6 tips to build the best relationships with your customers

Talk like your customers

Humans like genuine, down to earth, friendly people; not pretentious people who use overly complex language for simple points. It is crazy how so many companies believe that to be taken seriously they need to speak as though they are trying to pass an English exam. For example, the following example is a very robotic way to speak to your customers.

“Many thanks for your order, it is being dealt with by the relevant team. Should you need any further assistance, do not hesitate to get in contact with us.” ❌

Instead, you should say something like this:

“Thank you for your order, it is being processed as we speak. If you need our help with anything else just let us know, we hope you love your new purchase.” 👍

Let them know who you are 🙋

Make your relationship with your customer more personal by telling them your name at the very beginning of your interaction. It has been said that this is a proven way to build rapport as customers will immediately feel more comfortable with you. Instead of simply saying “let me know if you need any help” you should instead say “My name is (___) let me know when you need any help.” Notice we changed the phrase from ‘if you need any help” to “when you need any help” this makes them think that it is the norm to ask for help, so they shouldn’t feel conscious or awkward if they would like your assistance.

Try to get their name 👂

This can be a tough one to do on the shop floor without sounding like a major creep. But if you can get it, it’s a great way to build rapport with your customer. When people hear their name they listen more intently and with more interest. It has also been proven that people tend to like you more when you use their name in a conversation, as you make them feel special and unique, they will think of you as being more caring and empathetic towards them rather than just trying to sell them something.

  • Depending on the context there are a few ways you can get a customer to tell you their name. If they are asking you to collect an order or look out the back simply say “What’s your name so I know who to shout for when I’ve got it.”
  • After you’ve said, “My name is (___) let me know when you need any help.” When they do ask for your help you can say, “Oh sorry I didn’t catch your name when I introduced myself.”

Use persuasive language instead of negative language

Using persuasive and positive language enables you to lessen the blow of unfortunate situations which your customers could get angry about. For example, your customer may have sent a ring off to be resized and it was supposed to be ready tomorrow but the jeweller calls them and says:

“Hi there, so sorry but we have just realised that there has been a policy change meaning the repairer we have sent your ring to cannot resize it. We are going to have to send it to another workshop which means it won’t be ready for another four days, we are really sorry about this.” ❌

The example above makes the jeweller seem incompetent and paints them as a poor customer service provider. However, if they change their language like the example below, the customer may think of them as more caring and with their best interests at heart.

“Hi there, after sending your ring to the repairer we were notified that there had been a policy change. This means that in order to make sure your ring is in the safest hands we will be sending it to another workshop. It will only take four days longer and we’ll notify you right away when it’s back in the store.” 👍

Be crystal clear with your customers 👌

Don’t you hate it when you go into a shop and the sales assistant who was helping you just disappears? This is why you should always be extra transparent with your customers, which means telling them every detail so they understand exactly what you are doing. For instance, if you are going to get a customer’s shoe but you are aware it will take a lot of time because of other customer requests you should explain exactly that to your customer. It saves them wondering where you are and moaning about how long you are taking. They will understand that you are busy because you will have explained it all to them.

Be genuine

By doing this you become more personable and less robotic, which customers hate! Be excited and show a genuine interest in their purchase, convey that you are actually upset if an item they want isn’t in stock or their order can’t be processed. One thing which may go against your sales strategy, but which customers will appreciate and therefore will return to your store because of it, is to make recommendations for other suppliers who can help them if your store can’t. By doing this you are showing that you are trying to be genuinely helpful to them, rather than just trying to push a sale, which people value and appreciate!


Other posts that may be of interest to you:

8 unusual body language tips your frontline staff need to know

Five horrifying facts about unhappy customers and how you can fix them

The top five customer service factors to consider in the restaurant industry

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 24th October 2018