Building successful relationships with customers is essential for providing great service and increasing sales. Whether customers call with complaints or problems, the customer service department's job is to make them feel heard, respected, and understood. For good communication and outstanding service, it’s essential to eliminate the client's concerns. That’s why managers need to constantly remind their teams to put themselves in their customers’ shoes.
What is Empathy, and what is an Empathy Statement?
Before going any further, we should provide a brief explanation of empathy and empathy statements.
Empathy is an ability to recognize, and sympathize with the mental states of others. In simpler terms, it is a mastery to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Adopting this way of thinking is essential in social and sales interactions. People with significant empathy understand their own feelings and can accurately recognize the emotional states of others.
Therefore, an empathic approach will help build your relationships with customers.
It is a usage of empathy in practice. A showcase of understanding customers' feelings in a certain situation. It allows you to communicate with clients in a way so that they feel understood.
Empathy statements play a huge role in sales and customer service. Dealing with clients’ issues can be resolved faster, easier, and in a much more pleasant atmosphere.In addition, using empathy builds trust, shows the brand in a positive light and reduces stress during conversations.
Phrases That Convey Empathy to Customers
Calmness, culture, and honesty are essential aspects of a conversation. They create a friendly atmosphere. It's not just about praising your customers. It is about showing that you are there to hear them out and help them.
Examples of empathy statements
In the beginning, make a great first impression. Present yourself as someone helpful who cares about customers’ needs and problems. Tell them that you are ready to solve every issue.
Here are some examples of opening statements:
- I really appreciate that you’re calling.
- I’m glad you called. How can I help you?
- I will make sure your issue will be resolved.
- I am really sorry to hear that.
- I’m so sorry you’re in this situation.
Next, carefully hear what the customer’s problem is so that you can fix it. Then, use reassuring expressions and paraphrase the caller’s declarations. This shows that you understand the situation and are willing to resolve it.
Here are a few examples of conversational expressions:
- I see how difficult this can be.
- I can imagine how upset you must be.
- I understand your feelings. I, myself, was once in the same situation.
- If I were you, I would definitely feel the way you do.
- If I understand correctly, your problem is...
Finally, when the issue is resolved, do not forget to thank the customer for calling. In case the caller is upset, point out that they can always count on your help and you will do everything in order to find a solution.
Here are some examples of closing statements:
- Thank you for getting in touch with us.
- I'm glad you let us know about your problem.
- I hope this problem won't occur again.
- I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this. I am happy we resolved the issue together.
- You can call us again whenever you need.
To sum up, your phrases should sound as natural as possible. Don't go too deep into fake compassion. Customers can feel it. Remember that the point of empathy statements is to make communication easier, sincere, and pleasant.
Use empathy statements to win Customers
Now you know what empathy statements are. It’s time to explore our 8 tips on how to use empathy to win customers.
#1 Listen carefully
Understanding customers’ problems is the most important thing to do. That can't be done without active listening. Don't think about how to fix callers' problems before you hear them out.
Paraphrase customers’ statements to show that you listen. Use empathetic words. Be an engaged consultant, and repeat what customers say. It reassures them that you understand their concerns. When you show you are a good listener, you will gain their trust.
For example, if a customer tells you: “I haven’t had access to my dashboard for 3 days and I can’t see what customer support messages I’m getting!”, you can respond like this:
“So, you say that you can’t see your dashboard and as a result, you don’t have access to your customer support tickets. I’m really sorry to hear that, this is not an easy situation for any business owner.”
#2 Be gentle but specific
You will meet different types of customers. They can, for example, suddenly change the topic of conversation. Your task is to politely lead them back to the original issue.
If a customer says: “I see that you’ve solved my problem with billing, but what about the new features you promised to launch?”
You can respond with: “Later, we can go through our product roadmap. At this moment, let’s go back on resolving the problem with your billing please.”
Furthermore, there will be callers who may not clearly explain what they need. You have to stay patient but persistent. A bit of a detective. Ask a lot of questions.
Also, don't be intimidated by difficult customers. Just stay calm, professional and show the best version of yourself.
#3 Make it your issue too
Imagine that the roles are reversed and you are contacting customer service with a problem. Leaning on your own experiences will help you understand callers better. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Take responsibility for their questions and get involved. Especially if the content of the interaction is a complaint.
Use empathy statements and make the customer service experience as positive as possible. You may not be able to solve callers' problem in its entirety, but at least you did your best.
For example, if a client is calling to say that their email forms are down for a week, imagine how many emails they missed. It probably cost them a lot of customers that will never come back. And you might have just lost one, too.
#4 Allow the customer to describe the situation
If customers are angry, don't interrupt them. It's essential for you to hear out the whole situation. Additionally, use sentences that will encourage them to tell you more. Ask callers to validate their point of view.
For example: “So, your email forms were down. When did you notice this and what happened after you spotted it?”
If a customer is right, acknowledge this to calm them down. Ensure they know they’re in the right hands. Listen to them, so they feel understood and see that you care. You may also offer compensation, if your company rules allow so.
For example: “Yes, I can see that your forms broke down on Monday, April 29th. We are sincerely sorry for this and we will do our best to prevent it from happening. Here is what we can both do together to make sure it won't happen again. As compensation for inconveniences caused, please accept a discount voucher.”
#5 Ask more questions
Customers sometimes don't know how to present a problem accurately. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Doing so will let you understand the situation better. For example, if a customer didn't mention something that is critical to you, you need to ask for additional data.
You can do this using empathy statements, such as:
- What happened after you noticed the issue?
- What is the aftermath of the issue?
Then, when you get what you need, you will have a complete picture of the problem.
#6 Show that you care
To provide more empathy during conversations, use phrases that show your interest. By sharing that you care for consumers, you build rapport with them.
For example: “I’m really sorry you had to go through all this, I know what it felt like. Me, myself, was once in this situation.”If callers say they have a bad day, try to lead a brief conversation. But don’t get too carried away from the main issue. Simply show that you, as well, are human.
#7 Be respectful
Respect your customers by approaching them politely and with empathy. Never talk down to them. Rather lead the conversations like a professional.
For example, instead of saying: “I don’t see how someone with your background could understand backend development, but let me try to explain.”, you can say: “I’ll try to explain it quickly and simply - this is what happened with your website.”
Be friendly, but not too casual. Be firm, but not frustrated. In discussions with customers, you have to be focused on the needs of the caller. The point is to not let your emotions take over you.
#8 Say “thank you”
Saying thank you is always a must. Use empathy statements like thank you for calling us, thank you for waiting, or we appreciate your time.
For example, you can say: “Thank you for calling to report this issue. Without great customers like you, we wouldn’t be able to improve our product and service - you’ve been really helpful and we appreciate it.”
After the interaction, a customer may give you good feedback. Thank them for that, too. Appreciate their attitude. It will make them feel important.
It's crucial to make your customers feel comfortable. Show that your company cares about them. Use empathy statements to win them over.
When you prioritize conveying empathy within your customer service strategy, you show that you understand your customers’ concerns. You prove that you care about solving their issues, as well as answering their questions. Simply put, you showcase the best of your customer service.