How to Build Customer Connections
Sometimes customers need to vent. They want to share the traumas of their lives with someone who will understand and relate on some level. Offering the right kind of empathy is a powerful way for businesses to build connections with customers, according to pain management specialist Dr. Jordan Sudberg. It’s not about saying I know how you feel or giving advice, he says; it’s about understanding and listening in a way that feels comforting and authentic—then responding accordingly.
The first step in building customer connections is to be a great listener. If you are interested in what your customers say, you can encourage them to talk about themselves. The key here is to be genuinely interested in people and what they have to say. It’s a good idea to listen actively, ask questions when appropriate, and use active listening techniques like paraphrasing and reflecting aloud on what your customers are saying.
The second step in building customer connections is acknowledging people’s feelings and making them feel heard. You can do this by using simple empathy statements like, It sounds like you don’t feel okay with that, or I hear what you’re saying, and I understand where you’re coming from.
Empathy statements are not the same as giving advice or trying to solve a customer’s problems for them. Instead, they are an invitation for customers to talk more about what’s important to them.
Customers may even want to vent, but they might not want your advice or input. For example, I’m tired of constantly running into this problem. It is a complaint; an empathy statement could be, I hear you saying you’re tired of having this problem, which acknowledges their feelings and invites them to go on talking about it for themselves.
Once a customer has shared their feelings, you can ask them about other aspects of their life that are important to them. Dr. Sudberg encourages businesses to ask questions like, How can I help you with this? How can we work together so this won’t happen again? This way, you offer to help them—not just with the problem they brought to you, but the bigger picture of how to achieve their goals.
By connecting on a human level, Dr. Jordan Sudberg explains how businesses can build connections with customers that lead all parties to successful partnerships, whether for business or pleasure. According to Dr. Sudberg, empathy for customers begins by listening and acknowledging their feelings; continuing to listen will allow businesses to understand an individual’s wants and needs.
By connecting with customers and asking how you can help, you can form a deeper relationship and solve problems authentically. It might mean resolving the customer’s immediate issue, but perhaps it means more. There may be a way to build a relationship. If customers trust you, they are more likely to look for a business or product that will meet their needs and wants.
Sudberg is a wealth of information on building customer connections. The key to building customer connections is to empathize with people’s feelings and show them that you understand where they are coming from. Using empathy statements opens the door for genuine discussions. Once you have an open line of communication, you can move into the next phase, using genuine questions to further connect with people. If you want to build customer connections, it’s time to listen, and a few questions should be enough to get things moving.