How to Build Rapport on the Phone – A Guide for Contact Centre Agents

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In the contemporary era of customer service, the contact centre industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, placing a higher emphasis on building effective rapport with customers. A study conducted by Salesforce in 2021 revealed that 84% of customers consider the experience a company provides as important as its products and services, suggesting that effective rapport building can significantly enhance the customer experience. Learn how to Build Rapport on the Phone – A Guide for Contact Centre Agents

Rapport building over the phone, however, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The lack of non-verbal cues, which typically account for approximately 55% of communication, necessitates a focus on verbal skills and empathetic listening.  

Here are eight key points to successfully build rapport in phone-based interactions in the contact centre industry. 

Listen Empathetically: 

The first step towards building rapport is empathetic listening. This involves understanding the customer’s perspective and emotions. It’s not merely about resolving their problems; it’s about making them feel understood and acknowledged. 

Use Positive Language:  

Positive language can transform the dynamics of a conversation. It can turn potential conflicts into productive dialogues. Instead of saying “I can’t do that,” try phrasing it like “Let’s see what we can do about this.” 

Personalise the Conversation:  

Personalising the conversation can significantly contribute to building rapport. Use the customer’s name and remember details from previous interactions. A study by Accenture in 2021 found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise them and provide relevant offers and suggestions. 

Actively Engage:  

Show active interest in the customer’s concerns. Ask open-ended questions to encourage them to express their feelings and summarise their points to show understanding. 

Maintain Clarity and Pace:  

Speak clearly and at a pace that matches the customers. A calm, clear voice conveys confidence and reassurance, making the customer feel comfortable. 

Stay Professional:  

Maintain professionalism throughout the call. Courteousness, articulation, and knowledge build trust and create a positive impression. 

Be Proactive in Problem-Solving:  

Show your eagerness to solve the customer’s problems. A survey by American Express found that 70% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that provide excellent customer service.  

Follow Up:  

A follow-up call or email can make a lasting positive impression. It shows customers that you care about their experience beyond the initial interaction, contributing to long-term loyalty and retention. 

Without rapport, interactions become transactional, devoid of any personal connection. This can lead to decreased customer satisfaction, negatively impacting customer retention rates. According to a survey by Bain & Company, a customer is four times more likely to switch to a competitor if the problem is service-based rather than price- or product-based. 

Effective rapport building on the phone is a critical skill that can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and retention in the contact centre industry. By employing empathetic listening, positive language, personalisation, active engagement, clarity, professionalism, proactive problem-solving, and follow-up, contact centre agents can foster meaningful relationships with their customers.  

This not only leads to immediate resolution of issues but also encourages future interactions, contributing to a sustainable customer base and business growth. After all, in the era of customer-centric businesses, the mantra ‘customer is king’ still holds true. 

#buildingrapport #saleskills #customerserviceskills #bettercx 

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