It's easy to find empathy when we see someone who has a disability, a homeless child on TV or an animal suffering from mistreatment. What about the people you pass on the street, your customers or someone on the other end of the phone - those you have no obvious visual clues to draw from? Everyone has a story waiting to be told.
One of the greatest challenges for the business owner is to validate the irate customer's story without it being told.
You can create an environment that's conducive to validation by letting people 'hang out' and not have to defend their story. Whether your business is bricks-and-mortar, an online business or home-based, creating distinctive value is of the utmost importance for repeat business.
Borders Book Stores took the signs at other stores to heart that read 'Do not read the books and magazines' and created an atmosphere that allows people to explore at their leisure. Amazon.com created a convenient similar online experience. Starbucks changed the retail/restaurant mentality of getting people in and out quickly by letting their customers bask in their experience.
What are your distinctive values?