The General Social Survey asked, “What percent of people are trustworthy?” The average response was 30%. But when they asked, “What percent of people that you know are trustworthy?” The average response was 70%. Simply knowing leads to trust. As a Customer Success Manager, you want your customers to trust you and this is where Customer Rapport plays a big role.
What is customer rapport ?
Rapport is the bottom line for building relationships. Influencers, businesses, sellers, and various other professionals who tend to have a good rapport with their clients are more likely to succeed in their respective fields. In order to build rapport with your customer, you need to focus on the 4 principles of rapport-
- Empathy: Be curious. Listen. Care.
- Authenticity: Be real.
- Similarity: Find common ground.
- Shared Experience: Interact
Rapport is one of the most important customer success skills. It helps customers feel better about the service you provide them. It becomes easy for you to handle and make your customers happy when they like you. And it also gives them a strong reason to stay with you and keep using your product.
Why is it important to build rapport with customers ?
Building rapport with your customer is extremely essential in order to obtain a level of trust between you and your client.
It is very important for your customers to trust you and your product. Also whether someone likes you or doesn’t will fairly affect your relationship with them. This also plays a significant role to determine how the customer will proceed in his journey.
Building rapport with customers is all about common ground. By establishing shared interests, companies can cultivate positive, long-lasting customer relationships.
Rapport building questions
You can build a good rapport with a lot of questions. But, here we divide them into three categories. Let’s take a look at them.
If you are a small talk person and tend to stick with “Yes” or “No” questions, you need to make some changes. Because such questions won’t help your customer open up to you. You certainly don’t want your customer to get bored while you talk.
Try building up a dialogue. Open-ended questions are one of the most important ways to establish two-way communication.
‘The Five W’s could help you, which are; Who, What, Where, Why, and When. Go through the examples below:
- Why do you want to make a change?
- How do you expect this to change your business/life?
- What would eclipse this goal, minimizing its priority?
- How did you identify potential solutions?
Choose questions that help you engage with your customers. Ask questions beyond just who they are and what they do. Go deeper, ask more detailed and specific questions. This shows how interested you are in knowing more about them, their problems, and their needs. But keep in mind you do not want to cross your line here.
Few questions that would help you:
- What are you doing now that is working?
- Which is not working that you want to change?
- What keeps you up at night?
- Tell us your priorities?
- What are your overall goals?
- What do you hope to accomplish?
It is very important for you to listen to what your customers have to say. There will be times when customers will feel their feedback and needs are not been heard by companies. You need to carefully listen to their problems, ask echoing questions, and try rephrasing their answers to ask more specific questions.
Have a look at these examples:
- Are you worried that your plan will not be approved?
- So, are you concerned about the strategy you have designed?
- Do you fear not having the resources to be successful in your endeavors?
Strategies to build customer rapport
Personalize customer relationships
You need to keep your customers happy and satisfied to grow your business. Connect with your customers on a personal level, this will help them trust you even more.
It is often seen that personalization increases loyalty and hence increases revenue. You can start this by segmenting your customers. This way you know the customer needs clearly and can approach them more personally.
Suggested Reading: Automation or Personalization
Match your tone with your customer personality
Study the customer better to build good relationships. Some customers prefer short conversations and some like lengthy ones. Keenly notice these different customer personalities. It will help you to know how to speak and personalize relationships with them.
Use advanced customer success tools
Customer Success Tools like CustomerSuccessBox help you plan out the perfect combination between automation and personalization. Also, keep track of what your customer is doing, this will help you be proactive and identify issues faster.
Search for commonalities
You and your customer may have commonalities when speaking about your careers. But try finding common subjects of interest. Talking about these will help your customer open up to you. Find out about their background, interests, and hobbies, uncover commonalities to encourage genuine conversations that don’t feel fabricated.
Talk about your career experience.
If you work in the same industry, mention it. If you and your customer have common roles, mention it. There’s nothing like bonding over shared work experiences, passions, and struggles.
Don’t cross your line
When you find out commonalities you can get overwhelmed and end up asking too much. Get to know your customer beyond the surface level without digging too deep by sharing stories and backgrounds.
Address them with proper diligence
You are talking to your customer for the first time and you mispronounce their name. And here you go with your first impression. Never, and I mean never do that. It is sometimes ok to make mistakes but such mistakes should be avoided whenever possible.
If you are not sure how to pronounce a customer’s name you can discuss this with one of your colleagues beforehand. And if this does not work then you can ask your customers to introduce themselves first and then you know how they pronounce the name.
Actively hear them out and respond
When your customers speak, don’t just act like you’re listening to them. Instead, listen to them with all your attention. Also, your responses shouldn’t be always scripted. Scripts can save you when you go blank and have no clue. Otherwise, hear them out first then frame your response. It’s crucial that you understand how to listen better for customer success.
Wait until they have made their point and then respond to them using your presence of mind and intelligence. You can also frame questions based on their response. Thus make the conversation more intriguing.
Let the angry ones vent out
There can be times where your customer is extremely disappointed with your product and is having a very heated conversation with you. You certainly have the urge to cut them off instantly and not really care. Well, sometimes it is best to just take a backseat and let the angry customer vent out as much as they want.
Provide multi channel communication approach
In a scenario where your customers can only reach out to you using one or two channels, it can be difficult in case they are down. Strong customer relationships require active communication. It means your customers need to be comfortable reaching out.
Let your customers know you can be reached with various forms of communication. Also, you could make active communication channels on platforms like Slack. You can also ask them which model they are comfortable with. At CustomerSuccessBox, apart from phone calls and emails, we are there in customers’ preferred slack channel for instant communication and resolution.
When you want to win the hearts of your customers, it can be easy for you to fall into a pattern of overpromising. This can also happen when you try to cool off an angry customer. And you end up making promises which are not in your hand.
This sets the customer’s expectations high and when the promise doesn’t get approved, this only disappoints the customer. Hence, avoid promising anything that cannot be actually done. Instead, request the customer to wait while you discuss alternative solutions.