4 Things Customer Service Agents Can Do to Convey Empathy to Customers

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In this article I show you what empathy is using an experience with my teenage daughter, and then I deliver 4 tactical ideas you can apply right now to express empathy: Put yourself in your customer’s place, Sense the Situation From the Customer’s Perspective, Discuss What’s Upsetting the Customer, and Coming Up with Ways to Fix the Problem

My daughter and I were in New York. We’d spent the day sight-seeing, and back at the hotel, my daughter’s iPhone showed all of her photos as blurry – not just the photos she’d taken that day, but every picture on her phone.

To my 17-year old daughter, a problem with photos and her phone camera is catastrophic. It would have been easy for me to dismiss this as, “There are bigger things in life for you to worry about.” And that was my real temptation. But I could see she was distraught over this.

Empathy is putting yourself in another person’s place. Sensing their situation, from their perspective. It’s also discussing the things that are upsetting to the person, maybe coming up with ideas to get them out of the situation they’re in.

So, instead of dismissing my daughter’s photo problem as no big deal (because to me, it wasn’t a big deal), I chose empathy. Continue reading “4 Things Customer Service Agents Can Do to Convey Empathy to Customers”

This is How You Communicate Empathy to Customers

4 Attributes of Empathy

There are four attributes of empathy, and I teach each of these characteristics in my Empathy eLearning course. One of the characteristics is communicate your understanding.

When your customer is upset, or frustrated, you could communicate your understanding this way: Continue reading “This is How You Communicate Empathy to Customers”

7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers

How to Express Empathy

One of the skills we practice in my onsite customer service workshops is Empathy. Here are some of the exact phrases that I share in my training sessions for use in our role-plays – and in real life with customers.

Continue reading “7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers”

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard For Getting Customer Service Reps to Convey Empathy

Smiling Telephone Operator

Two years ago I was working with a company to help their customer service representatives convey empathy to customers. The intended outcome of the training was for employees to speak to customers with care, concern, and compassion.

Achieving empathy in the customer experience is a bit like walking a tightrope. Too much empathy can result in longer talk times and inappropriate sharing between customer service representatives and clients. Not enough understanding and reps can sound cold and uncaring.

You have to find the right balance in empathy. Or else you fall off the rope, and the customer experience is negatively impacted.

I asked my client how she saw appropriate empathy in her company. And here’s what she said.

Continue reading “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard For Getting Customer Service Reps to Convey Empathy”

5 Ideas to Improve The Way You to Talk to Customers

woman working in call center

The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience.

The great news is, with the right training and strategy, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers. Here are 5 tips to get you started on the right track for how to talk to your customers.

1. Acknowledge customer concern, when appropriate 

This helps you convey empathy and compassion and it helps you make an emotional connection

▪       “I can understand how frustrating it is when _________”

▪       “I realize how complicated it is to …..”

▪       “I cannot imagine how upsetting it is to …..”

▪       “I know how confusing it must be when….”

 

2. Yield to customers

Be careful not to over talk or interrupt customers. Interrupting is perceived as rude. Three pointers for yielding to customers:

  • Allow customers to finish sentences
  • If you accidentally interrupt a caller, apologize
  • Even when you know within a second or two that the call will need to be transferred, allow the caller to finish their statement before making the transfer

Here’s a 2-minute video that you can show your employees if you notice a problem with interrupting or over talking customers

3. Try not to correct customers 

Even when customers are wrong, it’s best not to correct them. Telling customers they are wrong can put them on the defensive and make interactions tense. If the matter over which the customer is wrong is not critical, try to let the little wrong slide.

4. Speak in complete sentences

When you speak in complete sentences you sound friendlier and “warmer”. Always speak in complete sentences with customers. Instead of saying, “Last name?” say “Can I please have your last name?”

Here’s a short video on the what and why of speaking in complete sentences

5. Pace your customer 

Try to meet your customer where she is and pace her needs. If your customer is asking lots of questions, sounding confused or frustrated, or continues to ask for clarification, you have an opportunity to pace. You can pace this customer by taking the time to slowly cover every detail and by checking to ensure you are clear and understood. When speaking with a customer who sounds busy or savvy, you can pace this customer by getting right to the point and giving them what they need quickly and efficiently.

 

 

 

Now you can give your employees even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience. Sign up for my newsletter if you don’t get it already – and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees deliver a delightful and friendly customer experience.

Here are 4 of the Video Clips I Show in My Empathy Workshops

I’m really excited about delivering my full day Empathy workshop to a fantastic client in Montreal on Monday. I have been preparing for this event for months, and I cannot wait to share my insights and enthusiasm with a group of 70 new hires.

For the benefit of my audience and as a perk for you, I am sharing the videos I’ll be featuring in the empathy training. I use videos to both teach a particular message and to add further engagement during the training.

During and after live customer service training workshops people always ask me for the links to my videos, so I’m being proactive and sharing them now. 🙂

 

“Put Yourself In Their Shoes”

This is a powerful video that truly gets participants to feel for another person. After this video, I divide participants into small groups, and they debrief the video by discussing 4 questions that I hand out. Powerful, powerful video learning experience.

 

 

Patients: “Afraid and Vulnerable” 

This video helps me to get employees to recognize the impact of their words, body language and attitude on customers – be they patients, guests, etc. After we watch this video, I facilitate a discussion on how vulnerable, afraid, or confused customers can be and how we can put them at ease by being patient, fully present, engaging, caring and compassionate. I really love this video as a training tool

 

Sympathy versus Empathy

I use this short video to clarify the difference between sympathy and empathy, and I emphasize that in customer service, we are focusing on empathy, not sympathy. This video always gets smiles and laughs, while quickly clarifying the difference between empathy and sympathy.

 

Brené Brown on Empathy

In this animated video, Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

I hope you enjoy these videos and that you might even find a way to use them in your own training. Now, time for me to do a complete run-through of this training so I can be perfect for my client in Montreal. 🙂

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches, and phrases to help your employees help your customers.