The Agency Series
During the course of March 2019 we will be releasing our Agency Series.
The series focuses on various aspects of Customer Delight within an Agency.
In our latest blog we discover 9 ways to build up rapport with Agency customers over the phone.
9 Steps to build better customer rapport that will delight your Customers
1. Open the Conversation With a Warm Up and a Smile
To build a strong connection over the phone, smile and begin with a solid warm-up line. A smiling voice feels more welcoming and relaxing and your customers will pick up on your mood without even seeing you.A way to build rapport is to humanise the call and ask some ice breaker questions. It can be anything from, ‘How is your day going so far?’ to ‘How’s the weather in your area today?’
Set the scene without diving into the main purpose of the call right away. The friendlier you are, the friendlier the response you’ll get so reply with a relevant and positive response and move the call forward.
2. Let Customers Know You’re Listening
Rapport building can only work if you let the customer know you’re listening, but keeping it very subtle. Firstly, you can use reflective listening so that you repeat your customers’ points back to them to ensure that you’ve fully understood what they’re saying.
It shows you’re engaged and that you want to help them as much as you can. You should even use gentle ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ as they speak, without going overboard. They’re considered verbal nods as if you were sat in front of your customer, where you’d nod to show you understand.
Don’t drop them in randomly or too much. Let your customers finish what they’re saying so they don’t get frustrated, but do it enough so they know you’re listening.
3. Talk Like Your Customers
To really connect with your customers and build a rapport, you should be versatile enough to switch up your vocabulary to speak like your customers. Listen for words your customers use, such as adjectives to describe something. They might even use a word that means something completely different to them than it does to you.
Nobody needs that confusion, so try not to correct them to make it seem like you’re talking down to them. Instead, use the same words at relevant times to build rapport with them.
Another important way to build rapport with your customers is to show genuine empathy with the words or phrases you say so they know you genuinely care about what they’re saying and any problems they might have. Again, this shows your human side and your customers can easily pick up on it.To share in their emotions and feelings, even simple phrases like: ‘I understand what you mean,’ ‘I can see why this has been a problem for you,’ or even ‘We’re really sorry you haven’t been happy’ convey something more personal and show authenticity in what you’re saying.
It’s a quick, simple and useful way of creating trust between you and the customers on the other end of the phone. Mutual understanding is crucial when it comes to building rapport.
5. Go Off Script
We’re not saying throw your sheets of paper over your shoulders and try to improvise through every single phone call. But if you do use a script, then you’ll be better off injecting some of your own personality into it rather than forcing pre-written words and phrases which can’t help you build rapport.It can be subtle word changes right through to amending the pitch of your voice at times so that you sound more interesting and your customers stay engaged. If it sounds boring, monotone and like hundreds of other phone calls they’ve sat through, they’ll easily switch off.
The willingness to go off script slightly when necessary will make you a lot more memorable.
6. Match The Customer’s Speed
If a customer is speaking to you really slowly and you respond with 200 words per minute, that’s not a great sign. The same applies the opposite way, as you don’t want to bore a customer with a slow, long-winded answer if they’re speaking quite fast.
If, for example, a customer is speaking slowly, then you need to as well. If you choose to talk fast then they won’t be able to understand or process what you’re saying. If you can match a similar speed, tone and style, then you can build rapport with every customer because you’d come across as more relatable to them.
7. Stay Friendly
Obvious, but massively important. Not every customer is going to be super nice over the phone, especially those that are agitated and want a magical solution from you. They might even get annoyed from nowhere if the call quality is poor, so make sure you have a suitable and reliable phone solution in place where calls don’t drop and quality remains intact.
Regardless of the situation, maintain your professionalism, stay upbeat and mirror the customer’s tone so that it can rub off on them.
8. Show a Personal Interest
If you’re calling a customer regularly, then a great way of delighting them is by showing a personal interest in them.
Asking them how their holiday was, if they managed to try out that new restaurant and more - these are all great ways to further delight customers and build a rapport with them. Even if it’s a first-time customer call, use any downtime to ask light questions to get to know them beyond a superficial level. They’ll appreciate it.
9. Wrap Things Up
You can’t just quickly say bye and put the phone down or start another long-winded conversation to close out the call. It’s important to find the right balance in your rapport building efforts so you need to know what to say and how to say it.You should briefly summarise what you both accomplished on the call. Let your customers know what the next steps are and then ask them if there’s anything else you can help them with so they leave the call entirely satisfied.
The crucial part which can have an impact on your rapport building effort is the final message from your end. Make it courteous, friendly, upbeat and in a tone suggesting you’re to help should they need anything else.Some examples might include:
Thanks for calling and if you have any more questions, please call us, we’ll be happy to help.
You’ve been speaking to [your name] today. Thank you for contacting us, we enjoyed speaking to you today. Have a great day!
Apologies once again for any inconvenience caused. Thank you for your call today and please let us know if you have any more questions.
Mix and match some courteous statements to wrap up your call and leave a brilliant impression.
In our next blog in the series we will look at 5 Consequences of Poor Customer Service and How to Avoid Them.
Ahead of that why not try CircleLoop By starting your free trial and installing the easy to use platform, you’re opening the door for more flexibility, collaboration and communication within your customers.