Empathy vs. Sympathy

Empathy vs. Sympathy

May 4, 2020

As Collectors, we are in a period where the use of excellent Bridging skills is essential, as all of our customers; and all of us, are all in the storm of this Covid-19. It is more important than ever to use the appropriate skills to Acknowledge emotion, PAUSE (to allow the customer to vent and respond, if need be) and effectively Transition after Removing Isolation. To avoid getting in the boat with the customer, we must be empathetic not sympathetic. Many of the Associates at our clients are asking for more specific help – “What does that sound like?” This week in our MOS Coaching tips we get a little more tactical and very specific to help your MOS teams succeed. To be great empathetic collectors; to be skilled at providing our customers with solutions, we must:

Avoid offering programs too soon.

Avoid sharing personal stories.

Avoid judging the customer’s ability to pay.

Use the Pause to hear the customer – did the customer hear your Acknowledgement?


Below are a few examples – create your own effective empathy statement/ response.


Customer: I lost my job due to this whole corona virus thing and I am not sure what I can do.



Agent: I am sorry to hear that (you lost your job).

Agent: Yeah, a lot of folks are in the same boat.

Agent: I have some family members and friends that also lost their jobs.



Agent: I can only imagine the stress you are under right now.

Agent: I am sure it is pretty scary losing a job during this uncertain season we are in.

Agent: I can’t even imagine the pressure you are experiencing.


Customer: I am on the front line and trying to keep my family safe while I am exposed daily.



Agent: I know that is tough. Good thing you have a job as others are not working.

Agent: That sounds pretty scary. I know I couldn’t do it.

Agent: I am sure you are having a hard time. I have friends also out in this stuff.



Agent: I can’t even imagine the daily stress of your job.

Agent: I can imagine you are pretty overwhelmed with everything. Let me be one of the first to say, “Thank you for your service.”

Agent: I cannot begin to understand what you are going through. Please know many of us appreciate your sacrifice.


Customer: I can’t believe you people are calling me about this! Don’t you know what is going on in the world right now??!!



Agent: I’m sorry to bother you with this. I know the calls are stressful.

Agent: Yeah, things are crazy right now!

Agent: We are just trying to help you. We do have some programs to offer to you.



Agent: You sound stressed! I know this Covid-19 has a lot of people on edge.

Agent: I can hear the anxiety in your voice over this Covid-19.

Agent: I can see how this situation has many people overwhelmed and stressed.


Ineffective Transitions (with or without a PAUSE).

Agent: We do have programs to offer you, if you would just give me a few minutes of your time.

Agent: We know people can’t pay right now, that is why we want to offer you a program.

Agent: If you are able to pay something now, I can help stop the calls.


Effective Transitions (after a PAUSE).

Agent: I want you to know my company cares. I would love to take a few minutes to discuss solutions with you.

Agent: I have lots of experience helping customers during this challenging time. Let’s see what you and I can work out together.

Agent: I am so happy you got me on the phone today. I am sure if you and I work together, we can find some options to help you through this.