customer support

Building rapport for customer support success

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
June 6, 2023

Influx has built support teams for more than 300 high-growth brands in the US, Australia, and Europe. We hire, train, and empower a remote community with the top 1% of customer support agents, spread over 120+ cities. Learn more about how it works

Delivering top-notch customer support for any brand is challenging—people problems are hardly ever one size fits all. They require quick thinking, a good level of EQ, and a whole lot of patience! The big difference between good and exceptional support is ongoing training focused on strengthening soft skills—skills that aren’t always natural or easy to learn but make the biggest impact on efficient communication and building rapport. 

In this blog, we talk with Kaydene, our enterprise training expert, about how to build rapport for customer support success. Interested in how training on soft skills can impact a customer’s experience? We’ll cover that too. 

Building rapport for enhanced experiences

As a way to build and maintain customer relationships, building rapport creates a friendly and supportive environment for agents and customers. You’ve most likely had a frustrating support experience at least once, and chances are that you’ve also had at least one amazing support interaction. It probably went something like this: an agent established a genuine connection with you that made you feel valued and heard, and most importantly, they helped you resolve the problem. The recipe is simple, but the execution is the hard part. 

Some people are extroverts. Some are introverts. Some people are authoritative, while others may have trouble explaining things clearly. Building rapport streamlines conversations with customers of all communication styles and helps to immediately pick up on tone to recognize the customer’s mood. The point is: you’re interacting with a unique human being who has their own feelings, frustrations, and problems. Meet them where they are.

Soft skills to establish rapport 

Soft skills are the secret sauce that spice up interactions and help an agent navigate the conversation. The best customer support agents utilize a variety of soft skills to build rapport. Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Patience
  • Clear communication
  • Positive attitude
  • Problem-solving skills

Let’s look at a real-world example:

Customer: “I’ve been having trouble with your product. I’ve tried everything but it keeps freezing.”

Agent: “I understand how frustrating that is and I can help. Just to make sure I’m on the same page, you said you’ve tried troubleshooting already. Could you please walk me through what you’ve tried so far?”

Building rapport is centered around managing the customer journey in every conversation, every day. By strengthening and honing soft skills, representatives can grasp customer concerns and needs more accurately, demonstrate attentiveness and genuine interest, and provide appropriate resolutions for clear and concise exchanges. 

The key ingredient for excellent support experiences 

One of the essential soft skills customer support agents should focus on mastering is empathy, which bridges the gap between your viewpoint and the customer’s. Through training, agents can understand when empathy is needed and when a situation might require compassion. 

Here are Kaydene’s simple questions to know if agents need to empathize: 

  1. What is the customer’s concern, issue, or request?
  2. How has this affected the customer?
  3. How does the customer feel about it?

A negative expression to any of these questions requires empathy, but it doesn’t hurt to always consider what the customer is experiencing, regardless of outward frustration. Knowing when to apologize is one thing, but understanding the customer’s situation by putting yourself in their shoes can go a long way, even if you may have never been in that situation before. It’s simple: if they’re frustrated, you would probably be frustrated too. This understanding removes the barrier, allowing agents to communicate more effectively. 

Overall, soft skills help you to better understand customer needs and expectations, which are necessary for building rapport. Adding a little personality paired with soft skills in support interactions can break the ice and jump straight into the connection. 

Building trust, one conversation at a time

Building rapport is an essential part of customer support that helps to keep customers satisfied. Influx agents are trained to master customer rapport for long-term success and relationship building. We deliver full-service teams with flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing. Get a quote now

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.