Empathy: The Key to Outstanding Customer Service

As a customer service executive, you win half the battle by simply understanding the customer's issue.

As a customer service executive working for a cellular network company, you will often have to call customers who haven’t paid their bills. Suppose you call one such customer who hasn’t paid his bill and find that he has been unhappy with the service provided by your company. He also mentions that he has complained before but no action has been taken.

Let’s say that this is how you respond to his concern: “We will resolve the issue. Now, tell me, when are you going to make the payment of your previous bills?”

Related: Find a matching customer service job.

Unfortunately, this sort of approach towards customers won’t take you too far in your customer service career. Customer service executives, field agents and other employees who interact with customers regularly are often the face of the organization that they work for. When customers believe that you care for their needs, they will continue to be faithful to your company. As a customer service agent, it is your key goal to keep your customers happy. If you begin to lose your customers because they are unhappy with the service being provided, then you’re making the company pay a very high price, no matter who the customers are.

Related: 8 Customer Service Skills You Need as a Call Centre Employee


One of the best ways to ensure a great customer experience is by listening and showing empathy.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for the person in a difficult situation, but you don’t feel his/her pain as deeply. Empathy is when you feel the pain and loss of the other person as your own.

The art of understanding and acknowledging a customer’s feelings and needs before finding a solution will ensure your success as a customer service agent. When a customer feels understood and cared for at a company, he/she is better inclined to stick with the services offered by your company for a long period of time.

Related: 10 Successful Traits of a Customer Service Executive

Therefore, empathizing with the customer is not just the solution to their problem but also the solution to your career growth by achieving higher targets and positive ratings.


Here is how empathy helps you:

1. Builds rapport: As an executive you want to build rapport with the customer to get more business or to upsell a product. Empathy allows you to connect with your customer, establish rapport and create a sense of teamwork between the two of you.

2. Saves time: Once the customer realizes that you are on his or her side, he or she will be willing to work with you to fix the problem, or will allow you the time to resolve the issue. This makes the process go faster because you are working together with the customer.

3. Higher targets: Satisfied customers don’t take up much of your time and help you achieve all kinds of targets and receive incentives for the same.

4. Reduces stress: This leads to higher work satisfaction and reduced level of stress.

Related: Stressed about finding a job?


Here’s how you can empathise with the customer:

1. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated

2. Our customers are very important. Make them feel that way.

3. If you are unable to resolve any issue, escalate it to your supervisor and show the customer how important they are to you.

4. Even if the customer talks about any other product or problem that was not his main issue, show equal concern.

Make use the following phrases and deliver them with sincerity and warmth:

1. I assure you

2. I’m sorry

3. I understand

4. I can imagine

5. I apologise

6. I’ll personally look into this

Related: Going for a job interview? Use these powerful words to make an impression.


Often, customer service executives are sympathetic because they are expected to be. As a result they do not go deep into the customer’s issue and feel the pain that he/she is feeling. This is often because they are worried about their own targets and problems.

What they do not realize is that the solution of their problems and targets lies in customer happiness and satisfaction. And if they are empathetic to the customer’s needs and are able to attend to their anger in the first place, their own problems will be solved and the targets will be met.

To find customer service jobs matching your skills and preferences, create your SmartProfile™ today.

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