How To Practice Customer Service Empathy

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customer service empathy

How To Practice Customer Service Empathy

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Customer service really isn’t just a department, it is for everyone who cares. Purchasing anything is typically connected to an emotional decision. Sure, we often buy based on our need, but often choices we make leading up to that purchase are based on a feeling. Do you practice customer service empathy?

In my soon to be released book, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, I wrote about the difference in mind-set between short- and long-term strategies. A customer service memory may be built in a moment, but there are many things leading up to that moment and often some lengthy things following behind.

Customer Experience

The customer experience sometimes begins after the test drive, after the emotion of the moment, and long after the purchase is made. It isn’t the short game, it is often more about the long game, even the experience of a cup of coffee, a convenience store purchase, or the click of a computer mouse.

Since we have memory, and in many cases make a similar purchase again, it is clearly a long-term connection. Building that connection, creating the customer experience, it may all be based on our ability to demonstrate empathy.

Customer Service Empathy

Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is about understanding. If business relationships are about people, then customer service is about empathy.

Empathy doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It doesn’t happen when you don’t care. It happens because you care.

Our feelings and building the connection often happens through memories. Things like scents, sounds, and images. What our senses connect with as people.

Even social media channels seem to serve more posts to people that contain pictures or video. Coincidence, I think not. Strategy, I think so.

We have to take action, speak up, interact and engage to show empathy. No words, no signs, no pictures, and empathy will be harder to demonstrate.

How To Practice

How can you practice customer service empathy?  It is easy to do, demonstrate it. It may start with some simple phrases, here are a few to consider:

  • I’m sorry…
  • How can I help?
  • We’re here for you.

We all know that practice makes perfect.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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