When confronted with a seemingly sincere: “I totally understand,” after filing a customer support ticket with a particular company, we feel like we’ve found an ally. They get me! It sure is nice to feel understood. We feel empowered when we’re able to convince someone to go along in our train of thought and have them rally behind our cause. Suddenly, the problem at hand doesn’t seem that bad. A customer support agent’s ability to fully grasp what a customer is going through and subsequently relay that feeling relies heavily on their empathic ability.
Letting customers know that they are understood can be tricky. For instance, through a text-based conversation, the sincerity of the customer support agent becomes harder to gauge. The more (sensory) input the conversation provides, the easier it becomes.
Recruit and select customer support agents with tons of empathy and continuously train them to become even more empathic. Have them experience real-life situations that may occur with your customers.
Totally understanding the customer doesn’t mean completely agreeing with everything the customer thinks about your company. There is a fine line between siding with the customer and siding against the company. Tread carefully.