Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Connecting rapport to outstanding service, part of Customer Service Foundations.
Building rapport with the people you serve is one of the most essential skills in customer service. This involves creating a personal connection with the other person and hopefully getting them to know you and like you. To understand the value of rapport, it's helpful to think about your favorite places to be a customer. Perhaps it's your hair salon or barber shop. Maybe it's a favorite restaurant, your auto mechanic, your bank. Your local hardware store the hotel where you spent your last vacation. For many people, there favorite place to be a customer is a place where people know them by name and treat them more like an old friend.
Now think about some of your favorite customers. There's a good chance you built rapport with these people. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of building rapport with your customers. Customers are more enjoyable to serve. Customers are more forgiving of mistakes. Customers are more likely to recognize great service when they receive it. One of the best benefits of building rapport is customer loyalty. For instance, there are many coffee shops near my home. All of them have pretty good coffee, but the one that I prefer to go to is actually a large chain. I'll even go out of my way to go there because of rapport.
The people who work there greet me with enthusiasm, call me by name, and even remember my usual order. And this may sound a bit funny, but I'll often pass other coffee shops just to go to my favorite. That's the power of rapport. When customers like you, they're willing to pay more, wait longer, and even go out of their way to be your customer. If there's a mistake, customers are much more forgiving when they like you. They may even want to help you fix the problem. At my local coffee shop, I once did a mini taste testing with the barista when my drink didn't quite taste right.
I never would have done that if we didn't have rapport, but because we did, I wanted to help them succeed. Rapport also influences scores on customer satisfaction surveys. Studies have shown that when a customer mentions an employee by name on a survey, they are much more likely to provide a positive rating than if they don't mention anyone by name. Now there is one caveat. For rapport to really make a difference it must feel authentic. Customers can often tell when someone is just going through the motions without putting in the effort to make it a genuine connection.
I once went into a smoothie shop to order a drink. It was slow at the time and I was one customer with three employees. One employee took my order, and another employee made my drink. The third employee approached me as I was about to leave and handed me a survey invitation. Hi, he said, my name's Jacob. Would you mind filling out this survey? I've written my name on the survey invitation, so you can be sure to mention me by name. Of course, the only service Jacob provided was asking me to mention him in a survey. He made no effort to disguise the fact that he only cared about getting his name in that survey.
He wasn't really interested in me as a customer. Over the next few videos, you'll be introduced to various techniques for building authentic rapport with your customers. Many of them can work whether you see the same customers on a regular basis, or you only spend a short amount of time with each one.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.