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Empathy in Customer Service

The Importance of Empathy in Customer Service

Dhivakar Aridoss

Dhivakar Aridoss

Marketing Head

I understand how disappointing it is. That’s happened to me as well. Let me see how I can make it right for you.

I’m so sorry you had that experience. I will figure out how we can make this better for you.

I’m happy that you reached out. The experience you had definitely doesn’t live up to our values. Right away, I will fix this for you.

Have you ever heard these statements in any of your customer service calls?

This means you are being heard, and someone understands what it is to be in your position. You can rest assured that your challenges will be addressed.

The idea is to be friendly to your customers and acknowledge that the problem exists. Listen to them carefully, reaffirm your understanding, and solve it for them.

Look at this statement that one of our customers made.

You are the nicest set of people that I have ever worked with. I am 100% sure that I will be heard and that your team will address all my challenges in the shortest possible timeframe.

This has allowed us to retain all our customers in the last six years of operations.

The customer being heard is the operative word here.

This is what people call empathy in customer service.

What is Empathy in Customer Service?

It refers to the ability of the customer service representatives to understand and share the feelings and experiences of their customers.

It involves looking at problems from the customer’s perspective and demonstrating a genuine understanding and care for their concerns.

Empathy helps build trust, enhance customer satisfaction, and foster long-term customer loyalty.

Examples of Empathy in Customer Service

Let us look at a few examples of empathy in customer service.

1. I’ve been waiting for my package for over a week and am frustrated.

Empathy statement

I understand how frustrating it must be for you to wait to receive the package. I apologize for the delay, and I’ll do everything I can to resolve this for you.

2. I was provided with a loyalty coupon, which has expired. However, I’d like to make use of the offer now.

Empathy statement

I am really sorry to know that you missed using the coupon before the expiry date. Although our policy states that you cannot extend the validity of the coupon, I’ll make an exception in this case and extend the validity period.

3. I’ve been having recurring technical issues with your software, affecting my productivity.

Empathy statement

I know it must be frustrating to experience recurring technical issues. I’m here to listen and help you find a solution. Just so I understand the technical issue, can you help me recreate the problem that you are facing? It would help us resolve it faster.

4. I’ve been a loyal customer for years, and I expected better service

Empathy statement

Your satisfaction is important to us, and I apologize for falling short of your expectations. Let’s work together to address your concerns and find a solution that meets your needs.

5. I bought a water purifier, and the product isn’t performing to my expectations

Empathy statement

I’m sorry to hear that the product isn’t up to your expectations. We take full responsibility for the issue and will work together to find out if it would make sense for you to replace the product or get a refund.

6. I’m having trouble booking an ENT specialist appointment. Your website is difficult to navigate, and I can’t find the necessary information.

Empathy statement

I apologize for the difficulties you’re facing on our website. Let me guide you through the process, or if you prefer, I can book the appointment directly. How can I best help you?

I am sure this gives you an idea of how to bring empathy to customer service. However, are there any good practices to improve empathy in customer service?

10 Ways to Improve Empathy in Customer Service

Here are the good practices to improve customer service empathy.

1. Active Listening

A customer calls a support line with a technical issue. The customer service representative actively listens, asks relevant questions, and takes notes to understand the problem entirely. By demonstrating attentive listening, the representative shows the customer that their concerns are being heard and valued.

2. Reflective Responses

A customer expresses frustration with a delayed delivery during a live chat conversation. The customer service representative paraphrases the customer’s concerns, acknowledges their frustration, and summarizes the steps being taken to resolve the issue. This reflective response helps the customer feel understood and reassured that their complaint is being addressed.

3. Emotional Awareness

A customer contacts customer support to cancel a subscription due to financial difficulties. The representative empathetically acknowledges the customer’s situation, understanding the financial strain and offering alternative solutions, such as a temporary suspension or discounted plan. This emotional awareness demonstrates empathy toward the customer’s circumstances.

4. Language and Tone

A customer walks into a retail store upset about a defective product. The store associate responds calmly and empathetically, using phrases like “I understand how frustrating that can be” and “We’re here to help you find a solution.”

By using empathetic language and a caring tone, the associate diffuses tension and establishes a positive customer interaction.

5. Personalize Interactions

A customer contacts a call center for technical assistance and provides their name and previous case number.

The customer service representative addresses the customer by name, references their previous interaction, and reassures them that their past concerns have been considered.

This personalization makes the customer feel valued and creates a sense of continuity in the support experience.

6. Patience and Calmness

A customer reaches out to support after experiencing a long wait time on hold. The representative remains patient, apologizes for the wait, and assures the customer that they will assist them as quickly as possible.

By demonstrating patience and calmness, the representative helps alleviate the customer’s frustration and rebuilds customer trust.

7. Problem-Solving

A customer contacts customer service about a billing discrepancy. The representative actively listens to the customer’s concerns, investigates the issue, and presents a clear resolution plan, including a refund and steps to prevent future billing errors. By providing a practical solution tailored to the customer’s problem, the representative demonstrates empathy and commitment

to resolve the issue.

8. Follow-Up

After resolving a customer’s complaint, a representative sends a personalized follow-up email or calls to ensure the customer is satisfied with the resolution.

The representative appreciates the customer’s feedback and reaffirms their commitment to providing excellent service. This follow-up demonstrates a genuine concern for the customer’s experience beyond the immediate problem.

9. Empowerment

A customer contacts a service provider with a complex request that requires approval from a supervisor.

Instead of transferring the call, the representative, empowered with decision-making authority, empathizes with the customer’s situation and takes ownership of finding a resolution within their own scope of authority. By avoiding unnecessary escalations, the representative saves the customer’s time and reinforces a sense of trust.

10. Continuous Training

The training sessions teach representative techniques like active listening, reflective responses, and managing difficult emotions.

Through continuous training, representatives refine their empathy skills, leading to more meaningful and compassionate customer interactions.

Empathy is a vital component of exceptional customer service. Organizations can create positive and memorable experiences by understanding and acknowledging customers’ emotions, needs, and concerns.

It allows customer service representatives to go beyond mere problem-solving and connect with customers on a deeper level. Empathy leads to happy customers, increased customer retention, and a more prosperous and customer-centric organization.

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