Craft your own empathy statement
Why the sad puppy picture? Because dogs seem to be the masters of envoking empathy in us humans.
"Ok, so I apologize for your inconvenience. What else am I supposed to say?"
Stop, don't do that. Empathy is so much more than "I apologize for your inconvenience." In fact, NEVER use that sentence. It is now dead and a sure sign that you're likely less concerned about the customer's issue and more concerned about just getting through the call. That mindset is counter productive and will lead to longer call times, frustrated customers, and poor surveys.
There are many other ways to verbally express your empathy.
I understand how frustrating it is when . . .
I know how confusing it can be to . . .
I'm sorry to hear that
I realize how complicated it is to . . .
Now create your own.
Start with "I" you are the person currently engaging the customer so you are the company for the customer in that moment. It all has to come from you. The next word should be a word that expresses understanding, acknowledgement, or apology.
Use your listening skills to choose a word to describe the customer's emotion and then summarize what the customer experienced.
I realize how complicated it is to do your own taxes using new software.
I can imagine how upsetting it must be to get bounced around from person to person.
Yes, homework. How do you think you can improve anything without practice?
Think about the client company that you are servicing and the issues often faced by their customers. List out the top 3 issues and then describe in a few sentences what most customers say they felt and experienced.
Use the list and description to help you come up with 2-3 empathy phrases that you can switch out depending on the situation. If allowed in the office or if you work from home, post these phrases in a visible place until you can say them easily and with meaning.