Building rapport with your customers

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Contributed by Mac Mackay

Man in suit reaching out to build rapport with a customer

Understanding your customers, anticipating their needs and making them feel valued and special are the key to giving them good service - which, in turn, boosts loyalty. How to go about building strong relationships with your customers

Getting to know your customers

All customer-facing employees need to be prepared get to know customers on a one-to-one basis. Through each interaction, they can build a relationship - helping them anticipate requirements and exceed expectations.

Any representative of your business will need to maintain a professional attitude to their job - especially if it is customer-facing. It's up to each and every employee to make customers feel welcome.

The skills involved in building ordinary relationships and establishing rapport with customers are basically the same. Customer-facing people need to be comfortable using these skills, in order to do their job well.

Making customers feel special and valued

Making people feel special is one of the essential elements in forming good customer relationships.

You can show that you think a customer is worth your time and attention in many ways. It is this ability to show that you feel this - and not just say it - that makes good customer relationships.

This is true of any relationship, whether it is an intimate partnership or a professional contact with a customer. Like so many other personal skills, showing that you truly value a relationship is a skill that can be learned and developed.

Remember: it's not enough to feel positive about your customer; you must show it in your words and actions. People cannot read your mind - they can only see your actions and hear your words.

Eight ways to build customer rapport

  1. Make customers feel welcome on your premises.
  2. Ensure that customers feel comfortable dealing with your business, and your staff.
  3. Reassure customers that their needs are heard and understood.
  4. Show that you can be trusted to deliver on your promises.
  5. Demonstrate that your customers are your top priority.
  6. Always treat customers with respect.
  7. Listen to any customer concerns, and act on them courteously.
  8. Provide prompt, high quality service.

Think about these when you are next dealing with a customer.

Written by Mac Mackay.

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