Answers from frontline reps
I represent a business that has only a few customer loyalty handouts or perks. However, our product is important to our customers and when they need to contact us it is an opportunity to make a positive caring connection.
Active listening is useful in personalizing the interaction; showing concern through passive agreement and empathy statements can do wonders for connecting to your customer. If I can show you I understand your reason for contacting us and what makes it important to you, we will probably have a productive conversation.
There are times I will add human level comments and questions to gain a relationship with my customer. Hear the baby crying or dog barking in the background, bring it to the conversation. Ask if they need to attend to the baby and you will wait. Demonstrating care on such an individual level can be powerful to making that fast connection.
Piper Grant, North Virginia Electric Cooperative
Treat others as you would expect them to treat you thats a phrase I learned early on, and I try to live by at work and in everyday life. A customers loyalty comes from the customer feeling that their business is important to you. There are no big customers or small customers there are only customers who have entrusted me with their business or problem and taken a leap of faith that I will work as hard as I can to make sure they succeed. Keep the following in mind:
Build trust based on integrity. Clear, factual and prompt communication establishes the foundation for a relationship of trust and value.
Loyalty starts and ends with you. Customers are loyal to people and products they trust more than to corporations. Show your customers that you care and interact with them in a way that is true to your organizations culture. Make sure that your voice carries into every interaction.
Remember that customers are people. Call them by their name. Greet and thank them by their name and with a smile! Remember that a smile carries into your voice and is contagious. Customers remember how they left the store, the appointment they had, and even the phone call. Leave them feeling good about choosing you to help them.
Rachel Wilty, UnityPoint Clinic
Building rapport is not something to be taken lightly. Rapport keeps your customers coming back and repeating their business with you. At Navy Federal, we pride ourselves in regard to delivering personalized experiences. This can be achieved in a call by flexing, or changing your approach, to various customers styles and meeting them on their differing conversational levels.
Also, people, in general, like to hear their name, so using it as often as appropriate can be a huge brick in building rapport. We make sure our representatives address the customer by name at least once during each call. Another suggestion to promote loyalty is recognizing personal events such as birthdays, membership anniversaries, marriages, and new family additions.
And if a representative is faced with a situation where an error occurred on a customers account, they are empowered to explore options and make efforts to right it.
Megann Wither, Navy Federal Credit Union
Without our clients, we dont have a business or any job security, so I always try to go above and beyond for my customers. I try to always make them feel like they are more than just a sale to me.
I always try to return any phone calls or e-mails that I receive in a timely manner. I have actually had customers from the accounts that I handle tell me that after I have taken over their accounts, their service levels have drastically gone up. Its something so simple, yet it means so much to the customer.
I tend to think of my clients as a business relationship versus just pure business. I ask about their day, we joke, we exchange back and forth on a multitude of subjects. I respect their time constraints, as they do mine; however that doesnt mean that we cant say more than hello, and yes or no I dont have that stock.
I have learned what my clients need, want, and expect. I cant always deliver on everything to the point they desire. However, my clients always know that if it can be done by me, it will be done by me for them. If a client calls or sends in an order and it is the end of my workday, I still will stay and handle that issue for my client, because I want them to know that I care about them and about their business.
I try to always stay true to what I tell my clients. If I tell them that they will receive a call or an e-mail back from me by the end of the day, they receive that call or that e-mail from me. Sometimes it is just to say hey, I havent forgotten about you or the issue, but I need to research it a bit further. They respect that, and they realize that I am looking out for them and trying to get them a resolution as quickly as possible.
Jo Sprowl, SKF USA Inc.