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How to build empathy into customer care

The pandemic has changed the relationships we have with each other, and it’s made human connection more valuable than ever.

Consequently, empathy is now integral to the modern customer experience. Customers want to feel heard, understood and supported, and they’ll vote with their feet – taking their business elsewhere – if these needs aren’t met. 

Many organisations have already engrained empathy into the very fabric of their businesses – some as a direct result of the pandemic experience, but for others, considerable improvement is needed in order to build authentic, trusted and lasting customer relationships. 

At Moneypenny, we know first-hand that empathy shapes customer experience. Our commitment to empathy comes from the top, so thanks to our empathetic leadership, we’ve created a business centred on empathy – both for our people and our clients too. We know that empathy breeds a positive workplace culture, happy staff and therefore happy customers.

With years delivering Telephone Answering, Live Chat, Outsourced Switchboard and customer contact solutions for more than 21,000 businesses across the UK and US, we’ve talked to customers about all sorts of issues and in all emotional states. Empathy has been integral to each and every one of these interactions. It sits firmly at the heart of excellent customer care. 

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned: ​​

  • Listen Customer care representatives aren’t actively listening when they’re talking. Don’t rush or interrupt customers because you need to capture certain information – empathy involves patience. Your customer care team should be able to confidently manage and contribute to conversation as it unfolds. 
  • Repeat – Use the same words as your customers to show you’ve understood. It’s proven that in employer-employee disputes, when both sides repeat what the other has said, resolution is reached 50% faster. In customer care terms, this is a serious win.
  • React – Reacting to what you’ve heard as you’ve heard it shows you’re listening. It doesn’t have to involve the spoken word either – non-verbal cues can help. Failure to react to a customer’s conversation or emotion can come across as being disinterested or distracted.
  • Be genuine – Be your authentic self and respond accordingly. While you must always be professional, make sure your responses are human and sincere.

For more practical tips on furnishing customer-facing teams with the emotional intelligence they need to excel and to find out just how empathetic your team is, take our quiz and download our new ‘Putting empathy at the heart of customer care’ report here.

We give you amazing people and technology:


Your own Moneypenny PA to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

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Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

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Pocket Phone System

All the functions and support of an office phone system, minus the hardware.

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