How To Build Rapport Over The Phone And Establish Lasting Relationships With Customers
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[Ed. note: Our friends at Power Selling Pros are back with tips that you and your call-handling team can use to convert more calls to appointments. The latest entry in this series, How to WOWCustomers over the Phone and Build a Lasting Relationship,is below. Read the previous entry here.]
Companies have become really good at answering questions. Customer service reps will sit there on the phone and answer every customer question under the sun, and when the customers have had all their questions answered, they say, Wow, you've been great! I am going to hang up now and think about this for a while, and who knows, I might call you back.
Now wait just a minute! Your end goal is to build a lasting relationship by creating a WOW Experience and booking the call! How can you do that if the customer does not actually experience the service you provide? At Power Selling Pros, we specialize in creating a WOW Experience for customers, which helps home service companies improve call conversions and minimize lead loss due to poor call handling quality. We do this using the Pattern for Excellence, a series of principles that our clients use with great success to WOW more customers and book more calls.
There are three principles in the Pattern for Excellence framework that will help to build a relationship over the phone. The first, as we discussed in our previous post, is about building rapport. To build on that rapport turn it into an effective long-term relationship with customers, and to get them to engage emotionally. Learn how to connect with customers over the phone with these three behaviors.
1. Care and Respect Individual Worth
Others can connect with you and become present as you show genuine empathy and respect for their worth.
Do you give others the opportunity to connect with you over the phone?
Do you show them that you care about them and their circumstances? People need to feel that you care about them and their situation. They don't want to feel unworthy or less than normal around you. This situation generally occurs when you cannot seem to relate to them.
Let's talk about some words often used when we try to show that we care. The word awkward has become more prevalent these days because we do not truly get why others speak or act differently than us. Even when we try to show our concern for others, it generally comes off as superficial, and sometimes even fake. The word sorry is even more prevalent it is used so often in our communication that it has lost its meaning.
There are so many other ways to express and here's a word to strive for empathy for one another. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, meaning you can relate to or identify with the customer. Over the phone, you can use simple expressions and manage your tone of voice as you listen to show that you are feeling what they describe. You can agree with them or even express the fact that you can only imagine how they feel.
If what they are feeling is caused by your business, you can apologize, take full responsibility and list the steps you will take to correct the situation. This is how you show customers that you care that you share an understanding of what they are feeling.
Situations are not awkward at all when you show respect for individuals worth and show them that you care. You'll be able to connect on an emotional level and pave the way for a lasting relationship.
2. Say YES and Give Beyond Expectation
Do you give first to create WOW Experiences and build long-term relationships?
Customers tend to mirror what we say and do in our interactions. This happens all the time over the phone.
When we say no, they say no. When we say yes, they will often say yes as well.
I was at a dinner hosted by a famous chef in Orem, Utah. He said that he always looked for the yes when serving customers at his restaurants. He told of a time when a customer noticed that the bananas foster was no longer on the menu and became visibly sad. The chef sent one of his busboys to the supermarket to get the ingredients he needed so that the customer could have the bananas foster he had grown to love.
Yes is about giving beyond expectation to create WOW Experiences and build long-term relationships. Focus on all that you can do for the customer as opposed to what you cannot do by saying yes.
3. Ask If You Dont Ask, You Don't Get
Let us consult the greatest sales book of all time, Green Eggs and Ham, written by Dr. Seuss. In this book, Sam is trying to get this grumpy old guy to try green eggs and ham. He pulls out all the stops. He says, How about on a train or on a boat or with a fox or with a goat
Sam is relentless! He is determined to convince this guy to at least try green eggs and ham. Finally the guy says, Sam, if you will let me be, I will try them, you will see.
Sam is so excited that his determination and endurance has paid off. And when the taste test is over, the grumpy old guy proclaims that he would eat green eggs and ham anywhere because he loves them so much. You see, the WOW Experience does not occur until the guy actually tries green eggs and ham.
When you are talking to customers and answering their questions, don't forget to ask your own questions. Like Sam, you need to have the guts to ask for the appointment. Simply ask callers when they would like for you to come out. You have taken the time to show the customer that you care and you have reassured them that you can help. Now ask them when would be a good time for them.
The one who asks the questions is the one who ultimately controls the outcome of the call between you and the customer. If you let customers drive by only answering their questions, you lower your chances of creating WOW Experiences because the customer walks away without buying the experience you want to create.
To build a lasting relationship and create more WOW Experiences, ask for the appointment. Ask early, and ask often. That Sam-I-Am, that Sam-I-Am. Oh how I LOVE that Sam-I-Am. Thank you, thank you, Dr. Seuss!
About the Author: Brigham Dickinson runs Power Selling Pros, the company that helps businesses WOW more clients, book more calls, and make more money. To help you get the most out of this series, he has put together a more detailed explanation of each principle along with tips and videos.
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