Rapport is when you have a real connection with someone. It’s an important aspect of enhancing the customer’s experience as the more rapport you have with your customers the easier it will be to engage with them and for them to feel you’re interested in them.
The more you’re able to build rapport with your customers the easier it’ll be to find out what’s important to them, so you can meet and exceed their expectations and make a great impression.
Your most powerful tool in building rapport and engaging with your customers is through your body language and facial expressions.
A genuine smile, making eye contact, and open and positive posture are a minimum. Face customers when you’re talking to them, and focus on them not on colleagues or your computer.
What you say only accounts for about 7% of the message you convey. You’ve already covered the importance of using positive language (yes, I can, I will, you can, certainly) and being courteous (thank you, excuse me, please).
- Choose language to match the style and words your customer might use. For example for a middle-aged or mature couple you certainly wouldn’t use over familiar terms such as darling, mate or love.
- Explain any unfamiliar terms, and avoid jargon and abbreviations that might mean something to others in your business but not to customers
- Be as specific as possible (e.g. “the entrance fee is £5 per person”, “they close at 6:00pm”) rather than vague phrases (“it’s quite cheap to get in” or “they close fairly late”)
- Keep to the point, and avoid overloading people with irrelevant information
- Use friendly but polite terminology and avoid overly formal terms
- Use the customer’s name if you know it
How you say things can have a very big impact on how you are perceived by your customers.
- If you’re welcoming customers your tone needs to sound enthusiastic and friendly.
- If you’re listening to a customer complaint or concern, you need to sound concerned for them.
- If you’re aiming to inspire confidence and build trust you need to sound confident in what you’re saying.