rapport | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection – 9/27/22

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like it’s someone they’ve known for years.

But for most of us, it’s not a talent or quality we were born with; it’s something that we need to work on, and in customer service there’s a lot of benefits to being able to establish rapport and begin to develop a relationship.

It could be a new customer that you’re wanting to provide a great experience to and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship.  Maybe it’s an existing customer that’s coming in a little irate, griping a little bit, who’s a little bit upset. One way to take away some of the emotion and disarm them is to find some common ground so it doesn’t seem so adversarial.

There are ways to communicate that foster these connections, and we’re going to address some topics you can discuss in a 2-Part series.  For this week, Part 1 of our focus on the topics that create these connections is About Them and You:

About Them and You

Noted below are 3 categories of connection points that are more about the people involved – you and the customer.

Background – Where were they born or grew up?  Where have they lived in the past or currently reside?  What type of work have they done or do they do today, and in what industries?  What types of organizations or initiatives have they been a part of over the years?

Experiences – What are their hobbies?  What do they like to do to relax or stay active?  Where have they vacationed, what are their interests, and what are their leisure activities?

Friends/Relatives – Are they a parent?  Do they have siblings or friends with whom they do things?  Do they live near family, or are they traveling to visit?  Are they a pet lover?

If you uncover some of these points, you may find some things that you can relate to about the other person, and they can relate to you a little bit better, as well.  By either asking the questions directly when appropriate or just doing an exceptionally good job at listening to the details of what they share, you can establish that rapport.

Find some Personal Connection Points.

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Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship – 10/5/21

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they’re in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building.

Sometimes during these interactions, there are waits. At the fast-food restaurant, the employee at the window is waiting for the food to be prepared.  In the building lobby, the customer is waiting for the employee to finish paperwork with the previous customer.  With the customer calling in about the product they ordered, the wait could be the time it takes for the employee to conduct the research so that they can give the customer the answer.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees are often waiting or doing an activity while the customer is present.  Yet, too many employees only communicate with the customer when they need information or they’re wanting to convey information.

So mostly, there’s dead silence.

From the customer’s perspective, silence can mean that there’s an issue, that the employee has forgotten the customer, that staff don’t care.  And that just makes the wait feel longer, and the customer’s emotions can more easily go negative.

Employees need to view these periods of silence as relationship building opportunities.  While the research is being done or the wait is underway, the employee can simply say nothing and create a cold, impersonal experience for the customer, or the employee could engage the customer. During the wait, the employee could talk to the customer about their situation or describe what is being done. The employee could use these times of waiting and research to build relationships.

The next time you’re with the customer and the conversation stalls during a wait or some other activity that is going on, use that time to keep the communication going to build your organization’s relationship with the customer.

View waits as opportunities to build relationships.

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Find One Unique Thing – 3/2/21

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

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.

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