Contact Center

Empathy Statements for Customer Service: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid

Rimlee Patgiri
October 13, 2023
 mins read

Last modified on

Ever felt the sting of frustration when dealing with customer service? 

Navigating through a maze of impersonal responses and missed opportunities for empathy. We've all been there.

But fret not, we’ll explore such customer service statements to be avoided and find alternative approaches. 

Let’s learn how a shift in language can turn irate customers into delighted patrons. 

So, let's transform the dialogues in customer service and make every interaction a positive and empathetic experience.

Before we start off, keep this empathy statements checklist in handy.

The "Empathy Fail" Hall of Fame: 10 Customer Service Phrases to Avoid 

Imagine if there was an award show for the most uncomfortable empathy fails in customer service. Who would take home the trophy? Let's meet the nominees:

1. "It's Not My Department" Dave

Empathy statement examples
Example of empathy statement to avoid

A regular nominee, Dave is well-known for never venturing beyond his department's boundaries. When a customer inquired about a related issue, Dave swiftly replied, "Sorry, that's not my department. You'll have to call someone else." The result? Customer frustration.

The Solution

Instead of passing the buck, Dave could have offered to assist the customer in finding the right department or person. Transferring the call is fine, but guiding the customer or making the transfer for them is more empathetic.

2. "You'll Have to Hold" Michelle

Sympathy and empathy in customer service examples
Example of empathy statement to avoid

The timeless classic, "Please hold," has a knack for making customers feel unimportant and dismissed. It's like saying, "I have better things to do right now."

The Solution

Always offer the option to hold but provide alternatives like scheduling a callback or suggesting self-help resources. Make the customer feel like their time is valued.

Reduce long wait times and make customer’s time feel valued.

3. "I Can't Do That" Sarah

Sample empathy statements call center
Sample empathy statements call center

Sarah, another frequent nominee, is known for her penchant for saying, "I can't do that." Unfortunately, customers aren't interested in hearing about limitations; they seek solutions!

The Solution

Instead of focusing on what can't be done, try saying, "Here's what I can do for you," and explore alternative solutions or escalate the issue to someone who can assist.

4. "It's in the Policy" Patty

Example of positive assurance statements
Example of positive assurance statements

A reigning champion, Patty is the go-to person for "It's in the policy." When customers request an exception, she confidently drops the policy bomb, leaving customers feeling defeated.

The Solution

While policies are important, they shouldn't be wielded like a weapon. Patty could explain the policy and then explore whether any exceptions or alternatives can be considered.

5. "I Don't Know" Ivan

Sample empathy statements call center
Sample empathy statements call center

Ivan, a perpetual nominee, frequently resorts to saying, "I don't know." While it's acceptable not to have all the answers, leaving customers hanging is not. This results in an angry customer with a negative customer experience. 

The Solution

Instead of admitting ignorance and leaving it at that, Ivan could offer to research the issue or direct the customer to someone who may have the answers.

Upgrade customer conversations. Book a demo today.

6. "Calm Down" Carol

Sample empathy statements call center
Sample empathy statements call center

Carol's empathetic phrase of choice is "Calm down." Unfortunately, this often has the opposite effect, like waving a red flag at a bull.

The Solution

Replace "Calm down" with more reassuring and empathetic statements like, "I understand this situation can be frustrating; let's work together to find a solution."

7. "You're the First One to Complain" Ralph

Personal empathy statements for customer service
Personal empathy statements for customer service

Ralph's empathy fails when telling customers, "You're the first one to complain about this." This unintentionally belittles their concern.

The Solution

Instead of downplaying the issue, Ralph could acknowledge the customer's feedback and express gratitude for bringing it to their attention. Then, work toward resolution.

Did you know AI feedback can eliminate such blunders? Talk to an expert.

8. The "Empathy Void" Vicky

Empathy statements for customer service email
Example of positive assurance statements

Nothing can deflate a customer's confidence faster than encountering the "Empathy Void" Vicky. When faced with a customer's distress over a significant issue like data loss, responding with a casual "It happens" can feel like a cold splash of water.

The Solution

Vicky can transform this empathy blunder by responding empathetically, saying, "I understand how frustrating losing data can be. Let's work together to find a solution and recover your data." This compassionate approach reassures the customer and opens the door to problem-solving.

9. "You Should Be Grateful" Gina

Personal empathy statements for customer service
Personal empathy statements for customer service

Gina thinks customers should count their blessings. Her empathy fails: "You should be grateful it's not worse." No one likes to be guilt-tripped.

The Solution

Instead of making customers feel guilty, Gina could empathize with their concerns and reassure them that their feedback is valuable for improvement.

10. "I Can't Help You" Ian

Empathy statements for customer service email
Example of empathy statement to avoid

Ian's straightforward approach of saying, "I can't help you," leaves customers feeling abandoned and frustrated.

The Solution

Instead of a dead end, Ian could acknowledge the issue and explain that he will do his best to find a solution or connect the customer with someone who can assist.

7 Best Practices To Incorporate Positive Empathy Statements

Empathy is not just a skill; it's a mindset that can help establish strong customer relations, enhance your brand's reputation, and improve customer satisfaction.

By emphasizing these seven best practices, you'll create a customer service approach that resolves issues effectively and makes frustrated and angry customers feel valued and understood.

1. Active Listening and Patience

Active listening is the cornerstone of effective empathy. When a customer reaches out with an issue or concern, take the time to listen carefully without interruption. Patience is key; some customers may need extra time to express their feelings. By patiently hearing them out, you signal that their concerns are important to you.

2. Express Genuine Understanding

It's not enough to passively listen; you should actively convey that you understand the customer's emotions and perspective. Use empathetic language to mirror their feelings, such as "I can see why you're frustrated" or "I understand how important this is to you." This demonstrates that you're attuned to their needs and feelings.

3. Offer Solutions, Not Roadblocks

While acknowledging the customer's feelings is crucial, providing solutions or assistance is equally important. Instead of saying, "I can't do that," focus on what you can do or suggest alternatives. You demonstrate your commitment to helping them by presenting constructive steps toward resolution.

4. Empathetic Tone and Body Language

Empathy extends beyond words. Pay attention to your tone of voice, ensuring it's calm, friendly, and understanding. If you're communicating in person, maintain open body language and eye contact to show that you're fully engaged in customer service conversations. Your non-verbal cues can reinforce your empathetic stance.

5. Continuous Learning and Improvement

Customer service is an evolving field, and staying empathetic requires ongoing learning. Encourage your customer support team to engage in empathy training and share their experiences. Use customer feedback as a valuable resource for identifying areas where you can enhance empathy in your interactions. Adapt and refine your approach based on these insights.

6. Consistency Across All Channels

Consistency is key to building trust. Whether your customer service interactions occur through phone calls, emails, chat, or face-to-face meetings, ensure that your empathy approach remains consistent. Customers should experience the same level of care and understanding regardless of their chosen communication channel

7. Customer-Centric Culture

Building a culture of empathy starts with your organization's leadership. Everyone from top executives to frontline staff should understand the importance of customer service empathy statements

Embed empathy in your company's core values and ensure it guides decision-making at all levels. A customer-centric culture fosters an environment where empathy becomes second nature in every customer service conversation.

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How Convin Helps Agents Follow Empathetic Statements?

Convin's AI-powered features can help agents follow empathetic statements by providing feedback, coaching, and training. This can lead to improved customer service experiences and increased customer satisfaction.

Let’s understand them one-by-one.

1. AI Audit And Feedback

Convin's AI Audit and Feedback feature can help agents follow empathetic statements by identifying and analyzing customer interactions. The AI can identify areas where the agent could have been more empathetic, and provide feedback on improving. 

For example, the AI might identify a situation where the agent could have expressed empathy for the customer's frustration, or where they could have used more inclusive language.

2. Real-Time Coaching

Convin's real-time coaching feature can help agents follow empathetic statements by providing them with feedback on their interactions with customers as they are happening. This can be especially helpful for new agents or agents who are struggling with empathy. 

For example, the AI might suggest a more empathetic response to a customer's complaint, or remind the agent to use the customer's name.

3. AI Feedback Post-Interactions

Convin's AI feedback post-interactions feature can help agents follow empathetic statements by providing them with feedback on their interactions after they have happened. This can help agents to identify areas where they can improve their empathy skills over time.

For example, the AI might provide a summary of the agent's interactions, highlighting areas where they were empathetic and areas where they could have improved.

4. Automated Coaching

Convin's automated coaching feature can help agents follow empathetic statements by providing them with personalized training exercises. These exercises are based on the agent's individual performance and needs. 

For example, the AI might provide an exercise on how to express empathy for a customer's frustration, or on how to use more inclusive language.

Conquering Empathy Statements For Customer Service

Our language can be a huge difference between turning a customer conversation into a customer’s personal holiday or a prolonged nightmare. The nominees in our "Empathy Fail" Hall of Fame have showcased the worst, but fear not – solutions abound. 

From embracing active listening and patience to offering constructive solutions, there's a toolkit of positive empathy statements waiting to be employed. Remember, it's not just about apologizing; it's about understanding, acknowledging, and resolving. 

It’s important to embrace a customer-centric culture where empathy is prioritized, turning every customer interaction into a celebration of satisfaction. Because, in the end, the true winner is the one who leaves customers not just heard but truly valued. Sign up with Convin and explore how to deliver a better customer service experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Customer Service?

Customer service is the practice of providing assistance, support, and solutions to customers before, during, and after they purchase a product or service. It aims to meet customer needs and enhance their overall experience.

2. What are personal empathy statements for customer service?

A personal empathy statement is an expression that conveys understanding and care for a customer's feelings or situation. 

Examples include:

"I can see why this is important to you," or "I understand how you must be feeling."

3. What are some empathy statements without saying sorry?

Empathy statements without saying sorry include: "I appreciate your patience," "Thank you for bringing this to our attention," or "I'm here to help you find a solution."

4. What is a good customer service example?

A good customer service example is when a representative actively listens to a customer's issue, expresses empathy, provides a timely solution, and follows up to ensure satisfaction. It helps customers stay on the same page with the business and feel valued and understood.

5. What are some great customer service skills?

Great customer service skills include active listening, empathy, effective communication, problem-solving, adaptability, patience, and a strong knowledge of products or services. These skills enable representatives to provide exceptional support to customers.

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