Building good rapport is an essential part of the communication process. Lack of rapport can affect the result of any conversation. Phone calls are more complicated than face-to-face meetings when trying to build a relationship with a client. Particularly with new clients, building rapport over the phone is a vital step in relationship building and sales lead nurturing.
There are strategies for building rapport over the phone, even if you cannot meet your client in person. You can, therefore, employ multiple techniques so that your client will feel a stronger connection to you by the end of the phone call. When you build rapport, the conversation runs effortlessly. The results are also much better than when the communication is strained.
Rapport is a state where customers feel comfortable or where you win the trust of potential customers. A good rapport is the first step to building a long-term relationship with your clients. Rapport is essential in building effective communication with customers.
Table of Contents
- What is rapport
- Importance of building rapport
- Ways to build a good rapport with customers on the phone
What is rapport?
The ability to relate to others in a way that creates a level of understanding, trust, support, and comfort. You can develop a rapport with, clients, leaders and managers, colleagues, competitors, or customers. Thus creating a good rapport can increase your reputation. In a business setup, establishing rapport allows you to engage customers to build loyalty, influence, and continued business.
Importance of building rapport
Rapport is essential in business, irrespective of the industry or position. Below are some of the reasons why you should build rapport with your customers.
- Rapport helps to expand your professional network
- It helps to grow your number of clients
- You can also get support for your ideas through rapport building
- It can also lead to future job opportunities
- Good rapport can increase sales, teamwork, and productivity
- It can also strengthen your reputation
Ways to build a good rapport with customers on the phone
Do not keep the customer waiting
Keeping a customer waiting is one of the most frustrating things to do. If you want to address the problems of your clients or leads, do not leave your phone ringing for long. The first thing you need to keep in mind is not to keep the client on" hold-on" mode for long. That would bother them and may even alter the intent of the call.
Double-check pronunciation and name preference
Confirm that you are pronouncing your client's name correctly, at the beginning of a call. If they prefer a nickname, make a note of that for future follow-up contacts including emails. Showing this base level of courtesy helps build rapport over the phone right from the start.
Smile during a call
A smiling voice is more welcoming and relaxing. Your client will intuitively appreciate it and like you. An effective way to create rapport is body language. Even though the person on the other line may perhaps not see you, they can picture and hear a smiling voice. Smiling and good posture can create a positive tone for the conversation. It can also subconsciously influence both the speaker and listener.
Focus on the call
Pay attention to the conversation, it is important as it builds and continues a strong rapport. Be attentive to distractions like browsing the web, looking at paperwork, or your email. To ensure you do not miss any important piece of information, there is the need to focus on the call. In addition, it conveys your active listening skills to the client.
Pay attention to details
A great way to establish rapport is by paying strong attention to detail. Recalling what a person shared during a call or a small bit of information about them is important. Otherwise remembering an issue or need of the other party can strengthen the connection and trust.
Show empathy during a call
To establish a quick rapport, you have to connect with your caller at an emotional level. To achieve this act, you have to put yourself in the caller's situation. Let them understand that you are interested in helping them out. Use phrases like
- I understand what you mean
- I see where you are coming from
- That must have made you feel really good
- I understand why you would think that way
To show empathy. Thus, try to be genuine in your communication. This will help you to gain their trust before accepting your solution to the issue.
Listen during a call
By responding with gentle 'ums' and 'ahs' as they speak the other person on the call knows you are listening. These are called "verbal nods". In addition, allow the speaker to finish what they are saying. If you disturb, your caller may become discouraged. No matter how many techniques you are taught to use on the phone, common courtesy will always be necessary.
Give praise to callers
Complimenting a caller can build rapport, too, particularly if they are genuine. If your customer is patient or understanding, be sure to thank them. If they agree to take a call, survey, or handle a task for you, let them know how it touches you and share your appreciation.
Asking clarifying questions is one of the simple techniques for building rapport over the phone. This shows your client that you are making an effort to understand them by actively listening. It also encourages your client to talk more. This, therefore, allows you to collect valuable information about their lives and priorities. Thus, take notes if necessary.
Be upfront on a call
Being upfront and professional is a good way to create or build rapport. Therefore, you have to tell the person why you are calling or what you hope to achieve, rather than leaving them confused.
Stay positive during a call
A cheerful approach can set the tone of a conversation. Even if the person on the other line is not replying, maintain your approach. Thus, keep the goal in mind all through the conversation and maintain a level of professionalism even in challenging situations. Speaking in a controlled, polite, and professional manner can matter more to the client on the other line than the initial reason of the call.
Add personality during a call
In some cases, you may be connecting with customers with a guided script. Instead of reading a script, consider adding behavior to your delivery to sound natural. Inflection, pitch, tone, and sincerity all influence building a good rapport.
Be friendly on call
A good way to start a call is by approaching customers in a friendly manner. A humble way is to lead with inquiries like; "How are you?" or "How is your morning?" It is essential to be sincere when asking and be interested in the response to best build rapport and engage the listener.
Do not rush during a call
Try as much as possible to follow the pace of the caller. Do not be in a hurry to finish the call because that might act negatively and put off the mood of the client or lead.
Ask questions during a call
Keep asking relevant questions to the client. This will help you understand the needs and problems of the customer in a better way. To show that clients are active listeners, they should also expected to ask questions.
Use perception during a call
Each call varies and not all will go well. Others may be focused on a particular issue that needs resolving. Be sensitive to the situation and respond accordingly to help build rapport. When a caller expresses disappointment, sincerely apologize to help shift the conversation back towards a positive and productive one.
End with a common understanding of next steps
Take some time to summarize the conversation and layout some possible next steps at the end of your call. Be sure to get feedback from your client with questions like "Does that work for you?" or "do I understand this all accurately?" plan your next steps of the call with your client, they will feel included in the business.
Good rapport is not about 'making best friends with the caller. It means making a relaxed environment where all parties converse freely and comfortably. The extra benefit is that it makes the time spent with the caller more pleasant. Therefore, it is important to know a few simple techniques to help you build rapport over the phone as mentioned above.
However, how well you interact with your customers, is because of the relationships you build with them. It is imperative to learn the skills in the art and science of rapport building. This will help you consistently deliver a better customer experience and build meaningful relationships with your customers.