How to empathize with customers

The airline passenger was angry about missing her flight.

It was her fault. She had been sitting at the bar a short distance from the gate and lost track of time. Those things happen in Las Vegas.

Our emotions often rise up to protect our ego, so she looked for someone to blame. The first gate agent she talked to explained the airline’s boarding policies and maintained that he had made several boarding announcements. It was a perfectly rational and reasonable explanation, but it wasn’t the validation she wanted.

So the passenger exploded—ranting, raving and cursing.

Jeff Toister of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. writes more about empathy, a core skill in customer service at

– submitted by Carmen Gass, User Training Services