Think of a situation where you met someone for the first time in a social setting. How deep did you go in the conversation versus how shallow was the chit-chat? How quickly did you establish rapport, where you felt at ease and some trust began to build?
You can feel it. You can tell when an interaction feels fake versus someone who is genuinely focused on you. When a ‘shallow disconnect’ occurs (see below for some examples of this), often someone is stuck in their own head and making the conversation all about them. The questions they ask you do not make you feel like they are genuinely interested in you.
When a customer and employee interact, it will be either a shallow disconnect or a rapid rapport scenario. The employee’s level of empathic ability will determine the quality of the interaction.
You have to learn to cultivate rapid rapport with your staff so that they, in turn, develop that with your customers.
In a shallow disconnect situation, the employee is:
- Doing all the talking and no asking.
- Not reading or observing the signals of the customer and transacts rather than translates.
- Robotic in their response and doesn’t attempt to make any personal connection with the human they are interacting with.
- Focused on the task they assume they are completing and fails to ask questions so as to meet the customer’s real needs.
Whereas in a rapid rapport situation the employee is:
- Listening deeply to the customer and acknowledging what they are hearing.
- Asking relevant questions in order to better understand the customer’s needs.
- Focused on what the customer needs and delivers solutions that are relevant.
Rapid rapport is what we aim for in all service environments. The sooner you start practising this, then the sooner your employees will practise this with your customers.
How a customer feels about an interaction is the most significant driver of customer loyalty.
‘Love Being in Service’