Making a Personal Connection with Customers


November 2, 2017 —

Many organizations require customer service reps to use scripts and detailed protocols when working with customers. In some cases, they are used as benchmarks or guidelines, but in other cases reps are required to follow the scripts word for word.

This often sounds robotic, but with the right approach, even a formal process can be personal and welcoming.

In the November issue of Customer Communicator, Jeff Toister, author of The Service Culture Handbook, offers readers some suggestions.

One difficult situation that Toister highlights is when legal language must be read to the customer. “What I have heard good reps do in these cases is to say, ‘Hey, I have to read you this legal language, so just hang with me for a moment,’” says Toister. “It’s like saying, ‘We’re on the same side. Neither of us want to do this, but we have to.’ So you are still creating that human connection by saying in effect, ‘Here comes the script. Brace yourself.’”

In other situations reps might have to go through a series of questions with customers — asking for ID numbers, account numbers, phone numbers, verifying information, etc.

“The best the rep can do in these situations is to own it as much as possible, and make the best of a bad situation,” says Toister. In other words, reps can let their personality show and use a positive tone of voice, rather than sounding like a robot. So, for example, the rep might say, “Alright, let’s get your phone number.” And, “OK, I just need to get a couple more things here, so can you confirm your address?”

“It’s not perfect, but it sounds better,” Toister says. “It sounds more friendly and connecting.”

More advice for frontline reps on humanizing interactions and connecting with customers appears in the November issue of Customer Communicator.

Today’s checklist …

  1. Reinforce. The connections that reps make with customers are what keep customers coming back.
  2. Implement. Let reps know when and where they may deviate from a script to make a personal connection with customers.
  3. Subscribe to Customer Communicator so that you and your frontline staff can receive monthly ideas, information, and inspiration on improving the service experience each month.

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