This trait won hands down as the most important characteristic when serving customers. In so many cases you get APATHY, the exact opposite of EMPATHY and SYMPATHY.
Simply put, empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if what happened to them, happened to you?
Sympathy is a showing of feelings. True Story – On a recent trip, my wallet was stolen. All my credit cards, checkbook, driver’s license and, of course, the few dollars I had in it.
I proceeded to start making the appropriate phone calls to each credit card company – there were 4 in all. After giving my name, and that I was at Disneyland, and my wallet was stolen with 4 credit cards, cash, and checkbook, the person on the other end blurts out: NAME? I was tempted to say, “It’s still Nancy Friedman, the first name I gave you.”
There was no, “Gee, I’m sorry that happened,” no, “Oh my, how sad.” All they wanted was my name. No empathy, no sympathy at all. I hope those people (and by the way, all 4 credit card companies did the very same thing) never go through that loss. All I wanted to hear was a, “Gee, that’s so sad.” Or a plain old, “I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s get that fixed.” Someone who understood. Someone who had empathy and sympathy.
Empathy and sympathy are the first ingredients for a service mentality. Without it, you’re just a grey mass of average.