Showing empathy over the phone - tips for contact centres and telephone answering services

There will be many times in your career where a customer will call you while needing emotional support. Whether your business is funeral call handling, or you're helping clients during their times of need, staff who are answering the phones and helping these clients need to ensure that they understand the situation at hand. Showing empathy through the call can help to reassure the customer, offering them a better customer experience, while also allowing you to help create a connection with them, leading to a more specific and tailored service being offered. At Frontline, our experts have had lots of experience dealing with these situations, and have listed their top tips for showing empathy over the phone.

1. Always listen

Most of the time, just listening to the client will help them calm down and feel as though they are being cared for. Obviously, this doesn’t mean listening without responding; active empathetic listening involves showing the customer that you have listened by repeating what you have heard and then acting on this information. This shows the customer that you are paying attention to them and reassuring them that you understand what the problems are and can offer solutions.

2. Validate their problems

Tell the customer that you understand why they are feeling upset, and that you would too in that situation. By connecting with the customer on an emotional level, and letting them know that you would react in the same way, the customer is far more likely to view the person on the end of the phone as another human being. This will allow for more realistic expectations of what you can achieve, while also letting the customer know their feelings are justified.

3. Work with the customer

When showing empathy on the phone, an excellent tip is to ‘team up’ with the customer, using phrases such as ‘we can fix this problem by…’ or ‘we can solve this issue together by…’. Using plural pronouns allows the customer to feel part of the process and the solution, creating an empathetic connection with you, as well as allowing them to feel as though they can be part of the solution. Working together in a team creates a much more responsive conversation, resulting in you getting the information you need quicker, and the customer receiving the assistance they need faster.

At Frontline, we pride ourselves on offering cost-effective, high quality call answering services to medium and large organisations. For more information about our services please take a look at our website or contact us today.