Do your customers need sympathy or empathy? Know the difference

May 11, 2022
Do your customers need sympathy or empathy? Know the difference

If you're intending to start a business or are looking to enhance customer support, you must know the difference between empathy and sympathy.

Customers can be restless, obsessive about the smallest of details, and willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them to get what they want. Consequently, maintaining customer satisfaction while still presenting your business in a professional light can be a difficult task. 

As a result, employees must discuss these issues and learn the distinction between expressing sympathy and empathizing from the perspective of customer service. Occasionally, customers are right when they point out a flaw. 

Mistakes in internal processes can be extremely aggravating, but they are often the consequence of human incompetence and can be readily avoided. At moments like these, it's critical to show empathy towards your customers. 

discussion of colleagues going on

Why must customer service representatives show empathy?

There is no such thing as a proxy for an irate client who simply wants someone to listen and take action to make things right. A sympathetic response must be resisted to prevent frustration from spreading to other people, such as snapping at coworkers or other customers.

An inexperienced customer service representative is more likely to join the emotional roller-coaster of a consumer than a more seasoned one. The customer's emotions may be used as fuel for a crusade on their behalf in which they make promises they can't keep, impose expectations on their coworkers, and advocate on their behalf. 

As a CSR, if you focus on sympathy rather than empathy, you run the risk of ending the day exhausted and enraged, which only serves to exacerbate your stress and anxiety over time. Let’s look at an example of what showing sympathy means: 

Dan: I can’t access my account. I have not received any assistance since my last complaint.

CSR: Wow! This is so irresponsible of my team. I apologize for their inconsistency. This is not acceptable. 

While customer service representatives are there to serve customers, they must also represent and safeguard the interests of the organization, which includes finding solutions that are mutually beneficial for both parties. 

It's counterproductive to take a sympathetic approach in that capacity since it can lead to unkept promises and worry over having to retract the pledges, which typically leads to an aggravation of the situation and even more enraged consumers.

The ability to distinguish between empathy and pity is an asset in both the workplace and one's personal life. Using empathy in difficult situations helps one to express care and compassion, while also allowing one to be free and detached from the emotional burden of emotions. 

Achieving the desired result is important and makes our clients' lives easier, but it leaves out the opportunity to demonstrate to them that you are paying attention and that you comprehend their problems.

As a result, building trust and rapport with your clients is easier when you actively involve them in the sales process, listen to what they have to say, and respond to what they say. 


Why avoid being sympathetic?

Sympathy is a hollow expression. Although it may be passionate and well-intentioned, it's still just lip service. Every time we're fed a line or given a useless platitude, we know it. Sympathy might distance us from those we care about. 

Often sympathy is misunderstood as a form of pity. Nobody enjoys being a pity party. However, empathizing with the other person's situation and offering something substantial in an attempt to improve the connection is a different story.

The ability to empathize with consumers is gained by paying attention to what they have to say and responding to them directly. Consider what it's like to be on the receiving end of a thoughtful and empathetic response. When we feel empathy, we're more likely to engage in conversation. Here’s an example to consider: 

Tina: Hi, I would like to downgrade my subscription to the cheapest paid version. I do not like the current version I am on. 

CSR: Greetings! We are sad to know that your experience with your current subscription has not been great. May we ask for your feedback so we can get a better insight into your concerns?

To be empathic, a customer care representative must put themselves in the shoes of their client and consider the problem from their point of view. When an agent can get to know their consumer, they can provide them with a better solution to their problem.

Final thought: Customer service representatives today lack empathy, one of the most vital qualities. For those in charge of making sure customers have an amazing experience, you're doing the right thing by attempting to instill empathy into your company's culture of service.