Best Words to Use For Building Rapport

Whether you’re investigating a query, addressing a complaint or just giving general advice, building rapport is enormously important for the contact centre.

Here, we take you through the three main stages of a typical customer service call and show you how the right choice of language can help your customer satisfaction levels.

Being the cornerstone of any good relationship, it is vital that agents exhibit a strong level of understanding from the very onset of each and every call.

Mirror the customer’s tone

To get the ball rolling, agents should take care to mirror the customer’s tone, rate and style of speech throughout each call. Their strong listening skills – another key ingredient in the creation of rapport – can also be put to good use through the application of verbal nods and the brief repetition of each of the caller’s main points.  This should be complemented, for best results, by an expression of empathy on the part of the agent.

Repeat the problem

Take, for example, a customer who has called to report the delivery of a faulty product.  The agent who repeats the situation (“Your toaster is broken? That’s terrible, Mrs Brown…”), rather than proceeding immediately and emotionlessly to the resolution, will gain an invaluable affinity with the caller, whilst simultaneously providing the subtle assurance that the complaint is now in good hands.

Key phrases

“I’m (very glad/so sorry) to hear that, Mrs Brown…”
Constructing a sense of personal empathy, and suggesting the agent’s intention to act.

“Thank you so much for letting us know about this…”
Creating the unspoken suggestion that your company values feedback, and takes matters of this kind extremely seriously.

“I’d just like to ask for a little further information, Sir/Madam…”
Always request – never tell.

“Hopefully, we should be able to help you, Mrs Brown…”
Reaffirming the agent’s intention to provide a swift resolution.

“You’re absolutely correct, Sir/Madam…”
Demonstrating your respect for the customer’s opinions and your sympathy for his or her personal predicament.

Now that your caller has confidence in the agent’s telephone etiquette, it’s time to show that your company’s compassion is not just skin-deep.

Assert control

This is the call handler’s opportunity to assert control of the situation, to take ownership of the problem, and to convince the customer that the matter in question will be put right. This can be conveyed through the agent’s employment of a positive, emphatic style of speech, the adoption of an especially courteous vocabulary and the consistent use of concise-yet-energetic sentences.

If, as is likely, apologies are called for, the agent should avoid repeating his or her regret using the same terminology. Instead, an assortment of contrite synonyms should be used, with the word “sorry” being substituted for “I apologise”, “oh dear”, and so on.

Provide a sense of immediacy

As the following phrases show, words which give a sense of immediacy can also prove incredibly helpful in the construction of rapport.

“We’ll look into this for you right away, Sir/Madam…”
Displaying a recognition of the urgency of the matter.

“Let’s see what we can do to fix this, Mrs Brown…”
The collective “we” suggests partnership, and implores reciprocal cooperation.

“I can see where the problem is, Sir/Madam…”
Demonstrating the agent’s experience in such matters, and hinting at his or her ability to provide a solution.

“What I’m doing for you right now is…”
Asserting control and hinting towards spontaneous, possibly discretionary action.

“That’s now been done, Mrs Brown…”
Providing a pay-off and showing that the caller’s trust had not been placed in vain.

The words and phrases best suited for use during a call’s conclusion are largely dependent upon the actual outcome of the conversation. Where, for example, a satisfactory resolution has been provided to the customer, it is possible to further bolster the existing rapport by amicably offering support in other areas. In doing so, your agent will illustrate that he or she has genuinely enjoyed helping the customer – and can be trusted to do so again in the future.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today, Mrs Brown?”
Illustrating that time is no object when it comes to helping your customers.

“We’ll be in touch if there are any problems, Sir/Madam…”
Putting the onus on the company to chase up the customer, and not the other way around.

“Do let us know if you have any other questions, Mrs Brown”
Inviting future contact will pave the way for further development of your rapport.

Provide reassurance

If, on the other hand, the call has ended without a resolution, it is necessary to provide reassurance to the customer that his or her complaint will be seen through to its conclusion.

This can be done by utilising a number of heartening – yet slightly informal – phrases.

“This will be fixed by the end of the weekend, Mrs Brown…”
Setting a definite timeframe for the resolution.

“We’ll give you a call as soon as we’ve had an update…”
Promising contact – and following through with this commitment – will help form a basis for long-term trust.

“Don’t worry. You just enjoy your (Birthday/Easter Break/Bank Holiday), Mrs Brown, and we’ll be in touch shortly…”
Recognising and commenting on the customer’s personal circumstances will lend the call closure a more pleasant, personal touch.

George Dixon is a regular contributor to Call Centre Helper.

Visit our Top 25 Positive Words, Phrases and Empathy Statements

Which words and phrases do you find help to create rapport? Please leave your comments in the box below…

Published On: 17th Oct 2012 - Last modified: 21st Dec 2016
Read more about - Call Centre Management , , , , , ,

  1. The pharase that would help to built rapport is….
    How was your day been?
    What are your plans for the comming weekend?
    built rapport by giving intoductipn of self… so onn

    Nasreen 19 Dec at 1:05 pm
  2. This is very helpful to me since I am a new in the BPO industry.

    GIA 6 Aug at 1:32 pm
  3. I was out of the customer service industry for a while. This was a useful reminder of the types of phrases needed to be successful in industry

    supperfly 3 Oct at 10:07 am
  4. Thanks for the information this is really helpful

    Bunty 12 Oct at 7:32 pm
  5. Nice! ^__ _^

    yo 25 Oct at 4:45 pm
  6. Building rapport is all about building connection. Just talk to your customers. They are fond of small talk.

    Darren 25 Nov at 1:10 am
  7. Thanks so much so the information provided. I do find these phrases and vocabulary really helpful!

    Mandy 17 Dec at 4:51 am
  8. I am a trainer in a call center, and I would advise all prospective and current agents to review this document. It is highly effective.

    Mariah 21 Jan at 3:52 pm
  9. Overall this article was very helpful however I want to point out an even better suggestion.

    “Hopefully, we should be able to help you, Mrs Brown…”
    Reaffirming the agent’s intention to provide a swift resolution.

    Early in the article the above was posted as a way to deal with upset customers. I view the way this is posed as as the opposite of a powerful statement. A better way to phrase this would be: ” No worries, we will help you get this issue resolved.” The previous statement leaves room for doubt in the agent and doubt in the company.

    Melissa Radcliff 31 Jan at 2:06 am
  10. thanks!

    Jhon 14 May at 8:22 pm
  11. Can someone help me with an objection as I work in a call centre , what can I say to someone if they say I haven’t got the money

    Leigh 3 Jul at 9:35 pm
  12. This is highly effective! I’m looking forward for another helpful advices.

    Charm 7 Jul at 7:27 am
  13. great ideas,

    maria 20 Jul at 8:42 pm
  14. thank you,

    randel 27 Jul at 2:41 am
  15. nice! Great help. Thank you for this site

    hans 18 Aug at 12:04 am
  16. This is very helpful and a very good practice. Good job for this site!

    joel 26 Aug at 7:47 am
  17. This is a great help for those who take their work seriously as call center agents.

    bernz 1 Sep at 6:27 am
  18. small talk. bigger friendship interaction. reroute to the main topic

    pboe 29 Sep at 11:17 am
  19. Thanks for the information

    Tammy 12 Oct at 4:29 pm
  20. “I Appreciate your time on hold, while your issue was resolved.”

    ” May I place you on a Brief 1-2 min hold while I conduct research on that?”

    “How can I make your day better”?

    “Have I handled all of your Questions and Concerns?”

    CapitalOne Rep 17 Feb at 12:49 am
  21. Very informative and thanks

    Dinesh 1 Apr at 2:52 pm
  22. This is really helpful.
    Im a fresh grad and my first job is in a BPO industry. This would really help me in taking my very first call tomorrow.
    Thank you

    Anonymous 8 May at 12:06 pm
  23. Really helpful…nice..ty

    sayda 21 Aug at 9:37 pm
  24. I believe this article lacks “ownership”. There are some great points, but owning a situation as your own and never deflecting to a system, policy or another person is a key point in resolving a issue that has escalated.

    Abstract 9 Sep at 12:44 am
  25. Thanks for the helpful infos here!

    Carla D. 26 Oct at 1:11 am
  26. Just awesome phrases!!!

    Pinku 12 Jan at 5:04 pm
  27. I currently work in call center and have issues overcoming objections any suggestions

    Anonymous 25 May at 11:14 pm
    YOU ARE ‘’ON’’

    MARK 16 Jun at 2:21 am
  29. This was really helpful. Thanx 🙂

    Saika Baig 24 Aug at 3:21 am
  30. Thank you guys fo;r this good job:)

    Marylou 27 Aug at 7:56 am
  31. This is great! 😀

    Dianne 1 Nov at 10:22 am
  32. i totally agree , those statement lacks ownership

    asdasdasd 9 Nov at 5:34 am
  33. I was ask to help agents to find a way to handle difficults call and those sentences are very helpful. Tx

    Alejandro 10 Nov at 4:34 pm
  34. It is indeed a great help for me. GOD bless!

    Valentino Arceo 9 Dec at 3:37 pm
  35. I think this article will save my job…

    jonas 12 Jan at 12:57 pm
  36. you’ve just given me brilliant ideas.

    dario 7 Feb at 6:12 pm
  37. It’s not enough to read those phrases, you should say it with feelings. Intonation. Be perky!
    Remember: It is not about what you say , it’s how you say it!

    MARIA 9 Feb at 4:01 pm
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