customer service photo Photo by NBT Natural Building Technologies [CC]

Expressing genuine concern and empathy for the customer's predicament helps.

It does not take much to say "That sounds really unpleasant. I'm sorry you had to experience that."

When we express empathy, most people's gut reaction (at least in Australia) is to minimise it. In doing so they defuse their own angst. And we can all then focus on finding a solution.