We can all agree that offering customer service on chat can significantly shorten wait times and allow easy personalization.
However, conveying empathy, that is, a deep understanding of the customer’s problem and frustration, over chat is challenging. When you speak face-to-face or over the phone, filler words that convey that you’re listening, such as ‘hmm’ and ‘I see’ can help you participate in the conversation while absorbing or noting down the customer’s issues.
Over chat, your sincerity and genuineness still need to be expressed using the right words. Here’s where empathy statements or empathy phrases come to an agent’s rescue. Empathy statements are sentences that agents can use to address a person’s feelings and establish a connection. Empathy statements help agents offer great customer service and improve customer experience.
To help you convey empathy over chat and deliver the best chat support, we’ve shared six tips along with twenty empathy statements that you can use while engaging with the customer.
But first, what are the different types of empathy?
Empathy itself is more than a mere feeling. It can be broken down into three types where you understand, share, and take action to enrich the condition of the person you empathize with. Below are the three kinds of empathy with examples on how to use them in chat support and better navigate difficult situations.
Cognitive empathy: The ability to understand how a person would feel in a given situation.
Cognitive empathy comes from practicing active listening and acknowledging what customers have to say. Paraphrasing a customer’s complaint back to them once they are finished helps both the agent and customer ensure that they’re on the same page.
Emotional empathy: The ability to share the feelings and connect with a person you empathize with. Here’s where you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and relate to their feelings.
For example, stating that you too would be frustrated if you were in the customer’s situation validates their discomfort on the issue. Moving forward, the customer would be more accepting of the solution offered.
Compassionate empathy: When you take action to soothe and comfort a person in distress.
This is where you ask yourself what solution you would need in this situation and propose your customers with options. Explain to your customers why you’re recommending features, packages or products and why it would work best for them.
Combining these three qualities helps customer support representatives understand and take the necessary action needed. This, in turn, helps increase customer satisfaction and build a loyal customer base. Use this with the tips and examples of empathy statements given below to win your customers over.
20 empathy statements for customer service
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention”
6 ways to express empathy better with sample empathy statements
#1 Make customers feel heard
Your tone has a great influence on how the conversation unfolds and customer service phrases like “I can help you with that!” and “I’m sorry you went through this.” can uplift the whole mood of the chat in an instant.
But it’s important to choose your words carefully based on the severity of the customer’s problem and the tone of the conversation. For instance, you can say “That’s awesome” to a customer when their issue has been resolved to share their happiness or relief. However, you can’t say this to a customer who went from pillar to post to get a solution.
In the above example, you can see that the customer’s tone is almost neutral, so the agent thanked the customer for raising the complaint before asking for further details to look into the issue. If the customer seemed furious or took an accusatory tone, the right approach would have been to first apologize and then follow with questions.
You can use the empathetic statements given below with your best judgment to make customers feel heard:
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention”
“Thank you for taking the time to drop us a line”
“I’m sorry you went through this”
“I’m sorry you’re facing this issue”
Such phrases also encourage customers to address any additional issues being faced. This also gives you scope to rectify their error while being empathetic to the customer.
#2 Validate customers’ feelings
The key to making or breaking a difficult conversation lies in validating your customer’s feelings. Showing the customer that their anger, frustration, and concerns are justifiable can help soothe their emotions.
The best way to do that is by looking back at your own experiences. Think about a time when you encountered a similar experience and remember how you felt back then.
Alternatively, putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is another textbook method of empathizing. If you were in your customer’s position, would you feel just as angry or annoyed?
If you agree that the customer’s reaction is warranted, you can use the following phrases to show your support.
“I understand how you feel”
“I would do the same if I were in your position too”
“Your anger/frustration is completely justified”
#3 Thoroughly understand your customer’s problems
Being in customer support gives you expertise on the product you work in. Over time, the doubts and concerns customers raise might start to seem too simple to need assistance. It is important to understand that customers are not experts in your product and might have doubts about the most basic of things.
Realizing our prejudices and unlearning them is of utmost importance in customer support. For example, if a person who is not fluent in English contacts you for assistance, the terms they use might be entirely different. Here’s where offering empathetic assistance becomes all the more important in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
For example, Canyon is a sports cycle e-commerce site that has a target market across Europe. To support their wide customer base, they use multilingual live chat to connect with their customers.
While multilingual support may not be possible for every brand, you can still help out a non-English speaking customer using auto-translate to assist them better. This kind of empathetic service would instantly earn you a loyal customer.
The best way to ensure that you and your customers are on the same page is by repeating or paraphrasing their issue. This way, you get the surety that you’ve entirely understood the customer’s problem. Your customer will also feel confident and comfortable sharing more information if required.
Here are a few questions that you ask:
“If I’ve understood what you’re saying correctly, you’re facing/having trouble with <customer’s issue>”
“Please let me know if my understanding of your problem is accurate – <customer’s issue>”
“To sum up, <customer’s issue>”
Once you’ve completely understood your customer’s problem, you can move on to recommending the right solution.
#4 Keep your customer updated on what’s happening
A customer files a complaint with you in the hope of getting an immediate solution. While your support team might be working hard to clear the issue, the solution might take longer than usual to implement.
Instead of leaving the customer in the dark, make sure to communicate every step of progress from your side. There’s empathy in being proactive and sharing updates since you need to keep your customers on top of mind and have the forethought that they might be worried.
The agent in the above example communicated the mistake on the customer’s side, how long it would take for the new option to process, and also directed the customer to the knowledge base for any further information.
Here are a few phrases that you can use to share updates:
“Hey <customer name>, I’m afraid this is taking longer than expected. The good news is that you can expect to hear from us by <date>”
“Hey <customer name>, just wanted to let you know that we’ve begun implementing the solution for this issue.”
“The <team name> has added this to their queue, and you can expect a solution by <date>”
#5 Prompt empathy in customers
You will often find yourself in a situation that requires you to say no to a customer. For instance, you might have to inform the customer that the product they’re requesting is not in stock, or say no to their request for free shipping.
In such situations, understanding a customer’s point of view enables you to foresee if they are getting skeptical of your intentions. Try to empathize with them to gain back their trust.
Rephrase the part of the chat that made them feel doubtful of your intentions. In some cases, to get a better understanding, paraphrase the chat to ensure that your understanding is correct. This also helps you clear any misunderstanding on the customer’s side.
In the above chat, the agent paraphrased the entire situation for the customer when the chat went the wrong direction. This explanation cleared the customer’s skepticism while also providing further choices to choose from.
These short phrases can help with eliminating misunderstandings:
“Just to be clear, <customer concern>”
“I’m sorry but I can’t help you with this since our policy does not allow for it”
“This isn’t a part of our customer service/company policy, so I’m afraid I can’t process this request”
#6 Work towards finding the right solution
How successful you are in being empathetic to customers depends on how fast you arrive at the right solution. The more effort you put into finding a solution, the faster your customer can return to their everyday life.
But it’s important not to jump the gun. Like we’ve said before, make sure you get the complete picture first. For instance, before asking the customer to refresh or restart a page, question them if they have already done it.
All these elements collectively contribute to finding a solution and improving the customer’s overall satisfaction.
Here are two things to remember while offering a solution:
– Use shorter sentences and avoid technical terms unless it’s absolutely necessary
– Use a casual tone to chat. Get creative and use emojis/gifs if appropriate. This helps the customers to ease any discomfort on their side and communicate better.
The above chat not only initiated a conversation but also informed about an eye-catching offer the customer otherwise might have missed out.
Given below are a few empathy statements you can use while recommending a solution:
“Here’s what you can do –”
“We’re going to <solution>”
“Have you tried – <solution>”
“This help guide has step-by-step instructions can help you fix your issue”
Customers prefer contacting businesses through live chat because it is an easy way for them to get their issues resolved – there’s a relatively shorter wait time and more room for personalized assistance. But it is in the hands of your customer service team to render quality support and ensure that chat conversation remains empathetic especially for difficult or angry customers.
How else do you think empathy has the power to impact customer relations through chat? Let us know in the comments below.
Updated on 19/01/2022
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