9 phrases which show you understand your customer’s problems

Showing empathy is a cornerstone of good customer service. It’s important for three very good reasons: it encourages healthy customer relations, it can turn one-off buyers into repeat customers and it can even yield higher customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, customers appreciate being listened to and feeling that their concerns or problems are being taken seriously.

Empathy leads to customer loyalty

Customers value being able to talk to a human. So-called “humanised experiences” can play a massive role in a customer’s decision-making process - both at the moment of purchase and when deciding to return.

Ultimately, customer loyalty is something all companies should be striving for.

According to Forbes, the investment required to acquire new customers is five times greater than to retain current customers. What’s more, existing customers are 50% more likely to buy a new product from you and will spend 31% more than new customers.

Happy customers also tell their friends, family members and colleagues about their favourite brands - something which also pushes referral traffic.

Figures show that 59% of consumers feel that companies no longer offer a “human touch”. Companies which are lacking in this regard are missing an enormous opportunity.

Add a human touch to the language you use with customers

Language is incredibly important. The way you use it with your customers can ensure that you leave a good impression and that they go away satisfied.

It's important to watch your tone. You have to strive to be genuine and avoid false empathy or risk escalating tensions.

Here are 9 phrases which are good to use in interactions.

1) "I'm sorry to hear that"

Saying you’re sorry doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong.

Using the phrase "I'm sorry to hear that" shows your customers that you empathise with their situation and that you’re not just an emotionless robot.

2) "I hear you" or "I appreciate that feedback"

These are very simple yet effective phrases.

While, of course, they want their issue to be resolved, clients who have been through a fiasco sometimes just want to be given the chance to vent.

Allowing them to do so can build rapport.

3) "I see that x is stopping you from doing y"

Saying that you understand the problem and actually understanding it are two different things.

Instead of saying something generic such as "I understand. I’m going to go investigate that", it’s better to go a bit further and be more specific. Show that you understand the issue and why it’s stopping them from doing what they want to do.

This not only shows that you’re listening; it gives confidence that you are going to solve the problem both well and quickly.

4) "It sounds like you’ve had a difficult time"

Likewise, acknowledging that your customer may have had a difficult time also shows an understanding of their issue.

By accepting that your customer’s issue is challenging, they are much more likely to form a bond with you and realise that they need your assistance

5) “How can I help?"

If you’re faced with a customer who has a lot to get off their chest, you can slickly move the conversation on by asking “how can I help?”

This allows you to move on to solving their issue in a friendly way, without dismissing their concerns.

6) "I want to resolve this for you"

When things don’t go to plan, you want to avoid a situation where it feels like it’s the client pitted against the customer service agent.

Telling the customer that you want to resolve this for them changes the dynamic completely. It then becomes you and the customer against the problem.

7) "We can work through this together"

Similarly, using collaborative words like "we" demonstrates that you're working towards a resolution in tandem with your customer.

What’s more, it makes the customer feel part of the problem-solving effort, creating rapport.

8) "I agree with you completely"

When customers are especially upset, sometimes the best thing an agent can do is to validate their feelings.

When you’re angry or frustrated, being told that you’re right is a good feeling.

On the surface it might seem like a bad idea to tell a customer they’re right (and, by default, you’re wrong). However, that’s not the case.

In fact, it shows that you’re a company that listens to its customers and is willing to find ways to improve its service.

9) "Thank you for that suggestion. We’ll see if we can action that"

Inevitably there will be times when your service or product doesn’t meet expectations.

If this is the case, companies that care about good service will strive to find a solution so this doesn’t happen again - and not ignore it or hope it goes away.

In cases such as these, it's important to acknowledge that the feedback has been heard. The customer then feels that their opinion is valued.

Other ways to be empathetic

Showing an understanding of a client’s issues isn’t limited to your use of language. There are other ways to be empathetic.

One way is to make exceptions. Of course, customer care policies are in place for a reason, but sometimes, especially if it’s a large transaction or one with big potential for the future, it’s worth breaking the rules.

Sometimes you also have to look at the circumstances and external factors. Showing some goodwill, especially during times of personal crisis, can encourage brand loyalty.

Superagent for your business

One tool that can help to deliver consistent, empathetic customer service is Superagent.

Thanks to Conversation Blocks, for example, you can prepare multiple templated answers for all situations.

Save all of the above phrases and have them at your agents’ fingertips via easy-to-use keyboard shortcuts.

Download the program here now, streamline your customer service offering and deliver higher customer satisfaction and better results.