Super Customer Experience: Rapport is the Artery to Trust | #CX #PeopleSkills

From big brands to smaller local enterprises, the first truth about success is:

To make money you must attract customers, get them to buy, and hopefully get them to come back and buy again. This is why so many businesses today focus on delivering a super customer experience.

Getting customers to return and buy again requires one unequaled treasure — their trust. Trust preserves the initial connection. Unlike confidence, which takes shape in the mind, trust flows to and from the heart. For customers, it is a risky choice and anything close to the heart is risky. It is a decision that has consequences and customers fear the worst. To overcome that fear …

Create and maintain great rapport with customers.

Rapport is the artery to the heart of trust

on the road to super customer experience.

Rapport is the artery to heart of trust. Image licensed from

Rapport is the interaction at every level and every moment.

It flows from your agents and reps.

It pings from your website.

It emanates from your packaging.

It springs from your marketing.

It shouts from your procedures.

Every move you make opens or closes the artery of trust.

Keep Rapport Positive & Open for Trust to Flow!

  1. Review everything you ask customers to do. Keep doing what builds trust and change what blocks it.

    When your actions while selling show customers you trust them you open the artery to the heart of trust. Later if your customer service procedures cast doubt on their honesty, you cut the artery to the heart of that customer’s trust.

    Keep trust flowing the entire time. Lands End is a great example of this. When a Lands End down coat I had purchased quite awhile ago spewed feathers all over my black business suit, they told me to send it back for a full refund. It didn’t matter how long I had the coat! Can you just hear the trust coursing through my heart. Yes, Lands End, I will buy again.

  2. Hire and train for emotional intelligence. Much is spent on training sales reps in customer rapport and people-skills. This is good. Do you do the same for your customer service reps? CSRs with poor people-skills can cut the artery of trust. Moreover, customers will mistrust your brand. “You’re nice to me to get my money and then treat me badly during after sales service.” Inconsistency & unreliability are the early signs of a hypocritical brand – unworthy of customers’ trust.

  3. If you outsource your brand’s customer service to a BPO, measure and pay that company’s customer service reps (CSRs) for great rapport with your customers not just average handling time (AHT). You get what you pay for and rapport fades when you and thus the CSRs focus on cost. Else your customers believe that you value profit and saving money more than you trust in their value. Trust = buy again. Mistrust = stop and consider your competitors.

  4. Design & deliver a friendly trust-building website. Is it easy to find contact information on your site? Does it build rapport with the customers before it asks them to trust you with their personal information?

    Websites that immediately display a large squeeze page do not build rapport. They say “we’re selfish and greedy and don’t want to build your trust.”

    Does your website truly welcome the customer? This is the beginning of rapport and trust. Does it talk about them or just about you?

  5. Include rapport in the “r” of customer relationship management (CRM). Relationships are based on rapport and trust. Yet much of CRM can become overrun with metrics, predictions, and strategies. Ask yourselves, are we truly focusing on the relationship or are we skewing too much to the number predictors. Customers care about how you treat them at every moment. Do your actions tell them that? Even large success is the sum of each individual moment with customers.

  6. Retain the personal touch even as you grow. Do your known customers become unknown as your enterprise expands?

    Long time customers may frizzle at new procedures yet good rapport can ease them along if the new process is customer friendly. Bad rapport can send them running to your competitor for a tourniquet to stop the emotional bleeding from the loss of trust. Snippy answers like “times change” or “one bad apple spoils the bunch” will send them to social media for the empathy and validation of thousands.

    Becoming unknown is a deeper gash to heart of trust than not being known at the start.

What Does Great Rapport & Trust Do For Your Business & Brand?

  • Pings a welcome message to your customers – “friend” not “foe”.
  • Gives your business a second chance when you mess up – and remember no business is perfect.
  • Eases and speeds interactions. Negativity creates resistance and that takes time.
  • Makes negotiations more win/win vs. win/lose. When customers can’t lose, they come back for more wins!
  • Reduces or removes the customer desire to look elsewhere.
  • Lowers costs and retains revenue by retaining customers.
  • Overcomes customer resistance to your innovation and changes or
  • Surprises you with valuable customer reactions on your brand you couldn’t even pay to learn.
  • Gives you the golden nugget — personal referrals!

Customer trust is an invitation for a bond and long term relationship with you. Your actions and how you respond tell them the truth about you and your brand. Based on that, would your customers want to be with you again? Do they think you are worthy of their long term trust?

Competence touches the mind and builds confidence.

Rapport touches the heart and builds trust.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Turn Sudden Interactions into Customer Bonds
Essential Steps to Keep Customers When You Buy a Business
Focus on Customers: Narcissism Doesn’t Breed Customer Loyalty

©2012-2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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3 Responses to “Super Customer Experience: Rapport is the Artery to Trust | #CX #PeopleSkills”

  1. Pattie Roberts says:

    Hi Kate! This focus on rapport is so important for brands, especially now, when we may be beginning to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel. As you say, rapport builds trust, and during the past four years customers have been radically redefining what constitutes trust. I am particularly struck by your insights on the subtle but significant distinction between confidence and trust, and how both affect loyalty and the bottom line.

    Your Lands End experience is a perfect example of this: confidence in the quality of the brand’s products led to the initial purchase; trust in the brand’s commitment to customers, as evidenced by their no-hassle replacement, leads to continued loyalty, which directly impacts the bottom line.

    I had a somewhat similar experience with Springhill Nurseries, a mail order garden plant company. As I do every spring, this past month I ordered a gaggle of new plants. Being a repeat customer, I have a high degree of confidence in the quality of Springhill’s plants. This year, though, there were some hiccups: the shipment of live plants was mis-shipped and took the ‘scenic route’ to my door. Once I did get my order, one of the bulbs had turned to mush. It was only one of 26, but, like so many people today, I watch all expenditures pretty closely. I emailed Springhill customer service and told them what happened. They immediately responded with a no-questions-asked apology and rush shipped a replacement. This one act became critical in my personal customer experience: the replacement arrived right away, and it was a packet of three new bulbs even though I had only lost one), but they were bulbs of the wrong plant.

    Anyone who gardens knows that planting times can make or break the successful outcome in a garden. I had already lost time from the shipping screw up and now with the wrong plants, my window for that part of the garden is closing rapidly. But I’m not abandoning Springhill for that, because they have demonstrated that they will do what they have to do to make it right. It could have gone the other way, and no amount of confidence in the brand would have made up for the loss of trust.

    If a brand can get picky customers like me to chuckle about getting a pack of red onion bulbs instead of caladiums, they’re doing the trust thing right.

    Keep fighting the good fight for customer service, Kate! And I love love love the idea of the ‘R’ in CRM being ‘Rapport’!



  2. Shep Hyken says:

    Nice article, Kate. Usually when people think of rapport, they think about the people-to-people interactions customers have with employees of a company. That said, in the world we live in – which has us spending a lot of time on the Internet – we need to think about how to build rapport when the customer interacts with all aspects of our company, which includes people and technology.

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