How to show empathy over the phone

When you’re dealing with a difficult call, whether the customer is upset or irritate, it’s crucial at all times to speak to them and communicate with empathy.

Empathy by definition is ‘the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing, from that person’s form of reference.’ In other words, it is being able to step into that person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. When dealing with calls relating to funerals, or care businesses it is especially important to recognise the nature of the calls will be extremely sensitive, and at times quite emotional for the caller. Below we’ve listed out the key ways our staff communicate with empathy when dealing with your customers.

Walk the walk

Using empathetic language throughout the call is the first step in helping the caller feel you’re empathising with their situation. Phrases such as: ‘If I were in your position, I would feel a similar way’, ‘I would be asking the same question,’ ‘That would frustrate me, too,’ can go a long way in defusing the person’s frustrations or upset on the call.

Active listening

When you’re empathising you need to empower the person on the call to tell you exactly how they’re feeling about the situation, whilst also making it clear you’re listening. Active listening involves affirming you’re following the person’s conversation, and repeating phrases back the person has said. This reassures the person speaking that their feedback is being taken on board, and listened to.

Be realistic

If someone is calling to arrange details of a funeral, it is unrealistic to say you know exactly how the person on the call feels. You might not have any idea of the pain and loss the person is feeling, and so saying ‘I know exactly how you feel’ can be inappropriate on a call like this. Sympathising with the situation is the better way to address the call, acknowledging this is a painful, sad time for the person you’re speaking to and letting them know you’re here to ease some of their load can go a long way in creating a positive call.

Frontline has been providing 24/7/365 outsourced call centre customer support to a diverse range of businesses for over 16 years. For more information on how we can support your business contact us today on: 0148 922 2801.