Author: Anders Christian Hjort
Empathy is a very powerful verbal behaviour.
In business conversations like customer complaint calls, in meetings, or in negotiations were feelings are involved, behavioural research show that empathy will help you defuse emotions – it can even substitute an apology, if you feel it would be inappropriate to give an apology.
We also see that sympathy is not effective in the above settings, e.g. in customer complaint handling using sympathetic will prolong the call, and even risk escalate emotions negatively.
I found this RSA animation that illustrates Empathy vs Sympathy from a non commercial point of view: