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Empathy in Customer Service

What is customer empathy?

Customer empathy is simply putting yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand what they are going through. The language that we use has a huge impact on the customer’s perspective of the company. Empathetic communication in customer service makes the customer feel like you understand their problem as well as feelings.

What is empathy?

“Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.”

Cambridge Dictionary

Types of empathy:

Compassionate empathy

This type of empathy is one that actually moves us to take an action.
Having compassionate empathy can change the direction of communication, especially when dealing with really frustrated, upset customers. It can literally change the customer’s mood immediately. If you understand the issue and are also willing to take action to help improve the situation, the customer will be calmer and appreciative.

Emotional empathy

Emotional empathy is when we are not only able to understand the feelings of the other person but also can relate to them. It’s basically when you try to connect to the similar feeling that you’ve experienced.

Cognitive empathy

Cognitive empathy is when you can recognize the feelings of others. As a result, you can improve your daily communication. The customer representative’s ability to recognize customers’ feelings and perhaps even a way of thinking has more impact than the technical knowledge the agent can offer. A lot of times the customer just wants to hear that you understand them and you are sorry.

How do you express empathy in customer service?

Being a customer service representative can be a difficult job at times. If you are struggling to express customer empathy in a professional and not overly emotional way, here are a few tips that will help you navigate each situation with an empathetic approach.

1. Active listening

Active listening is a crucial aspect that helps you determine the issue the customer is experiencing. It clearly goes without saying. But it is much more than that. A lot of times, the customer is so frustrated that he/she needs to let the frustration out on someone. By any means, let them. The customer will call down and wait for your response. Do not interrupt the customer, let them talk. When the customer is done let them know how you feel about the issue. Try to put yourself in the same shoes. Sometimes the customer needs to hear that you are honestly sorry for the trouble they’ve experienced.

Customer Service Empathy Statements:

” I can’t even imagine what you went through.”

” Sir/Madam, I understand your frustration, I’d probably react in the same way.”

” I am truly sorry for this inconvenience that you’ve experienced.”

Moreover, active listening helps you summarize the issue. As a result, you can paraphrase it to your customer. This technique will not only help you with navigating the issue but at the same time, the customer feels heard and understood. For instance, you can say to the customer; “Let me see if I have this right..Did I miss anything?”.

2. Ask questions

Asking proper questions is the way to solve the customer inquiry, but it also shows that you’re trying to help them resolve the issue. As a result, the customer is less likely to be dismissive.

3. Figure out the customer’s tone of voice

Each customer experience is different. Therefore, there is no one way to go about this. Therefore, mirroring the customer’s tone of voice can help you calmly navigate the problem.

4. Do not make assumptions

Never assume that the customer has already done something. The customer representative should try to determine the problem with the questions. When you assume the customer has already done something it can take twice as much time to solve even a simple issue. Moreover, sentences such as: “You’ve probably already done this, so..”, can be degrading if the customer did not perform such an action.

5. If the customer is right, tell them

There is no point in hiding the truth or going around it. Honesty is the best policy. If your company has failed on some level or made a mistake and the customer is confronting you about it, let the customer know that he/she is right. Don’t be dismissive. For instance, “You are absolutely right sir/madam..”. More importantly, do not forget to follow up with the action that you are going to take to either fix or prevent the issue from happening next time.

How can LiveAgent help your agents with customer service empathy?

LiveAgent is a help desk solution that has many features to help your company provide stellar support. It is software that allows your agents to respond to customer inquiries from one interface. For instance, Email, Social Media, Live Chat, Forum, Calls, etc. As a result, it helps your representatives provide efficient and effective support to the customers.

Customer service representatives need to possess skills from 2 categories, soft skills, and technical skills. Technical skills can be taught, however, soft skills are pretty hard to learn. But there is definitely a way to help your agents utilize certain customer empathy statements. Here are some features that can help your customer service;

Video call

It can be really difficult to express an emotion or to correctly word sentences if you can’t see the person. Thus, LiveAgent gives your customers the ability to video call your agents. This not only helps you solve the customer’s issue sooner but also helps you decode the customer’s mood and emotions from their face and overall body language.

If you would like to learn more, read LiveAgent – Video Call.

Canned responses

Canned responses are basically pre-made answers. Being able to respond fast and in a correct way can transform your service. You can create the perfect responses/ empathy statements in LiveAgent and personalize them in chat.

If you want to know more, read LiveAgent – Canned responses.

LiveAgent has more than 170 features. If you would like to learn more, read LiveAgent – Features or simply schedule a free demo with us.

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