By Nancy Friedman. Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training.

If I could, I would eliminate this phrase from customer service.

There is simply no way on G-Ds green earth one person can understand the feelings of others. We can sympathize, but as an empathy statement. Watch this:

You can say: “Gee, I’ve never had that experience.”

You can say: “That has got to be very frustrating.”

You can say: “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.”

You can say: “I’ve had that experience and agree, it’s frustrating.”

But you cannot/should not say: “I understand how you feel.”


At my dads funeral, a friend came up to me and said, “Oh I’m so sorry Nancy, I know how you feel.” I said, “Myrna, your dad is sitting right over there . . . how can you know how I feel?” And even if she had lost her dad, each of our feelings are so different. It’s just not a great statement when trying to say, “I’ve been there too.” Use the positive alternatives shown in our video blog.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.