Reflecting involves respectfully repeating, using your own words, the essence of the person's message with an emphasis on the emotions that are attached to the situation.
Reflecting uses a statement through which you emphasize the feelings you sense from the person, especially if they are complaining, unhappy, frustrated, angry, etc.
In our culture, it is common to fear or run away from strong emotions, especially in the workplace. When we are faced with an upset customer, our first instinct might be to ignore their feelings, hoping that the feelings or the actual customer will go away on their own. Unfortunately, ignoring the discomfort of the customer could make the customer angry instead.
Often, all the person wants to do is vent (i.e., speak without being interrupted, and say how upset they are) for a few minutes and to get their feelings across. Listening calmly and respectfully will allow the customer to express their feelings. The simple act of taking on the customer's frustration through rephrasing will often de-escalate their emotions and will calm the person very effectively.
Rephrasing is similar to paraphrasing (which we discussed in our Tips & Co. from April 30th), since they both involve repeating part of the message that we received from the customer. In this case, however, what is repeated is the feeling or emotion expressed by the person, not the actual content of what has been said.
Obviously, the tone of your voice and your posture must also correspond with the feeling of understanding that you want to convey to the customer through your reflection.
Reflecting is like a mirror, which sends the emotions back to the speaker.