Contact Center Trends

9 valuable tips to build rapport over the phone

By Shauna Geraghty

0 min read

The relationships you build with customers comes down to how well you interact with them. To consistently deliver a better customer experience (CX) and forge meaningful relationships, it is imperative that call center agents like you are skilled in the art and science of rapport building.

Below you’ll find a series of valuable tips that will help you build rapport with customers over the phone in no time.

1. Commit to rapport-building from day one

Call center agents should aim to build rapport from the very first interaction and work to maintain that rapport with the customer throughout the relationship. Just as personal relationships are dynamic, so are business relationships. They must be cultivated over time and the approach to rapport building must evolve with the growth of the relationship.

2. Rely on accurate data

Establishing a genuine connection with your customers requires you to remember relevant information about that person and incorporate it into your conversations with them. Make sure you consistently update your call center software with this unique customer information, review it before reaching out and listen to recordings from previous calls to capture the most precise context. Doing so will ensure that the conversations you have with a customer or prospect are as relevant and unique to them as possible.

3. Get to know the customer

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Are they looking for a new product because their current solution has too many bugs? Develop a solid understanding of the customer’s pain points, communicate that understanding to them and let them know that you will work with them to find a solution.

Building rapport requires you to truly understand the customer and the more information, the better. When there is downtime on the call, ask the customer a few additional questions to gather further context that you may find helpful for future conversations.

4. Use mirroring and remain in control

Mirroring is based on the psychological principle that people like, and are more likely to trust, people that are similar to them. Does your customer use tech-savvy language? Match their style by using similar language. If they are telling jokes, tell some jokes right back.

This technique will expedite problem-solving and build that rapport you’re looking to establish. In order to be successful at using mirroring as a tool, you must have the behavioral flexibility to act similarly to many different customer types.

5. Communicate with respect

Communicate with the customer in a respectful manner. Ask them how they would like to be addressed, and always be sure to say “please” and “thank you”. Never talk down to the customer and remain patient at all times. Interacting with customers respectfully and using proper call center etiquette will go a long way when building rapport.

6. Sound natural

If you have to stick to a script, your customers don’t have to know it. Use inflection, modulation and pitch to sound as natural as possible and not like you are reading from a pre-written talk track. Try to add a little personality to your interaction by inserting a small joke or asking a few questions. This will improve the rapport-building process by increasing trust and reassuring customers that you are happy to help them by.

7. Develop a common goal

Does the customer want information about the product, but isn’t ready to purchase? Provide this information and ask them when you might be able to contact them again to follow up. Developing a shared goal is imperative when aiming to expedite the rapport building process and accomplish your tasks quickly.

8. Manage customer expectations

Always keep the customer informed of your timeline, progress and next steps. If you can’t deliver on something that was previously agreed upon, let the customer know as soon as possible and try to explain why. Managing expectations means keeping customers informed at all times by engaging in regular, transparent communication so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

9. Give genuine praise

If customers purchase a great product, you should let them know. If they’re extremely patient, sincerely thank them for it. If they agree to take a post-call survey, tell them how it impacts your job and that you appreciate them for taking the time to do that. As long as you are genuine, compliments will go a long way to building a solid rapport.

Building rapport with customers is an essential task for call center agents and one that requires effort and persistence. Equipped with the right skills, a few trusty techniques and the correct application, you will be well on your way to winning the hearts of your customers with your professional rapport building skills.

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Shauna Geraghty

As the first U.S. employee, Shauna helped to scale Talkdesk to over 1,000 employees in 7 offices globally. During her tenure, she has built Talkdesk's Marketing, Talent and HR functions from the ground up. Shauna has a doctorate in clinical psychology and has applied foundational knowledge from the field of psychology to help propel Talkdesk along its hyper-growth trajectory.