Customer Service – An Emotional Experience

WRITTEN March 16, 2012 Author: Rich Atkins

Isn’t it ironic that in some Customer Service scenarios, the problem may end up NOT being solved, yet, the customer will continue to do business with the provider?


In other cases, the problem may be solved, and still, the customer exits.


Why is this?

The answer to these questions can be found in how the customer was treated. If we solve your problem (the “logical fix”) and don’t make you feel valued, there’s noemotional connection. At that point, our service will look like a commodity to you, and you’ll seek the lowest price.

Why would people pay more for a commodity that they know they can get elsewhere, cheaper?

If, on the other hand, you know you are welcome, valued, and cared for–even if we don’t solve your logical problem, we can build and keep rapport by treating you appropriately, acknowledging you and what you’re facing, and then showing empathy for your situation.

Elicit information without confrontation. Do this by asking a question rather than making a confrontational statement, such as:
  • Can you give me more information? (instead of I don’t understand you.)
  • Are you sure? (instead of You’re lying.)
  • Is this correct? (Instead of You’re wrong / You made a mistake.)

Listening means focusing on the words, body language, and overall message of the speaker. This requirespractice. The chief block to listening is self-centeredness (including being distracted by thinking about what you’re going to say next).

Paraphrasing is a way of acknowledging that you heard the other person by restating or rewording what s/he said. When paraphrasing, start with a transitional phrase, such as, “Let me make sure that I understand your point. Do you mean…?”


Provide the logical fix for the customer—solve the problem, if you can. Make it right. Correct the error.  Repair what’s broken.

Acknowledge – Show Empathy

Then, provide an emotional fix, when you can. Let the customer know that you understand (show empathy).  Give something as a gift to the customer to make up for the inconvenience. These kind actions go a long way toward building good will—and repeat business.

This information is from the Improving Communications IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our PUBLIC CLASSES.

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