Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers. Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer – very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual.
And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, we can still establish a pleasant and professional rapport. We want them to feel like we care, and one way we can do that is to uncover something unique about that person.
Use Your Customer Database
Some of us are fortunate that we have customer databases that may tell us a little bit about the individual. In sports, you may see that this NASCAR fan loves Chase Elliott. That’s something unique to talk about with that customer. In banking, you might look on the system and note that they’re a relatively new customer. That’s an opportunity to thank them for their business and welcome them again.
No Database? No Problem.
But even if you don’t have that customer database, there are ways to quickly uncover something unique about the individual so you can establish a rapport. Recently, I heard a dog barking in the background during a client call, so I asked the other person about their dog, and we chatted about our pets. I was on a video call, and there was a wrestling belt in the background behind them on a shelf. So, I asked them about the belt and learned about a particular award they won at their company. Those conversations not only showed my interest in them, but they became a lot more positive and fun for me, too!
In government, when you’re talking with a local resident, ask what city or town they live in, and if you’ve never been there, ask them to describe the area. If you’re providing service in someone’s home, if you see a nice piece of art or photo or piece of furniture, don’t just notice it – compliment it!
It doesn’t have to be much. Identifying or bringing up something unique doesn’t have to be a Broadway production – some big formal theatrical unveiling of some unique pearl of knowledge.
Just Find One Thing
But identifying that one unique thing is important – it helps them to no longer feel like the number, no longer feel rushed or feel like a transaction. They now feel like you see them as the unique individual they are, and that little effort on your part to establish a rapport makes a big difference in the feeling they take away from the conversation. And in the long run, it makes a big difference in their perception of your organization.
The next time talking with a customer, find out one unique thing about them.