‘I’m sorry you feel that way,’ needs to be stricken from the customer service bible.
It’s not about how I feel, and it’s not about how you feel. Customer service is about grasping a golden opportunity to help your customer in a way few people can. It’s your customer giving you an opportunity to make them happy by forging a unique connection.
If you decide to lose their business, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way,’ is the wimpy, unsatisfying way to tell people you don’t want their business. Customer service is better equipped to satisfy when they have a short list of companies or products to refer unsatisfied people to. ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ just upsets people. It’s all about the service rep, not the customer. ‘Here’s another company who may be able to help you,’ is all about satisfying the customer. It’s positive, helpful, and straightforward.
Training teaches customer service representatives to say ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ to put the onus for the solution back on the person calling them for help. When the customer cannot respond, the rep ends the call. It’s indirect, rude, serves no practical purpose (other than manifesting anger and wasting time), and is totally unnecessary.
Customer service could take a tip from restauranteurs, who go out of their way, making accommodations however they can in pursuit of one sole result: customer satisfaction.