I was watching an old episode of the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Ray was chastised by his mother because he said “That’s where I got to be where I’m at.” She was horrified that he – a professional writer – ended a sentence with a prepositional phrase (or as Ray put it, a “propositional phrase”).
Well I’m making the same grammatical error in this Tip of the Week – Meet Them Where They’re At.
It’s hard to quickly create a relationship with someone, but people in customer service need to know how to quickly establish rapport. A rapport is established where there is a sense that people care about each other’s feelings and thoughts.
To create a rapport with a customer, one key is meeting them where they’re at – If they’re standing, you stand. If they’re looking concerned, you look concerned. If they’re standing in another part of the room pointing at something as they talk to you, go to them. If they’re jovial, loosen up. If they’re speaking softly, don’t be too boisterous. If they start with closed arms, you may start that way too – briefly – before unfolding your arms. If they’re sitting, then sit as well.
Much of this could also be considered mirroring, and it’s important because meeting them in this way breaks down some of the physical barriers to rapport (i.e., body language and tone).
Be careful in situations where they’re highly irate and looking angry – you don’t want to mirror those attributes.
But when establishing rapport and trying to engender some trust, openness, and goodwill, adopt this principle.
Meet them where they’re at.