Do your customers really want rapport rich interactions?

How you train your teams to build rapport with customers has always been a contentious area for trainers throwing up an array of questions including:

  • Do customers want you to build rapport?
  • Would customers rather have a swift knowledgeable response?
  • What is appropriate rapport?
  • Does building rapport sound insincere?
  • What does rapport actually mean in practice?

One of the obvious truths is that some people have a natural ability to build rapport. They (usually) have an inherent understanding of the customers’ situation and can adapt their style accordingly. Typically they are not frightened to enter into a dialogue and know exactly where to position themselves in terms of being friendly or formal and never too familiar – but at times are unsure if by doing so they are ‘going off piste’ or should stick to a more formal and formulaic structure.

Those that think that simply using the customer’s name or superficial questions about the weather represents real rapport are mistaken.

Real rapport is made of many elements and is dependent on the circumstances surrounding the call.

So can this skill be trained?

Yes, and the ability to build rapport is actually an essential skill in the modern contact centre where many customers only call if they cannot find a solution through various self-serve options. So the “moment of truth” when your customers speak to a real person is even more critical if you want to build longstanding brand-enhancing relationships.

There are few things that are worth considering:

  • Rapport needs to be appropriate to the customer interaction
  • It is up to your team of advisors to build rapport – you cannot rely on the customer to start the conversation
  • Critically rapport needs to sound genuine and sincere
  • There is no one approach to rapport that will work with all customers

At Ember Services we work with our clients to find solutions that are innovative and engaging for their teams and always focused on delivering an enhanced customer experience that drives value. Call Paul Mackenzie on +44 (0)20 7871 9797 to discuss how we can help you support your Team.