How to build a personal connection with your customers
When dealing with a busy contact centre, customers can easily start to feel like a number rather than a real person. You can combat this by establishing a personal connection with the client which makes them feel valued, and helps build trust and loyalty towards your brand. Here’s how to go about it!
Show them they’re dealing with a human
Whether it’s via live chat, email or social media, actually showing the customer the face of the person they’re dealing with can immediately make them feel more comfortable. Knowing they’re dealing with a person, rather than a generic support department, makes them feel they’re more likely to get personal attention – and that’s exactly what you want!
Likewise, customer service reps should always introduce themselves by name, and ask the customer’s name in return. Throughout the rest of the conversation, make sure your agents use the customer’s name every now and then to remind them they have your full attention.
Use ‘I’ instead of ‘we’
As part of the onboarding process for your employees, train them to use the first person when dealing with customers. For example, “I am going to do my best to get this sorted out for you right away” rather than “We are going to do our best”.
Using ‘we’ can make the customer feel they’re up against a whole company, whereas the first person helps to build a sense of partnership. This is one of the reasons why 86% of consumers still prefer humans to chatbots.
Pay attention to personal details
One of the best ways to build a personal connection is to refer to events or details the customer has mentioned now or in the past. These might include their child, pet, or spouse’s name, a promotion or achievement, a life event such as a wedding, birthday, or anniversary – basically any personal details which they’ve willingly chosen to share with you.
By working these details into the interaction later on, customer service agents can create a real wow moment for the customer. Even if it’s at the very end of the interaction, this grabs the customer’s attention and let’s them know they really were listened to.
- “Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. And I’m really glad Mr. Whiskers is back from the vet safe and sound!”
- “I’m going to email the manual you requested straight away. And please congratulate Billy on his 9th birthday on my behalf!”
- “I appreciate that you took the time to bring this to my attention, Sarah. And my heartfelt congratulations on your 5th wedding anniversary with Peter!”
Practice active listening
When dealing with a customer who is upset, agents are often so busy thinking about what their next response should be that they don’t actually take in everything the customer is telling them.
Active listening, on the other hand, means focusing only on what the other person is trying to get across, and making sure you fully understand them. It’s a skill that takes a little practice to master, but what it really boils down to is:
- Letting the customer finish without interrupting
- Asking questions to make sure you’ve understood what they mean, and
- Validating what they’re saying and demonstrating empathy
Making the customer feel heard is the cornerstone of good customer service – and remember that great customer service is also fantastic for your marketing efforts! One happy customer who spreads the word may bring in many potential clients who might not have heard of you otherwise.
Empathising with the customer is another great way to build a personal connection. If they are clearly angry or upset, let them know you understand where they’re coming from. If they’re confused, get on their side and say you found this aspect tricky to understand as well.
This is another opportunity to use any personal details the customer has mentioned. If they’re upset that their order is later because they intended the product as a birthday gift for someone, work that into the conversation.
Take personal accountability
There’s no better way to show the customer you’re on their side than letting them know you’re prepared to fight for them. If you do have to refer their query to another department, mention that they can contact you personally if they don’t get the outcome they’re looking for.
Finally, taking the time to follow up with the customer later and make sure they’re satisfied with the service they received is a great way to build trust. If they aren’t happy, you’ve got another chance to make things right. And if they are happy, then this finishing touch might just be the reason they leave a positive review of your brand online.