Building customer rapport in calls matters. Are your agents set up to do so?

Ashley Sava

Every interaction plays a part in a customer’s perception of your organization. Establishing the best possible customer experience means your agents must know best practices regarding how to build rapport with both customers and prospects over the phone. 

Rapport building starts with the first interaction and is an ongoing initiative. As the relationship blossoms, so should the rapport with the client. Here are some tips for making sure your call center reps are laying down the right foundation. 

Personalize the experience

When forming a connection with a customer, being able to recall relevant information about that person and incorporate it into future conversations speaks volumes. In order to pull this off, you must keep your customer’s information up-to-date. Review it before reaching out. If you have the right software in place, you should be able to listen to recordings from previous calls to obtain the best context. This steers your conversations with the customer to a relevant and individualized place.

Use mirroring

Psychology tells us that people are more likely to trust and like people who are similar to themselves. Is your customer cracking jokes? Maintain the mood by providing funny and light responses. Is your customer clearly in a hurry? Pick up the conversation’s pace. Are they rolling with tech lingo? Try and reflect that language right back. 

Practice behavioural flexibility with your coworkers and in your personal life to master all kinds of conversation mirroring techniques with ease. 

Learn your customer’s true needs

Are they looking for a service or product after trying out a competitor before that didn’t work out? What didn’t they like about the other provider’s offerings? Alternatively, is this the first time they have tried the product or service and they needed your organization to address their pain points? What solution are they looking for?  

The better you understand the customer, the better their experience will be. Whenever appropriate, try and gather additional information so that future interactions can be that much more focused. 

RESPECT

Ask your customer how they would like to be addressed and don’t forget your manners. Never lose patience on a call, regardless of how frustrating it becomes. Interacting with etiquette shows professionalism and courtesy. One heated conversation can derail the entire customer experience and cause your customer to churn and spread negative word of mouth. 

Don’t be a robot

Be a real person on the call. Even if you’re required to stick to a script, take advantage of tone, pitch and inflection to help you sound more natural. If it’s in your nature, firing off a small joke or showing your personality can heighten the overall experience. Reassure your customers that you are happy to assist them by dropping the monotone speech and picking up an upbeat mannerism that is authentically portrayed over the phone line. 

Show appreciation 

Thank patient customers for their graciousness. When a customer agrees to respond to a survey, sincerely thank them for their time. Compliment customers who purchase powerful products and services and reassure them they have made the right choice. A little gratitude goes a long way. 

Manage expectations

A customer should never have to wonder about timelines, progress and next steps. Those items should be proactively communicated to them right away. If the customer has hopes that your organization can meet needs that you’re not confident can be met, be frank with them in order to establish trust. Transparent interactions set up accurate expectations. 

Persistence pays off

There is a level of tenacity that must be reached before rapport can be fully established in a customer to agent relationship. With determination and steadfastness, your agents and your organization can win the trust and devotion of your customers.

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