Building Rapport in Automotive Customer Service
When interacting with customers, one of the most helpful skills you can have is the skill of building rapport.
Having rapport means having a warm and understanding connecting with another human being; in this case, your customers. By building rapport with your customers, you’ll be able to help them feel welcome and relaxed, and they’ll trust you to help them with their problems.
For automotive businesses, building strong relationships with customers is important to ensure that they keep coming back to you whenever they need help with their vehicles. After all, with so many showrooms or workshops to choose from, the one thing that can set your business apart from others is the relationships that you have with customers. Here are a few tips on how to build rapport with them.
Even if you’re still in college, you can start practicing these skills immediately with your classmates, your lecturers, or anyone else that you interact with on a daily basis.
Use their name often in conversation
Do you know what the sweetest word in any single language is? It’s your name. As human beings, our natural reaction when we hear our name called is to pay attention to the person saying it.
Make sure you know how to pronounce the name of your guest and use it often in conversation, applying the appropriate title like Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Being in Malaysia, we should also take into account honorific titles such as Dato’ and Tan Sri, and we should remain respectful at all times when using their name.
Ask redundant questions
Talking to customers can sometimes be a cold and awkward affair, especially when you or maybe your customer are not natural conversationalists. One way to break the ice between you and your customer is to ask redundant questions.
This refers to questions that are not necessarily crucial to the conversation but helps to make things warm and pleasant. A question as simple as “How was your day?” could go a very long way with a customer, and if they decide to be talkative with their answers, always be a good listener.
Be a good listener
In customer service, you interact directly with your customers who are human, and human beings bring their emotions with them wherever they go. This means that they can sometimes be positive, and sometimes they can also be negative; stressed, angry, or even sad. As someone on the front-line of the business, you need to learn to be a good listener no matter what type of customer you are facing.
Being a good listener doesn’t just mean paying attention, although that’s a good way to start. Listening to your customer also means acknowledging what they say, and asking follow-up questions not only to clarify, but also to demonstrate to your customers that you care about what they’re saying.
Maintain good eye contact
While you’re being a good listener, also make sure that you’re maintaining good eye contact with your customers at all times. Not only is it polite to look at the person you’re speaking with, it also demonstrates to them that you’re focused and attentive.
The trick to doing this is simple: with your eyes, focus on one of the customer’s eyes as you talk to them. Support this with other gestures such as nodding, to show that you understand and acknowledge everything that they’re saying to you.
Last but not least, always remember the smile. You are on the frontline, or as they say in the hotel industry you are at the ‘front of house’. Being the first and probably last contact point between your customer and the company that you work for, their entire perception and experience when walking into the office depends largely on how well the interaction goes with you.