this may change anything about your thoughts or actions toward this.

When you first attempt this consciously, you may find it challenging. To overcome this challenge, you need to practice empathizing with others. By listening to what others are saying and remembering that they have different perspectives than you, you will be able to better understand why they are doing what they do. 

The second technique for improving your perspective-taking skills is to take time out of your day to just imagine how other people are feeling or what other people might be thinking about. 

Finally, try using your imagination when making decisions about yourself or others – by envisioning every possible scenario, you will be able to see more solutions and make better decisions.

Want to know more? To learn how our Leadership Circle™ Impact Program delivers the skills your organization needs to deliver impactful leadership, click here.

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